When the craving hits there’s nothing else that will satisfy a need for deliciously spiced, golden hunks of this Kentucky classic, but where in fact is the best fried chicken in London to be found?
We’re glad you asked, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to thoroughly try and test the top options London has to offer in a bid to make the ultimate bucket list (get it?) for you to work your way through.
Some of the restaurants specialise in fried chicken, and cook little else, and some just have great fried chicken dishes on their menu. We haven’t discriminated either way, because as everyone knows all routes to fried chicken are happy ones. Choose from options like an incredible chicken nugget bun at Bao that is laced with hot sauce, Sichuan mayo, onions and lettuce; or a pure and simple bucket of fried chicken at thunderbird, the capital’s mini fried chicken chain that began as a street food brand.
Okay, enough of the words already, a picture is worth a thousand of them. Scroll down to discover our pick of the very best fried chicken in London, and enjoy taking in the fried chicken pics in all their glory along the way.
As with so many of London’s trendiest restaurants, Mother Clucker started out life as a street food stall, serving up chicken to the good people of East London. Fast forward six years and they have eight outposts, as well as a deal with Deliveroo to serve their menu through the food delivery service’s ‘editions’ partnership. You don’t begin your journey in the depths of Shoreditch without a little hipster rubbing off on you, so it’s probably good to know that these guys are cashless. There’s a regularly changing menu of delicious options, so go hungry and expect chicken strips to feature, they’re very much their ‘thing’. Meat here is tea brined, buttermilk soaked and double battered (not to mention, also halal) for juicy chicken with an incredible crunch.
Where: Various locations across London
You get one guess for how Thunderbird started… Wait for it… A food truck. The novelty. The shock factor. The point. Of. Difference. Once you’ve got over the surprise surrounding its origins you’ll be most pleased to know that this casual London restaurant serves up all kind of fried chicken options – from wings and buns to buckets and boxes filled with the golden good stuff. We love the bucket that packs in boneless fried chicken, awesome sauce, fries and a choice of three dips. At £18 they suggest it serves 2-4. We suggest it serves one, but that’s where we differ.
Where: Various locations across London
Louie’s claim to be bringing Nashville hot fried chicken to the crowds of Shoreditch, with quite the tale told about the origins of their signature dish. We’ll leave them to explain that one in full detail but – spoiler alert – it features a scorned woman trying to burn her boyfriend, in more ways than one, and it backfires. Although all the options here are spiced you can choose between mild, hot and x-hot to suit your mood, or your hangover. We’re very much ‘there for’ the chicken and waffles, that come with either a quarter bird, tenders or wings and are drizzled with butter and maple syrup. Sides are a good spread too and include fried pickles, coleslaw, fries, onion rings and mozzarella sticks, sure.
Chick 'n' Sours
Combining fried chicken and cocktails was never going to be a bad idea now, was it? Chick 'n' Sours alleviates any guilt you might be feeling about eating fried chicken by helpfully sourcing free range meat and giving it the proper handling it deserves. The meat is buttermilk brined and pressure fried (your guess is as good as ours) for what they deem to be ‘next level crunch’. We’re inclined to agree. You won’t get your typical Southern style here, the menu has a few twists including disco wings with Kung Pao sauce and chicken tenders with seaweed crack and a choice of dips - sriracha sour cream, kewpie mayo, gochujang mayo, hot sauce or ginger miso. There are burgers, fries and sides too to help you make a meal of it. Although obviously if you wanted your meal to be entirely made from fried chicken we wouldn’t have a problem with that.
Where: Haggerston, Seven Dials and Islington
Not strictly a fried chicken restaurant as such, but a great place to get fried chicken plus bonus sides of all manner of delicious Taiwanese things. The fried chicken we speak of, which is why we’re all here after all, is the Bao aforementioned in the intro. It’s one perfectly cooked chicken-nugget-like piece of meat (and we say that with admiration not scorn) sandwiched in a fluffy white bun and topped with deliciously savoury and spicy mayonnaise. Depending on which branch of Bao you visit you might also be able to find larger plates of fried chicken on special.
Where: Fitzrovia, Borough, Soho and Netil Market
Healthy fried chicken might not scream delicious to you, but the team at Clutch have worked had to make sure their offering is that little bit better for you while still retaining great flavour. For bonus points their meat is also free-range and ethically sourced, which is not only better for the animals and the planet but also results in a tastier end product. Choose from burgers, thighs, strips and wings before deciding on the sauce you fancy to top them with - soy garlic glaze, honey butter and sesame, or naga fire. We also very much appreciate Clutch including gravy on their list of sides, gravy is always a welcome addition.
If there’s one way to make us love fried chicken any more than we already do, it’s to add delightful Indian flavours to it. Kricket, as you might have guessed, have done just. Their iteration of this classic Deep South dish is spiked with Keralan flavours and served with curry leaf mayonnaise and pickled mooli for a brightly flavoured bite. You could pop in to sit at the counter and enjoy a beer with some of the fried chicken as a bar snack, or have it as part of a wider feast that includes some of Kricket’s other small plates.
Where: Soho and Brixton
Coqfighter mainly deal in delicious burgers, but they’re the fried chicken kind so we’ve given them a well-deserved spot on the list. Their original burger, which you might have seen on Instagram at some point while in a scroll hole, is made up of fried chicken thigh, lettuce, pickled red onions, sambal mayo and Korean hot sauce for a really addictive fast food sandwich. Bao, wings and strips are also an option if you don’t fancy a burger and there are of course fries on the side for those of us who know that filling our potato quota is an essential element of the day.
Where: Soho, Shoreditch and Croydon
You’ll be scrolling a while if you happen upon Butchies’ accolades page, with the dreamy duo behind the brand (husband and wife team Garrett and Emer) having gone and won many the award, and having cooked for big name brands like Nike and Southern Comfort. Their success is of course down to the quality of their fried chicken – which is made from meat that is ethically and sustainably sourced from high-welfare, local farms. Having set out on their journey to make the best fried chicken sandwich London has ever seen the menu focuses on such joyous things, but there are also wings and strips up for grabs. Our favourite is the Jenny From The Block, which combines that crisp and succulent fried chicken with guacamole, chipotle mayo and smoky streaked bacon in a bun.
Other Side Fried
Each of Other Side Fried’s locations has a slightly different menu, so we suggest trying them all to find your favourite. It’s the right thing to do. In most you’ll find the OSF, which is our favourite, a burger or wrap stuffed with perfectly cooked fried chicken, brown butter mayonnaise, Parmesan, garlic, and lettuce. On the side you can order more fried chicken, in the form of strips, and rosemary salted or dirty fries. The dirty variety come with bacon, Parmesan and ranch sauce, and are a must in our not so humble opinion.
Where: Brixton, Peckham, Leicester Square and Camden
Hailed as their signature dish, the fried chicken at Jinjuu has been given a little Korean love, and is all the better for it. Free range chicken is coated in a crispy, seasoned batter before being fried for that satisfying crunch. This small piece of paradise is served with homemade sauces - gochujang red and Jinjuu black soy – and pickled white radish for a bit of freshness. If you can’t get enough of the stuff you can also find it piled into a bun and presented as a slider with the same sauces, some mayo and shredded lettuce. We’ll take one of each, thanks.
This isn’t probably a spot to take your parents to, but if you’re after an upbeat brunch with your pals then Red Rooster makes a really fun venue as there’s often a DJ or live music on the go. Alongside a varied menu of all American dishes – like shrimp ‘n’ grits and hamburgers – you’ll find quite the delicious chicken and waffle dish. Harlem-style juicy fried chicken is served on fluffy waffles and topped off with pickles and hot honey.
Run by MasterChef winner Tim Anderson, this small Japanese restaurant tucked away in Brixton serves up some seriously delicious fried chicken. Appropriately entitled chicken Karaage, Nanban's iteration of one of our favourite dishes has been given the all-star treatment. The meat is marinated in a concoction of mirin, lime, siracha and soy sauce for a richly-flavoured centre and the flour is given a good whack of umami flavours from ingredients like dashi powder. Served with a honey-miso mayo there’s not much to dislike about this serve.
Looking for more fast food fun? Check out our guide on where to get the very best pizza in London.