Purveyor: Bird, Shoreditch, London UK
Menu Item: The Nashville Hot
Price: £8 (Fries £3)
Squawk: We came at a slow time only to discover friendly staff, music levels not abnoxious, and a menu that has a lot to offer. A lot. As you’d expect with a name like “Bird” they had more than a few burger options. But what really caught our eye was the waffle burger. Holy cluck it was tempting. But seeing as it was our first visit to this establishment, we decided to go with something a little bit more baseline. But trust us, we’re coming back from the waffle thingamabob. It has to be done.
Since we noshed on the Nashville Hot burger, let’s start with the heat options. Bird’s house hot sauce was on point – vinagery and tart with just a tinge of heat. We could’ve handled more, but it’s nice to see that generally speaking, they got this correct. The “Nashville” sauce that comes pre-loaded on this particular variation, however, has a lot of heat, which we loved and were surprised by. And as it turns out, we didn’t really need the Texas Pete wanna be, because the sauce on the burger gave us everything we wanted, and more. Speaking of which, for the first time ever we saw Japanese chili pepper on the table, which was an interesting, and nice surprise.
The pickles are fantastic, but they dropped the ball a little bit with the bun; to dry, too sweet, too big and fluffy, but if you consider that the “bird” in this place is the hero, then the perhaps the bun is more of a frame for the work of art inside. Perfectly cooked, nice crunch without the oil overload. And we love the option to add double meat even if we didn’t take advantage. (Our pants are already too tight).
We opted for the £3 chips and asked for a side off very nice Buttermilk Ranch (30p) for dipping, which was a good call if we can say so ourselves. We also enjoyed good presentation and branding throughout the establishment and received the best service we’ve had in a London eatery in ages.
Overall they’ve made solid choices here and paid attention to detail. And even though we haven’t tried it yet, they get bonus points for the waffle burger. We saw one get served and it’s outrageous. And necessary. Lord help us all.
Buaawk: It’s not their fault they’re a chain, and some some of the homeliness and vibe gets industrialised out of the place. It’s not overly clinical, but you do know you’re not in a Mom & Pop and you get the feeling the kitchen is playing by a industrial kitchen tested playbook, however good it may be. Also, what we said above about the bun.
Since then, the breaded pieces of (probably) chicken meat have become a part of nearly every fast-food menu. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Chick-fil-A each have their own approach to the chicken nugget. Now, we be strictly Chicken Burgers all up in here, but the folks over at Business Insider set out to find which chain does the golden nugs the best. Go see for yourself. Or (spoiler alert) just see below.
NOTE: While we applaud the efforts of Business Insider for doing this important research, we’d be more wiling to accept their final verdict if Chick-Fil-A wasn’t run by hard-core, right wing Christian fundamentalists who are blatantly homophobic. Regardless, we say, stick with the burgers, we’ve seen how nuggets are made.
Via: Business Insider / Marina Nazario
Photos: Hollis Johnson
Purveyor: Ze Pickle, Foveaux St. Surry Hills NSW, Australia
Menu Item: The Southern Hick
Price: $16.50 AUD
Squawk: First of all, the Worldwide Holy-Cluck Reviewer Team prides itself on knowing about all things chicken burger, so when our friend and famous actress, Kristin Sweeney, popped into Sydney for a visit and told us she thought she’d stumbled across a solid nine or ten at place we’d never heard of, we were all like, whaaaaaa? Turns out homegirl was right. Ze Pickle was literally entering its second week of business when she dragged us back for her second burger in a row. (On two consecutive days, not the same day. Don’t be gross). Before we even got inside, we liked it. The interior is wide open and welcoming, with great decor done by the owners themselves. It mainly consists of walls comprised of marijuana sacks and black drawers (possibly full of weed), and a lone PacMan neon light. They have a great beer list, that changes frequently so you can try new things each time you go back, and the service is attentive and on-point. Adam, the friendly Owner, told us he interviewed over 300 people for 20 positions and it’s clear he chose well. And not just in the front of the house, but in the back too, because the burger we had was off the chook. (Sorry. Hook.)
There are TWO chicken burgers on the menu, so we’ll be back to review the other one soon, but for now we settled on The Southern Hick. It comes with maple smoked bacon, jack cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, and ZP’s own secret sauce but it was the smoked jalapeños that really put this one over the top. (Note: they come standard on the other burger, but we asked for them on the Southern Hick because SMOKED JALAPEÑOS! Even without those, the maple smoked bacon is the best we’ve had in Australia and it adds a unique sweetness that we haven’t enjoyed anywhere else. Speaking of sweetness, these knuckleheads have created a dessert called the “Oreogasm” – two Oreo cookies deep fried in doughnut batter with toffee caramel ice cream and topped with liquid Nutella and a cherry. Proceed at your own risk.
Overall we were very impressed with what Ze Pickle has to offer, they are onto a winning formula and we can’t wait to go back to try chicken burger number two. Factor in the usual teething pains most restaurants suffer through during their first few months of business, and the fact that these guys get so much right, right out of the gate is even more impressive. If they keep it up, they could well be on their way to a Best Burger Award this year.
Buaawk: There are a couple easy points to deduct from this nearly perfect burger. For starters, chips are extra. At $16.50 you’d expect at least a small portion to be included. Our general feeling at HC is that charging for chips with a burger is un-Australian, un-American, un-Everything. Unless they’re amazing chips. We didn’t order any, so we’ll report back when we review that second dirty bird burger on the menu. The bread roll isn’t anything special – normally we like a nice brioche or sometimes a toasted rye bread, but in this instance the rye would have looked out of place, and sweetness of the brioche along with the sweetness from the maple bacon would have made the whole thing too sugary. The fact that the Chef knew this gets them a 7, but the roll itself is a 5. If you’re a regular reader of Holy-Cluck then you know we love our sauces. Ze Pickle have a special ZP sauce, but we have no idea what it is and it wasn’t apparent on the burger. Asking for other sauces got us a small ramekin of Cholula, a great choice, but bring the bloody bottle so we can slather at will, and more options is more better.
UPDATE: We went back. Brought some friends. This burger stacks up. Solid nines and 9.5’s all around. And this time we ordered the beer cheese sauce and maple bacon fries. All we can say is they’re super tasty and we’re gonna need bigger pants. We still think chips should come with the burgers as opposed to being an add-on, but as far as add-on’s go, these are the goods.
No review this week. Our pants are too tight. Maybe you can JOIN the Holy-Cluck Worldwide Reviewer Team so we don’t have to keep working naked. In the meantime, please enjoy this hilarious spot for Big John by Trevor Clarence.