“Homemade… this is a restaurant mate!”

Still reeling from the disappointment that was @Chickensours (read review), the man dem were desperate to find a fried chicken restaurant where the chef seasons the actual chicken, not just the outer skin coating.

If you read our Meat Liquor review you will remember the chicken wings receiving rave reviews, amongst the best we have tasted and on a par with the wings at @clutchchicken (read review).  

So when we found out Meat Liquor had a sister restaurant called Chicken Liquor in #Brixton, the man dem topped up our #Oystercards and ventured over the river to that place they call #south for the first time.

WOW! Brixton has changed. An ensemble of indoor food markets with vendors serving up food from across the globe. Trendies casually walking along the once notorious Atlantic Road and Coldharbour Lane. Whilst on one corner opposite @popBrixton a group of original Brixtonians were blasting a #StoneLove soundclash from the boot of a car sipping on Dragon Stout, rebelling against the #gentrification unfolding in front of them.

Hold on, is this a #Lonelyplanet travel guide or is this supposed to be a #londonfoodblog ? Back to the fried chicken and the man dems search for seasoned chicken. Don’t let the man dem venture all this way on #LondonUnderground for some bland unseasoned chicken. If we do not taste seasoning the man dem will happily takeover the kitchen, call in one of the original Brixtonians outside #Brixtonpop string up the sound system and run some Stone Love whilst we season the chicken, cook the chicken, sell the chicken and take all the money including the waiters tips! 

Did the man dem have to take over the Meat Liquor kitchen? Or did the chef season the chicken?

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FOOD:

For starters we had the option of wings or boneless bites and a selection of 4 flavours to choose from: Korean, Buffalo, Chicken Shop and Thai. We decided on wings and tried to persuade the waiter to let us sample a mixed selection of all the flavours, but no luck so we settled on Korean, Buffalo and Chicken Shop. The chicken was tender and of an excellent quality. The Buffalo wings were average, lacking on the buffalo’ness (so to speak), sauce could have been more tangy, but we’ve had worse. The Chicken Shop wings were a take on your normal fried wings, good flavour and tastier when you dipped them in the bbq sauce. By far the favourite were the Korean wings, with its zingy, piquant kind of taste of which went down well with the mandem.

As becoming the norm with our reviews of late, individual reviews of each mandem’s meal are accounted below.

Man Dem 1: The way I was hungry I had to go for the biggest thing on the menu aka the Tower Block aka a tower burger to you and me. I was expecting a humongous burger, so big you worry if you can finish it, comes with a stick thing in the middle to hold it together, you have to cut in half and hope the restaurant do doggy bags. Surprisingly, on arrival the size of the burger never phased me, whereas I was shook by the same burger I had at MeatLiquor. The burger itself was visually appealing, humble and neat. The first bite… lovely! The fused flavours of the excellent quality chicken, melted cheese, minimal onions, spoonful of ‘slaw’, the crunchy coated potato of the hash brown, just the right amount of tasty dressing that was just enough to add the finishing touch but not too much to make the bun soggy, and the final kick of the jalapeños left me smiling and chomping away. I never had to struggle eating the burger, the meat was soft and juicy and left my belly in a happy place. This was an excellent burger, however, Meat Liquor’s version is still number one.

Man Dem 2: Looking at the menu a few things jumped out at me, but what sang to me was the Chicken Parma, (maybe it was my Italian roots) which was Serrano Ham (yeah i know… why call it Parma if the ham is Serrano?? I don’t get it either), mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce (tomato ragu) with a light dusting of Parmesan cheese! Obviously with a crisp fried chicken fillet somewhere in there! Conceptually it looks and sounds good, but in reality I don’t think it works. The marinara sauce for one makes the burger bun soggy, maybe some like that but not me, burger sauce all running through my fingers. The Serrano ham was tasty but the flavour was lost in the burger. To get a real taste I had to take the ham out of the actual burger, and finally the Mozzarella cheese! Hmmmmmm, was it actually Mozzarella? The jury is out on that one, but if you are adventurous or like Italian flavours, it’s worth a punt, but personally I’d never order that again, I should have had the Hippie burger.

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Man Dem 3: Having had the #deadhippie #burger at a previous visit to #Meatliquour it was only right I had the Chicken Liquor version aka the Hippie Chick Burger, I mean it would be rude not to… right?!? It was inevitable… written in the stars… I had no choice!! This made the anticipation while waiting for my food to arrive seem like FOREVER… when it was only actually no more than 10mins max!! Readers… I must say it was worth every excruciating second!!! Not too big so you couldn’t get your hands round it or that you couldn’t take a proper bite but not too small that you think where’s the rest?!?! First bite… a big chomping mouthful!! #nolongting A plethora of flavours… warm soft brioche bun, succulent flavoursome chicken fillet that was so tender if there was a bone it would be falling off, crisp lettuce, the hint of the minced onions, the zing of the pickles and of course the hippie sauce, basically a take on the #BigMac sauce you get at @McDonalds and me being me, topped off with some ketchup. Great decision… the burger was delightful and is definitely this mandem’s recommendation if you decide to saunter this way for a meal!!

Man Dem 4: The Dirty Chicken and Cheese burger was me, if you have read previous burger reviews from us, you will recognize me as the cheeseburger addict. My second bite was supposed to be the main event after the initial rabbit bite. Why did I find myself chewing as if I was eating sugarcane, literally having to rip the chicken apart. I asked the other Man Dem if their chicken was also tough only to hear man show off about how tender their chicken, demonstrating by easily tearing apart with their fingers.

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Maybe it was just my imagination, so I took another bite and again the chicken was tough, like uncooked…wtf!

Frustrating because the first initial bite was promising, with a soft bun and  succulent chicken. I so was looking forward to sampling the full flavour, this was just the warm up. What a disappointment!

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Lucky I had a late lunch and plenty of Korean chicken wings!

The mandem all had the fries as their sides which were the thin, crispy, fluffy on the inside type and well salted. The portions were larger than expected so ordering one each was a mistake… none of the mandem finished theirs. We would advise getting one portion between two unless you’re really hungry or LOVE fries!

SERVICE:

A table was booked 6 days before the actual visit (yes, the man dem are super organised). On arrival we expected our table to be ready, no issues, but low and behold when we presented ourselves to the front of house staff she stated that there was no booking! Now, Chicken Liquor do not send text or e mail confirmations so there was no way to challenge this, but we assure you the booking was made! After having to wait 30 mins we were showed to a table, now please bare in mind the average height of the man dem is 5ft 11, with a average weight of 14 stone! We were placed on a table which was hardly big enough for four toddlers having lunch for a birthday, upset and hugely disappointed we asked to be moved (another 15 minute way).

Have you heard that Bob Marley song – Them Belly Full? Well there is a line in that song that says “A hungry mob is a angry Mob” now looking round at the man dem I knew that was the theme tune of the moment!

Finally, we were sat at a table which had space for us to actually move. The ordering process was going smoothly until one of the man dem asked “Do you have homemade lemonade?” Not an unreasonable request, many restaurants serve what they call ‘homemade lemonade’, but the waiter actually laughed and replied “Homemade… this is a restaurant mate!” What a cheeky comment, not funny cheeky, but more patronizing cheeky like “Did you just insult my intelligence bruv?” …this isn’t the level of service we expect! 

The food arrived and from that point onwards the service was just above average, not warm nor welcoming, the food makes up for the level of service! It’s like restaurants nowadays don’t care about the service they provide, considering we are paying customers, they need to fix up, look sharp! MDVF suggest Chicken Liquor brushes up on it’s service or send staff to spend a night shadowing the meat Liquor staff to learn a thing or two. Oh and Chicken Liquor need to introduce a better booking system to avoid errors.

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OVERALL:

ChickenLiquor is definitely a hotspot at the moment judging from the way it was buzzing. It is more of a quick in quick out restaurant rather than chill and chat type of place. It is perfect for getting a bite to eat with a group of friends before moving on to a bar or show in the local area. Be warned, the way it was busy on a Wednesday you might have trouble getting a table on a Friday or Saturday, even if you pre-book because of their unreliable booking system, or be prepared for a long wait.

MDVF would not recommend Chicken Liquor for a romantic meal as the setting is not intimate. 

Good solid food, reasonably priced and a fine selection of cocktails. You can’t really go wrong for a place to eat with your squad.

4 mandems out of 6

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