Pepper Man’s Revolution

During the weekly MDVF whatsapp group catch up, Absurd Bird was mentioned for the @ManDemVFood team to visit! Immediately in BOLD capital letters ‘The Manager’ said, “Long, we ain’t going!”, the rest of the team were shocked at his swift and abrupt response. We all asked “Why?”, but as he was ‘typing…’ ‘Pepper Man’ quickly posted in an attempt to overthrow management… “It’s booked, and I’ve paid a deposit” (Which was a lie but sometimes needs must!) The rest of the #mandem were excited… well, except ‘The Vegan 🙄‘. All we’re getting from him are random angry emojis! The team were confused… “What’s wrong with you, talk up!” said ‘The Manager’. ‘The Vegan 🙄 ‘ responded: “It’s not fair! You man posting all these menus with pure meat on them and i’m here tryna do this Vegan ting… do you know how hard it is and you lot ain’t helping!” – If you ever saw the lol’s and teasing that ensued after that!!
Read on to find out if Absurd was worthy of Pepper Man’s rebellious act, or did he get thrown into the gallows. Is ‘The Vegan 🙄‘ still a Vegan or did he turn up and eat meat?

FOOD:
STARTER: The man dem decided to go for the #wings, which started a debated about what flavours to choose. After a quick consultation with our waitress we decided on “Wild Wing Flavour of the Month” aka BBQ Moonshine, Crispy Fried Buttermilk and Smoked Garlic Parmesan & Lemon (Sweet Tooth was wholeheartedly against this option but got out voted… he wasn’t happy!  😤).

chicken

The wings came late, and at different intervals which was annoying.

The buttermilk wings arrived first. They were plain as white paper, no art, no creativity. Just fried in batter than actual seasoned chicken, it was like biting into a small pack of homepride flour! What does it take to add a little more seasoning to the flour before frying, or, low and behold seasoning the chicken before frying!!!!! They were basically wings dipped in buttermilk batter n fried crisp, no flavour, no seasoning, nothing PLAIN!… We’re still trying to work out if there was even a little salt & pepper on them!
To show you how plain they were, we were given a free extra portion of the buttermilk wings, due to the delays waiting for the other flavours and we didnt even finish them. Usually we are fighting over the last wing and end up playing ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’.

Finally the Smoked Garlic Parmesan & Lemon arrived. They were lightly fried, and then covered in the garlic and parmesan coatin. These wings had a strong cheese flavour, with a kick of sourness from the lemon. ‘Sweet Tooth’ screamed “Yuck! Who thought of this combination? I mean I’ve never agreed that cheese goes with chicken in the first place and this just heightens my belief. Chicken & cheese DOES NOT GO!”. Meanwhile the rest of the team disagreed “Nah man cheese goes with everything!” . General consensus was this batch of wings was passable, but didn’t leave us wanting more. The cheese was a little over bearing.

wings

The pick of the litter, sorry, we mean bunch and the saviour of our Absurd starter experience, were the BBQ Moonshine wings. Fried crispy wings smothered in the Absurd Moonshine sauce (basically the Absurd version of #JackDaniels BBQ sauce) and topped with sesame seeds. Not the most intense taste and not as good as @TGIFridays sauce but still a pleasant flavour. We actually got to taste the chicken and it’s quality. Definitely the best of the bunch.

MAINS:
THE VEGAN 🙄: As I am in the process of giving up meat, when we go out I usually get the veggie option (obviously) but I have been having withdrawal symptoms, and when I saw the menu my mouth started dribbling, memories of the good old meat days came flooding back into my taste buds. So I thought what the heck, “YOLO”… Absurd could be worth a cheat day.

For my mains I got a barbecue pulled chicken burger and since I hadn’t eaten chicken in a while I was excited, a little gassed even… like a kid who had been grounded for 2 months that was finally given the green light to play out.

First bite of the burger did not fulfill the excitement I felt. Instead I was deflated to an unenthused, I’m hungry and this will fill the gap feel 😐. No excitement, this is not how I remember the ‘good old meat days. I have personally made better chicken burgers and I’m not even a chef, I’m an electrician! 🙈. For me, #meatmission is still the No. 1 chicken burger around! Absurd was a waste of cheat day!

PEPPER MAN: This time I didn’t want to take any risks. I was hungry and I wanted something I knew I would like and would satisfy my growling stomach. I chose the crispy fried chicken burger which comes with fries. To wash it down I requested a rekorderlig (strawberry & lime obviously).

The food took slightly longer than I would have liked and when my main came I was praying that this was going to convince me that it was just the wings that were bad. I took my first bite and half of the contents of the burger fell out the other side. I put it all back together and gave it another try.

The burger was not amazing. I wouldn’t go as far as saying horrible or disgusting but definitely not something I would go back for. I would much prefer A #KFC chicken fillet burger. This burger didn’t have the finger licking flavours you would want from a burger. It was a dry, tasteless chicken breast and coleslaw in a bun. The chicken was very crunchy so maybe it was over fried (is that even a thing?) Overall, I wouldn’t go back to this place as nothing did it for me.

CHEESE LOVER: I haven’t had a slider since visiting @sliderbar_ldn at @streetfeastldn and @AbsurdBirdUK had a mixture of dirty buns and sliders. Both the same size but the dirty bun was those white soft Japanese Buns often associated to eating #DimSum. I was in a dilemma, the fillings that were attracting my attention were all dirty buns 🙈, but I have never had Japanese food before! This was the most difficult decision of my food blogging life! After much deliberation and a google of fillings I went for 3 dirty buns…

slider

1. Marinated grilled chicken dirty bun with honey mustard mayo and pickled Asian slaw. Loved it, and this Japanese bun has opened up my palate to trying out more Asian food other than pad Thai lol. The fillings complimented the chicken so well, could the other dirty buns match up?

2. Pulled Chicken dirty bun with shredded spring onion, cucumber and sesame seeds. The flavours didn’t have as much impact on me as number 1, but admittedly it was a hard act to follow.

3. Fried chicken dirty bun with sriracha mayo, picked cucumber and pickled onion. Now was number 3 going to leave me regretting not ordering 3 marinated chicken dirty buns (number 1) or would it come through and blow the competition away?

Well, let me just say this… I had no clue what ‘sriracha’ is, but I do now! I need to have this sauce on everything, I hope @costco stock it 🙏. This was the tastiest miniature burger I have ever tasted, the flavours had me drooling for more, wishing it was a full size burger. Definitely coming back for this!

THE MANAGER: For some reason I was excited about this one, even though I vowed never to return to an Absurd bird location due to the service I received from the Soho branch on a solo trip, but hey, the #mandemvfood talked me round, and we compromised after the overthrow attempt. Pepper Man your revolt has been noted, and will be sent to the gallows if Absurd wastes my time again.

For the main I had the Nashville Hot Chicken Burger, yeah I’m not Pepper Man but I like a likkle heat. To accompany the burger I had the Jalapeño Mac and Cheese, with a portion of sweet potato fries.

Sooooo, the burger, man o man, to say it was good would be an understatement, the chicken was well cooked / fried. I can’t say it was perfect, as perfect would be a burger cooked and served by Alicia Keys while she played the piano singing “fallin” to me, but it was good!

You could taste the chicken as well as the light seasoning that it had been cooked with, also the spicy elements of the garnish, not overly hot so if you expect to be blown away, that won’t happen. The down side to the burger was the fact that it did not (to my knowledge) have a brioche bun, and for me if you want to be in the Premier Burger League category, brioche bun is a must have, the same as salt and vinegar, rum and ting, chicken and jerk these things go hand in hand. My question is; “Whose idea was it NOT to have a brioche bun? Huh?” I’ll wait!

mac

The Mac n Cheese was pleasant, very flavoursome, however not the best I have tasted. That crown, at the moment, belongs to the guys over at @dirtybones, but let’s not digress, The Macaroni was a tad over cooked but that’s me being picky, it’s something I would have again but not in a hurry. As for the Sweet Potato fries, well again, not the best I’ve had. Sweet potato fries are one of those things in my eyes you can’t get wrong and one of those things that no matter how full I am I will finish them, with that, I didn’t finish these, why I hear you ask! I’m not sure… something was missing I guess maybe they weren’t hot enough, or crispy enough but they just weren’t up to the standard I am used to.

SWEET TOOTH: For my main, after much temptation from the Grilled Chicken n Chicken & Waffles, I finally decided on the 3 Dirty Buns or Sliders for £10.50 option. Sliders are basically mini burgers, made with mini brioche rolls in this case. Cheese Lover described Dirty Buns earlier

I chose the Fried Chicken Slider (with bacon jam and pimento cheese), Marinated Grilled Chicken Dirty Bun (with honey mustard mayo and pickled Asian slaw) and Fried Chicken Dirty Bun (with Sriracha mayo, pickled cucumber and pickled onion). Each had their own distinct taste and were delicious.

The Marinated Grilled Chicken Dirty Bun was a pleasant surprise as I’m not usually a fan of honey mustard mayo but this along with the Asian slaw complimented the delicately cooked grilled chicken perfectly then placed in a dirty bun rather than the mini brioche roll was definitely the right decision… genius!

The Fried Chicken Slider was a piece of fried chicken breast in batter with a jam that reminded me of a thick sweet chilli sauce and gave that same texture sensation when you tasted it but with a salty sweet taste instead. The combination of textures with the soft bun, crunch and tenderness of the chicken, salt / sweet of the jam n slight kick from the pimento cheese made for a party of flavours in my mouth… Excellent!

The Fried Chicken Dirty Bun was the same chicken as the slider version. Sriracha mayo for those that don’t know is Sriracha sauce (a chilli paste, vinegar and garlic sauce) mixed with mayo therefore taming the ‘heat’ and making for a deliciously flavoured dressing. Not being a fan of traditional mayo I was dubious but decided the Sriracha (even though I had no idea what it was at the time) would make it taste different so worth a try. What a gamble!! The slider was VERY nice. The combination of the chicken’s textures along with this great Sriracha sauce, the pickled cucumber and onion made for a delightful piquant mouthful with every bite… Amazing!

If I had to put them in order of favourite I would say, Fried Chicken Slider, Fried Chicken Dirty Bun then Marinated Grilled Chicken Dirty Bun. All 3 were delicious and I wish they were full sized burgers even though I know I couldn’t manage to eat them all if they were! Definitely try these if you visit.

DESSERT:
Being the sweet tooth of the group (it is in the name after all lol) Sweet Tooth craved dessert, especially because milkshakes were off the menu due to a faulty machine. However, with a little help from the waitress he persuaded the #ManDem to get involved in “The Dipsy”. Described on the menu as “The ultimate tear’ n share! Warm and fluffy brioche, baked-to-order and served with creme anglaise, caramel & chocolate dipping sauce” – sounds great, right… Like who could resist that?? Wrong! It was mediocre at best. Not really very sweet and the sauces were nothing special, although the caramel gets a special mention as it was the nicest of the 3 sauces. The dessert overall was a disappointment and didn’t fill the void of the lack of milkshake. The man dem weren’t best pleased with the extra expense.

SERVICE: Service in this establishment seemed very hit and miss. For example, we were seated almost immediately but then were given our starters at lengthy differing intervals. The waitress was pleasant, professional and knew her menu, but still got the odd thing wrong. She got the timing of the mac n cheese wrong, it came with the starters. This was replaced with a new batch with the mains with no hesitation which was outstanding service. According to the staff the service problems were down to them having a short notice party of 50 in the downstairs segment of the restaurant but we can’t help but wonder… Should that really affect service in the rest of the establishment? 🤔

moonshine.jpg
OVERALL: Absurd seems to be a bit like #marmite either you love it or you hate it. There are definitely some stand out items on the menu, but hard to say if they are potent enough to entice you to go back in a hurry. As nice as some of the dishes are, you can take or leave a visit. Not to be too harsh on them, maybe the service issue and the party of 50 played a part but it’s also a lot to do with the fact that not many dishes gave us that wow factor and were generally substandard. Not bad for a social evening out as a group, where alcohol and banter takes your attention away from the food, but be warned… you might have to wait a bit! 😳

SCORE: 3 out of 6 mandems

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