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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Does "Billy & The Chicks" do the trick?

What do you tend to think of first when you see chicken on the menu? 

  • Rubber chicken dinners – yawn
  • Sunday roast at home – would rather have lamb
  • Dodgy KFC when you know you shouldn't – oops! 
  • Nandos – someone still needs to tell me what all the fuss is all about with that one. 

It’s all a little bit average, don’t you think?! 

It’s nice then, to see that the humble chicken has been getting a bit of a makeover lately, with the likes of CHICKENliquor in Brixton, Chooks in Muswell Hill, and Chick nSours in Dalston (Mother Cluckers and The Orange Buffalo are also pretty big on the food truck side of things, roaming about various London hotspots). Until recently though, there was nothing much on offer centrally…that is until Billy & The Chicks opened its doors in Soho in December.

Tucked discretely down St Anne’s Court, a narrow through-way between Dean Street and Wardour Street, I was somewhat intrigued to see what was on offer. I absolutely love a good fried chicken, but have not yet found anything to rival our American friends’ efforts on home soil. I could also die happy in a well-made vat of buffalo sauce, so a bucket of tasty wings also make for a worthy scavenger hunt (the best I've found so far are from Blues Kitchen in Camden, rivalled only by MEATliqor, but I hear that Sticky Wings on Brick Lane is superb – I fear that further investigation on the topic is much overdue!). And who doesn't love a succulent chicken burger eh?! I foresee a win win culinary experience this evening…

The joint was empty when we walked in, not even anyone manning the well-adorned DJ decks, but we were hungry and committed, and the décor was funky with its exposed brick, window seats and urban vibes. We assumed a prime window licking position at around 18:00 on a pretty dank Tuesday evening, then somehow the place filled up around us without us even noticing – by 19:00 it was buzzing with the hum of fellow après work diners and the music was delivering some retro triumphs! By 20:30 though, it has mostly cleared out again, which reminds me that this is more of a pitstop diner akin to its peers – absolutely not a bad thing!

On first impressions, the menu is a winner and the cocktail menu is not over-engineered or exhaustive. The choice of eat-in or take away is great and more places should take heed of this flexi approach to grab food – let’s face it, there are plenty of whopping burger joints these days, but very few that actually allow you to order and run with your gastronomic spoils (MEATmarket has been my juicy saviour until this point because Five Guys and Shake Shack fall short every time!). I'm afraid to say though, that the best thing I ate by a long country mile, was the side of Mac n Cheese (£3.50)…it was so good that we ordered a second portion and I could've/would've comfortably eaten a third portion if I thought I could have gotten away with it…infact, who am I kidding?! Just bring me the whole pot and I will sit in it with a spoon!

Stinger Burger with cheese (£13.00)
The Stinger Burger with cheese (£12.00) was succulent and amply plump, but I found myself rather ambivalent towards the spice mix covering the meat that wasn't quite right (burnt maybe?! Not sure. Can't put my finger on it, sorry), the cheese that I couldn't much taste, the bun that was not nearly as soft or interesting as I wanted it to be, and the accompaniments that didn't really add anything whatsoever. One of the chums ordered a Veggie Burger (£9.00), which to be honest, also fell a bit flat on the eager palate. The chips on the side were all a little withered and insipid too. Humph!

The prices are good, the service was on point, the beats were a sensation (not too loud either, which pleases my old soul!), and despite my distinctly average food choices, I still really rather liked this place. Perhaps if there is a next time, I will dive balls deep into the side dishes only though – Buffalo Wings (4 for £6.00 / 12 for £7.00), Chicken Pieces (£2.50 per item) and of course, a double helping of the Mac n Cheese (sorry, I meant triple helping!). 

Wish you could've been a little better, but thanks for having us, we had a sterling evening… 

Square Meal Billy and The Chicks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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