Absurd Bird in Shoreditch
There are restaurants that feed you well and there are restaurants that feed you until you begin to fear for your well-being. Absurd Bird is certainly one of the latter, in all the right ways. But let us start at the beginning.
We began the evening with a couple of different cocktails. An excellent Devil Made Me Do It was a souped-up Old Fashioned with the addition of ginger and lemon juice providing acidity and warmth. Moonshine brewed specifically for the restaurant, was a nice touch, although paired with a shot of warm chicken stock (definitely not a consommé as advertised), the word absurd certainly seemed appropriate. However, this was one of only a couple of missteps the whole evening.
We started with some small plates: Hurricane Popcorn was surprisingly moreish thanks to an umami hit provided by the seaweed and bonito flavouring; a spinach and artichoke dip, far from a small plate as advertised, was generous and rich, although some more tortillas for the amount of dip would have been nice.
These were very much the preamble: Absurd Bird is unashamedly focused on its chicken, The largest chicken wings we’ve seen on British menus started proceedings, all well cooked and with plenty of flavouring choices, from an adventurous Smoked Garlic Parmesan and Lemon to traditional Buffalo Sauce with just the right amount of spice and a pleasing acidity – a highlight of the meal.
Mains began with Dirty Buns. The Japanese-style steamed buns with a slightly spiced mayo and chicken were perhaps the best thing we tried on the menu, the meat even softer than the aforementioned wings. More traditional Fried Chicken Sliders were also great, although the bacon jam that accompanied them felt slightly underwhelming. Fried Chicken and Waffles rounded off the mains, and whilst the chicken was well cooked and the waffles light and perfectly made, the whole dish lacked some cohesion. Unlike the other mains, there were no uniting features besides some maple syrup to tie the different elements together, so it felt like eating some waffles and some chicken.
Desserts read as relatively heavy, but as long as you’ve been sharing up till this point, chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter cheesecake are both undeniably appealing choices.
Absurd Bird excels is in its communal and relaxed nature. Have some cocktails and craft beer, and order food just as and when you want it over the course of an evening. This is advisable, not just because it’s more enjoyable this way, but also because the portions are so generous that you’re less likely to end up with far more food, albeit great food, than you could possibly eat.
With their self-brewed beer and moonshine, attentiveness to décor and great service, the fact they also serve great chicken could simply be an afterthought from a good bar; instead Absurd Bird manages to be a great, relaxed eating experience.
Photos: Daniel Donovan
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To book a table at Absurd Bird, 54 Commercial Street London E1 6LT, call 020 3246 0007 or visit here.