THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN

London simply isn’t London without chicken shops – where else boasts their own Chicken Connoisseur? – and with shops on almost every high street, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to fried chicken. Whether you’re after six hot wings and a Ting, a real deal Southern fried chicken sandwich (not by the Colonel’s hand) or impossibly crispy Taiwanese popcorn chicken, this city has you covered.

Ask anyone saaarf of the river where to get the best fried chicken and they’ll say Morley’s – it’s an absolute institution and even though they’ve crossed the Thames now, the best branches are still in south. KFC may be the most famous American fried chicken chain on our shores (and probably in the world) but with the arrival of Popeyes, the Colonel has some serious competition.

If Taiwanese fried chicken is your jam, there are two Chinatown spots slinging the good stuff – Monga and Good Friend – who’ve got their own secret methods and seasoning powders to achieve both next level crunch and flavour. When it comes to stacked chicken sandwiches, Chick’n’Sours, Coqfighter, Thunderbird and Other Side Fried are turning out beast-sized buns alongside other cluckin’ great creations like salted caramel wings, chicken toast and fried chicken & Szechuan mayo bao.

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COQFIGHTER

75 Beak Street, London W1F 9SS, UK

A fried chicken restaurant on Beak Street…it doesn’t get better than that. At Coqfighter the chicken comes in the form of tenders, sesame battered wings with soy glaze, fried chicken bao, a new dish of drumsticks with XO chicken gravy, and the famous Coqfighter burgers. On the burger front, it’s hard to beat the Original, with fried thigh, iceberg, pickled red onion, sambal mayo and Korean hot sauce. There’s a crisp coating on the chicken with tender, juicy meat inside, and it’s all punched up nicely by the spicy condiments. If you can’t handle so much heat, the Honey Ginger Buffalo burger swaps the spice for a sweeter sauce. You’ll still have room for some sides, so don’t sleep on the cheesy corn!

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SICHUAN FRY

The Dumpling Shack team has opened a dedicated site to its spicy spin-off fried chicken concept Sichuan Fry (you can still get DS goodies here too). Sichuan Fry, which combines fried chicken and punchy Sichuan flavours, started life as a special menu item at Dumpling Shack in Spitalfields in 2020 before growing into a dedicated pop-up that resulted in two hours queues. Now at its perm home there are three different fried chicken sandwiches on offer – the Sichuan Classic spiced with Sichuan sauce and mala honey sauce; the Soy Garlic, with soy garlic glaze and garlic mayo; and the vegan Crispy Aubergine, with panko aubergine, honey mala sauce, Sichuan sauce & pickled cucumbers – as well as wings and tenders with various spice levels, and shake shake fries with a range of seasonings. HAWT.

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CHICK 'N' SOURS

££-£££
1a Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LL, United Kingdom

It may not be as dirt cheap as your average high street chicken shop but then Chick ‘n’ Sours is on a whole new level…not only do you get free range birds, you get crazy sides and sauces you’d never find in Chicken Cottage. You can still eat here on a budget though; the house fry drumstick and thigh with THAT seaweed crack and pickled watermelon or a big plate of disco wings will get you change from a tenner, or you could hand over the whole note for The General…a beast of a bun with fried thigh, buttermilk & herb mayo, cheese and pickles.

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BUTCHIES

22 Rivington St, London EC2A 3DY, United Kingdom

Butchies serve some of the best fried chicken in town, starting from their Broadway Market stall on Saturday mornings and growing to permanent sites in Shoreditch and Clapham. It’s perfect for a quick bite and a beer (or negroni on tap!) and their incredible fried chicken sandwiches start at £6 for the original and creep to just below a tenner for the epic ‘Jenny From the Block’, which comes with guac and smoked bacon. There’s also cheesy fries, nuggets, hallomui fries and wings for a true feast AKA wipe out central.

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THUNDERBIRD FRIED CHICKEN

29 Villiers St, London WC2N 6ND, UK

Founded by former racing driver Matt Harris, Thunderbird started life as a food truck, winning ‘Best Buffalo Wings in London’ at WingFest 2015 just three months after opening. Now he’s got a collection of shops to his name, serving up those award winning chipuffalo wings (a mix of buffalo, chipotle, coriander and pickled celery with blue cheese dip), salted caramel wings, Thunderbun and Meltdown chicken burgers, and loaded fries.

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OTHER SIDE FRIED

3 Atlantic Rd, London SW9 8HX, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 11:55 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 11:55 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM

After running kiosks across town, Other Side Fried roosted in a converted railway arch in Brixton. The restaurant serves up all the Other Side Fried faves, including the Classic, Buffalo, Garlic Butter Mayo and Honey Butter burgers, chicken strips, fries and dirty tots with a vegan burger and vegan dirty tots on the menu too.

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MONGA FRIED CHICKEN

12 Macclesfield St, London W1D 5BP, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM

Taiwanese chicken chain Monga, which has 40 sites in Taiwan plus a couple in the US, opened its first European shop in Chinatown. Monga is famous for its extra crispy fried chicken, achieved by marinating the pieces in honey instead of coating in dry flour before battering. You can then have the giant chicken fillets plain or flavoured with seaweed or spicy rub, and it also comes in nugget and popcorn form too.

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MORLEY'S

109 Brixton Hill, London SW2 1AA, UK

Ask anyone saaarf of the river where to get the best fried chicken and they’ll say Morley’s – it’s an absolute institution and one of the things that South Londoners always bring up in those North/South divide arguments. The chicken chain may have crossed the Thames but most of the shops (and the best ones) are still to be found in south. Like any good chicken shop, the menu at Morley’s is cheap and vast but the wings are where its at.

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POPEYES

Lower Food Court, Westfield stratford city, London E20 1EH, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:30 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:30 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:30 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:30 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:30 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:30 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Popeyes, which was founded in New Orleans in 1972, is huge is the States and has 3400 branches around the world, and it’s finally flown across the pond. The first location for their UK rollout is a spot inside Westfield Stratford, ironically taking over the site of a KFC. It has many of the signature dishes in the US, including the chicken sandwich (which went viral in 2019), chicken tenders, hot wings, and biscuits & gravy, and it’s cluckin’ GREAT.

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GOOD FRIEND

£
14 Little Newport St, London WC2H 7JJ, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 12:00 – 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM

Good Friend is another Chinatown spot specialising in night market-style Taiwanese fried chicken. They coat the chicken in three different flours before frying twice at two different temperatures, which is how they get the flattened breasts and nuggets of popcorn chicken so damn crispy. You can then flavour your birds with a range of different powder seasonings on the counter, including plum, curry and cumin, and don’t be afraid to shake liberally.

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CHICKEN SHOP

88 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3JZ, UK

Chik’n, the spin-off burger joint from the Chick ‘n’ Sours crew, has shacked up with Soho House and turned into Chicken Shop. Whereas the OG Chicken Shop, started by Soho House back in 2012, was centred around rotisserie birds, Chicken Shop 2.0 focuses on fried chicken, and it’s now an elevated take on the chicken shops you’d find on the high street. The menu includes the Straight Up (fried chicken, lettuce, buttermilk & herb mayo, and pickles in a potato bun), the Spice Up Your Life (chicken fillet, lettuce, spicy shake, samurai sauce & Korean slaw in a potato bun), the Spicy Korean Vegan (a plant-based fillet with gochujang mayo & kimchi slaw), wings and tenders with Sichuan and hot sauce, and a range of fries. The dips are on point to so make sure you order plenty if you like it saucy.

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SLIM CHICKENS

££
1 Cambridge Circus, London WC2H 8PA, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Sunday: 9:00 AM – 10:30 PM

London is certainly not short of chicken shops, but Slim Chickens has proven to be a fave since it landed in town in 2018. With its roots in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the chain gained major success stateside before bringing a taste of American southern fried chicken to Londoners. Expect fried chicken tenders, wings and sandwiches, as well as sides of mac & cheese, fried pickles, crispy fried onions, Texas toast and proper thick shakes. Plus you can choose from 14 dipping sauces including blue cheese, buffalo, spicy barbecue, sriracha garlic and mango habanero, so you can really ramp up the flavour.

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VALDERRAMA'S

163 Upper St, London N1 1US, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 5:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Saturday: 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 10:30 PM

James Cochran, of Islington restaurant 12:51 and Great British Menu fame, has turned his fried chicken lockdown biz Around The Cluck into a perm sports bar spot. Valderrama’s, named after the Colombian footballer Carlos Valderrama, takes inspo from the player’s quirky style with retro interiors featuring lots of 90’s nostalgia, and specially commissioned murals on the walls (including one made from a vintage kit), and there are plenty of screens so everyone can catch the sporting action no matter where you’re sat. The menu features James’ superb fried chicken in burgers including The Original featuring whipped blue cheese mousse, bacon scratchings & Sauce Shop x 12:51 scotch bonnet jam; Spice Up Your Life made with mango chutney, pickled cucumber, curry sauce, Bombay mix & poppadoms; and The Veganator topped with gochujang, Asian slaw and peanuts. You can also get the golden crispy chicken as individual thighs with various toppings – we love the chip shop curry sauce one – and you defo don’t want to miss out on a side of hash browns with jerk spice either. This is Islington so don’t be expecting bargain bucket prices but these birds are worth coming in for even when there’s not a game on.

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