Well I can’t quite believe how far this blog has come in the few months I’ve been writing. This week I was invited to my first ever restaurant press launch by the team at Pam Lloyd PR and the guys at Happy Bird. Does this mean I’ve made it? Just quite possibly.
Through the restaurant hoarding and into the clean, fresh interior of Happy Bird and there’s a chance these guys may have cracked it. Rubbing shoulders with Bristol’s food elite as the drinks and music flow freely, I managed to steal a chat with the General Manager Sam who is ecstatic about the launch. There’s an energy in the team which was bristling with electricity to get started.
Sitting down with some journalists from The Bristol Post we eagerly awaited our fayre. To warm up were served a selection of chicken and halloumi salads, the halloumi was griddled and remarkably, not squeaky. Paired with one of the eclectic variety of sauces it was fresh and different enough to set it apart from the other eateries of its kind. There was however, far too much kale for a carnivore such as myself. Alongside were honey and chilli glazed chicken wings which were succulent and sticky in equal measure.
Following this warm up act was the main event and what we were all salivating for. Fried chicken. Not just any fried chicken, gourmet, free range fried chicken (read in a sultry M&S advertisement voice). Given everything to try, we dived in. The fried thigh burger was hand over fist the best part of the meal. The crunch of the breadcrumb as the herbs and spices muddled on the tongue before giving way to the tender chicken beneath which was flavoursome and paired exceptionally well with my favourite sauce of the evening, the Lebeneezer- unsurprisingly taking its inspiration from Lebanese and middle eastern cooking. A soft bun, but closer to that of a traditional burger roll than the brioche we see today. I’d also recommend the strips, a greater depth of flavour than their fast food counterpart and for good reason with the provenance of the chicken and you’ll be rewarded again with the delicious breadcrumb too. Served alongside were skin on fries, crisp outer and a light, fluffy inner they were fries as fries should be. I am a little uncertain about the cheese they were served with though. Not all fries need to be ‘dirty’ and with enough going on with the chicken, naked is best.
To finish was the most bizarre milkshake combination I’ve yet encountered. The chicken salt and vanilla. Happy Bird’s take on salted caramel and in a similar fashion to dipping fries into a McFlurry I was pleasantly surprised by just how good it was. The sweetness of the vanilla gave way to the bite of the salt each sip, simple flavours which created an experience for the palette.
Good vibes and great chicken is to be found at Happy Bird. So early into its journey, questions are bound to be asked about its success and future. Will it succeed where Cargo’s ill-fated Chicken Shed faltered? Maybe, just maybe (and I certainly hope so). Expect good things- go for the burger and you can’t go wrong.
Cheers Happy Bird, to a long and successful future.