Contending with the Colonel: Liverpool’s Yardbird reclaims REAL fried chicken

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Fried Chicken is one of those foods that can either envelop you in a warm embrace of salty, crispy home-made goodness or leave you spasming out of disappointed guilt, depending on how it’s cooked. Such fits of despair may have left you indifferent. Apathetic. Maybe numerous sub-par late-night takeaways have caused you to lose faith. If you’re at this tenuous stage in your relationship with fried chicken now, I beg of you to listen. Open your eyes. For Yardbird is the answer you’ve been waiting for.

After flirting with us for a few months offering sneak peeks on twitter and opening at the arse-end of June 2014, the Yardbirds have perched themselves at the corner of Berry and Duke st in Liverpool (in the formerly derelict building where Banksy’s Rat Mural used to be). And I’m so glad they did.

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Yardbird specialises in fried chicken, doughnuts and cocktails. With other surprises thrown into the mix. See their menu here.

Getting right down to it the ‘Fried Chicken with biscuits & gravy’, one of the most humble sounding dishes on the menu, is where you should start if you’re a rookie. I’d say it’s their baseline by which you can measure the vibe of the rest of their food so if you like this, you’ll love Yardbird.

IMG_2695Offering a real taste of old-school southern soul this dish won’t disappoint. The chicken is crispy on the outside and tender within but they really smash it on the gravy, which is superior by far to any other chicken joint I’ve visited (yes even the Colonel’s). Probably something to do with it being made on chicken stock, cream, pepper and bourbon… Oh yeah, I asked the man.

The biscuits are savoury by the way, if you’ve had breakfast biscuits in America they’re like those. If not, I’d say they’re kind of close to a savoury scone, but more bready and substantial.

Top Tip: (if you’ve got your head screwed on) when your scran arrives, cut the biscuits open and lay them face down in your gravy to let them soak in. Trust.

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The wings are superb, with a range of sauces and I’d recommend trying both slaws (pictured below). As with the rest of the menu the portion sizes are generous (which is what we like to see), and the salads are fresh and inventive, with fruit and nuts for added textural yumminess.

IMG_2717Another innovative must-try is their ‘Chicken or the egg’, a fried chicken breast fillet in brioche bun with deep fried egg, pancetta, & cheese w/pink sauce… I was confused on reading the menu but there’s actually an egg deep-fried into your burger. You’ve got to see it and taste it to believe it works really.

Next onto their shakes. Again, they’ll beat your mainstream fast food chains hands down. Just try them, how lovely do they look? (see below an Oreo and a Strawb shake). They also do ‘Hard Shakes’, deliciously alcoholic and dangerously moreish. Mother dearest chugged down two of their Pina Coladas in record time.

Defo try some of their Collins cocktails too. Featured below are a raspberry and a blackberry Collins, but they also have four other flavours. Sweet and light, but beware they go down far too easily.

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The only thing I’d have to say about Yardbird that is not-quite-really-almost-negative-at-all is that the burgers are hard to handle without having to pull your sleeves up (unless I’m just being drammy). Other than that the service is swift, staff are friendly and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

It’s also really cool inside: they draw on the windows and tend cactuses (cacti?) but if you’re an Alan Partridge fan beware they ‘like American things’. 

Definitely give them a look and let Yardbird redeem the hallowed art of fried chicken for you. If you’re able to tear yourself from their talons I’ll be surprised because they’re finger lickin’ boss.

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Yardbird is situated at the corner of Berry St and Duke St, opposite the Arch in Liverpool’s Ropewalks district at 60 Berry Street, L1 9DU Liverpool.

They don’t have a phone number, just turn up and they’ll seat your party. If they’re chocker they’ll take your number and ring you when a table is free (as they’re only small inside).

Follow them on twitter for updates and food porn @Yardbirdsrgo.

More updates at @KateMenear

Header image URL here.

All other images are my own.

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