If you think theres a gap in the market for finger lickin good fried chicken then listen up. Meat Liquor founder Scott Collins and food writer and chef William Leigh agree, and so they’ve decided to set up shop in evolving foodie destination Brixton Village.
I had a chat with William who gave me the low down on Brixton’s newest addition. Expect ice cold beers, tasty chicken korean wings and delicious decor. Are you salivating yet? Read the full interview below…
So, what sets Wishbone apart from its competitors?
Wishbone is the first free-range fried chicken shop in the UK. While we’ve seen a few other places focusing on chicken popping up of late, Wishbone is about fried chicken only – think plates of wings, super crispy fresh from the fryer chicken and cold craft beers.
Yum! What inspired you to set up a permanent fixture in Brixton market?
I’ve lived in Brixton and Stockwell for a number of years and I’ve loved watching the market grow. It’s become a genuine food destination that rivals any in London. And most of all I love the mix – it’s somehow so alive, vibrant and full of interesting people.
What sets you apart from the other fried chicken outlets in Brixton?
We’re bringing something completely different to the table. For so long fried chicken has meant battery farmed chickens with low quality meat and for us this had to change. Wishbone will be taking something that has been mistreated – Fresh chicken. So if you are looking for your usual overcooked, greasy, chicken left in a hot cupboard for hours, you’ll be in the wrong place.
Our inspirations comes from things we’ve tried around the globe and made our own. We’ve got Korean style wings that are twice fried, tossed in a Korean chilli paste and served with daikon; we’ve got a Thai-style dish that’s bursting with fresh mint, chillies and lime.
Then there’s the booze. Giles, my good friend and the genius behind SoulShakers, will be working on our bar with us; Hobo Beer will be making an appearance (a new Czech craft lager made with 100% Saaz hops) alongside a few others and I imagine you’ll see a cider or two.
Are you operating a no bookings policy?
This has become a defining question for so many places… We’re going to work with a no bookings policy with around 40 covers upstairs serving the full but concise menu. Downstairs it’ll be beer and finger food… Brixton lends itself to the mix – a lot of people like grazing there at the weekend, so a plate of wings is perfect for a quick stop off.
What are your insider tips for places to eat in London right now?
I hold dear my little black book of favourite dishes that I have in places, but I’ll let you in on a few secrets.
Goodman, in Mayfair does best steak I’ve ever had, (the Belted Galloway bone-in rib eye). The Heron in Edgeware road does completely bonkers but amazing Thai food (the fried egg salad is one of my all time favourite dishes). Kao Sarn in Brixton Village does the best Keuy Teow Tom Yum Goong – a version of Tom Yum soup from Bangkok. Jose’s and Pizarro’s – he’s been a long time friend of mine and I hugely respect his cooking and sourcing – his croquetas are about the best you’ll ever try; the Katsu sandwich at Tsuru Sushi is one of the most incredible sarnies you’ll ever try; lastly, although it’s a fair way from where I live, I love Song Que. The green papaya and prawn salad there is just unreal.
What makes you so passionate about gourmet fast food?
I’m not a big fan of the term ‘gourmet fast good’. From where I sit we’re just taking a product and making it as good as we can – and that’s something every kitchen should be doing.
That said, I do love fast food – from the hamburger (I’m a secret Big Mac addict) and shwarma (not a donner!) to the takes on fast food you see in places like Bar Boulud. I love the way they’ve refined things, but not lost touch with their roots. It’s no good poshing a dish up if it bears no resemblance to its origins. You lose nostalgia.
The gourmet aspect comes from my time as a chef and wanting to refine things to make them the best they can be, using the best ingredients. I love fried chicken and I’ve eaten it across the world, from Bangkok to Brooklyn. Here in the UK we simply don’t do it justice.
Fast food can be very bad, but places like MeatLiquor have shown it can be amazing when done with care and thought.
I imagine that Wishbone plans are very under wraps right now, can you reveal one tiny little exciting thing we can look forward to on the menu?
The menu is definitely under-wraps, I think you’re probably amongst the first to hear about the Korean wings… All that want to know more… you’ll have to pop down once we’re open!
Wishbone will open it’s doors in Brixton Village this August.