£12 with dripping chips - this towering crispy fried chicken breast ensemble might just be the best chicken burger in the world. Ever.
Situated right by Old Street roundabout, Rotary Bar & Diner
, is a diner and music venue from the team behind Redhook and Giant Robot. The menu, devised by Carl Clarke
of DiscoBistro fame, focuses on wood-grilled meat, Cornish day-boat fish, barbecue, salads AND a couple of burgers. Given my feelings about Carl's latest DiscoBistro burger
, I popped along to check 'em out...
Would-you-believe-it, the very day I happened to go (yesterday), chef Carl Clarke was actually in the kitchen working with the lovely Gizzi Erskine
to perfect the menu she'll deliver at her Rock'n'Roller Disco
takeover event at Skate Kings Cross next week on Wednesday 14th August. Carl spotted me, said hello and then insisted I try his wings (above), Gizzi's Korean-inspired K-Pop chicken wings (smothered with a sticky glaze featuring Gochujang and Sriracha hot sauces, shown below), as well as the Rotary Burger and the Fried Chicken Roll off the Rotary menu.
Heck, I even got to taste some work-in-progress versions of Gizzi's Rock'n'Roller burger which will feature truffled beer cheese, pigs head bacon and a bone marrow gravy for French dipping said burger in. BOOM – what a fucking amazing wednesday lunch! On the strength of Gizzi's AMAZING wings, and the bite of burger I tried, her evening takeover of Skate King's Cross next week is gonna be ACE (find out more here
) but I digress. Let's get back to Rotary Bar & Diner's regular menu fare - its house burger (£12 with dripping chips / £9 takeaway) looks like this:
It features a coarsely ground, loosely packed rare breed beef patty made from heavily marbled rib, extra-aged brisket tips and bone marrow – served with pickled onions, melted cheddar cheese, wonderfully crisp streaky bacon, shredded lettuce and a burger sauce - all housed in a soft brioche bun. It's really very good indeed, and well worth checking out in its own right - but when it's sat next to a Rotary Bar & Diner Fried Chicken Roll, it looks a little, well, dainty in comparison…
Featuring a crispy coated fried chicken breast smothered in a sticky, hot and tangy sauce, shredded iceberg lettuce, American cheese, a pile of pickled onions and an almighty dollop of homemade bbq sauce blended with mayo all sandwiched in a full-on buttery seeded brioche bun, Rotary Bar & Diner's modestly titled "Fried Chicken Roll" is, quite frankly, epic.
It's clearly more-mess-than-finesse and only those with little to no shame and many-a-napkin will be able to take it down. Thanks to a stinker of a hangover my shame was in short supply, unlike the paper napkins which can be unstuffed from a dispenser on the table as and when (every 30 seconds) you need one. The chicken's coating is crisp and crunchy despite being drenched in a sticky, spicy sauce, and once you pick up and bite into it, the bbq mayo becomes one with the pickled onion to form a sloppy kind of slaw with a vinegary twang. Yes, you'll get sticky sauce and mayo all over your face, but who cares when it tastes this good? It's a gloriously dirty chicken burger and, along with a bottle of coke, it knocked the spots off my hangover.
Obviously, Carl Clarke isn't in the kitchen here every day, so perhaps the burgers I had were a little bit on the extra-awesome side of usual. But even if they're only half as good as the ones I ate, they'll still be worth investigating. Get involved.