The hipsterisation of food knows no bounds. Once it was enough just to stick trendy food pop-ups in old shipping containers. Shoreditch did it. Now Bristol’s doing it.
Some pulled pork here, a few flat whites there; Bob’s your bearded uncle. But cool is branching out. And it’s taking things like your regular fried chicken with it.
Chicken Shed is the latest restaurant to open in the Cargo mountain of corrugated steel on the newly-finished and polished Gaol Ferry Steps. And it may well be (so one of its PRs claim) the first place serving deep fried but also organic chicken in the UK. Look out Miss Millie’s.
Run by Eat Drink Bristol Fashion with Michelin-starred chef Josh Eggleton at its helm, of course this isn’t just any old deep fried chicken house; the menu doesn’t stop at chips and baked beans. In fact, there are no baked beans at all.
The ‘southern fried chicken’ (£3 per piece) came with a good, thick crunch of batter, and was served in nice wooden boxes with gently salted yellow fries. Sides (£3) include a ‘crunchy green salad’ or a ‘chopped slaw’ made from shredded kale and celeriac, which came not drowning in mayonnaise but lightly seasoned and with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.
To test Chicken Shed’s “beak to foot” mantra, the deviled chicken livers (£4.50) – hearts and mushrooms on toast – were ordered. A highlight of the visit, the dish was rich and sticky, and served on a lightly toasted, thick piece of rye bread. It was all washed down with a Fever Tree lemonade (£2) – expenses wouldn’t stretch to a cocktail (£7.60).
You can order all the above and a whole chicken, and some spicy wings, as part of the ‘chicken dinner’ (£50), which serves four – a kind of acceptable family bucket. The regular lunch menu also has burgers, wraps and chargrilled chicken if fried doesn’t tickle your fancy, with the breakfasts more based around eggs.
As with most of the new openings around the expanding foodie bubble on Wapping Wharf, the decor inside is also bang on trend. There’s a reclaimed feel to the wooden furniture; you sit on padded-out old coffee sacks, with the backs of the benches made from scaffold bars. The bar where you order your food also seems to be clad in egg boxes.
Look out of the glass sliding doors over your fried chicken and you will see the boats bobbing in the Floating Harbour, making this the premium spot in the whole of the Cargo development. Now only one opening away from completion, in less than a year this place has gone from a building site to a foodie magnet, and a highly desirable place to live to boot.
There was some fascinating research done around this time last year which measured house prices against coffee shops and fried chicken joints to work out which areas were most hip. More coffee and less fried chicken meant an area was up-and-coming. Try telling that to the lunchtime crowd at Chicken Shed.
Chicken Shed, Cargo, Gaol Ferry Steps, Wapping Wharf, Bristol, BS1 6WD
Read more: Josh Eggleton to take over Kensington Arms