Having survived three years of student life and nights out in SE London, we’ve certainly had our fair share of sloppy three-am chicken runs. We’ve therefore deemed ourselves fit to take on the chicken shops of New Cross Road, and pass on our vast culinary expertise to those brave enough to listen. Because what is NX without its chicken shops, and what are NX chicken shops without barefoot girls crying on their way home from Venue?
On our quest, we took into account all of the things that we, as millennials, look for when we picture the Ultimate Chicken Shop, and narrowed down the criteria to the essentials: price, atmosphere, chicken juiciness, overall beauty, flavour, and crispiness. We have also decided to throw in chip quality too because, for us, a big part of having a positive chicken shop experience comes down to that perfect ratio of crispy-to-soggy fries.
So, next time you’re coming down from a night out with your pals and you’re arguing about which chicken shop has got the best breast on the market, don’t fret – we ate four boxes of chicken and chips in an hour so you never have to.
4000 calories later, here are the results of The Great New Cross Chicken Run.
PRICE: £2.49 (has chicken always been this cheap? why do we even bother with groceries?)
ATMOSPHERE: Gateway is the most recent addition to the NX chicken shop family, and you can definitely tell because everything is so like ‘oooh shiny’. The place really nails that minimalist red and white aesthetic and is drowned in cool white lights, giving off plenty of Ikea-meets-dentist’s-office-meets-KFC vibes. Also, big up to Gateway for being the only shop that cares enough to bump up some UK club classics while we order 2-piece chicken and chips and contemplate death at 2:09 on a Tuesday afternoon.
MEAT: 1 breast + 1 thigh
JUICINESS: Can’t figure out if it’s grease or juice but honestly don’t really care.
BEAUTY: Not bad but definitely lacking in star quality.
SEASONING: Damn good… Either these guys really know what they’re doing in the flavour department or we were just too hungry.
CRISPINESS: Lack of texture involved in this eating experience is pretty discouraging.
CHIP QUALITY: Not enough salt but made up of only 40% limp fries, so we are gonna let it slide.
PRICE: £2.49 (We’re literally never food shopping ever again)
ATMOSPHERE: We really like what they’ve done by swapping out the classic chicken shop colour combo of red and white, and going for the flashier alternative of red and silver. That, plus the added glittery bonus of the menu displayed on LCD screens, makes us feel like we might be in the aftermath of an episode of Pimp My Chicken Shop. Could do without the door propped open though, so we can eat in peace, instead of having to be bombarded by the sounds of traffic on the A2.
MEAT: 1 breast + 1 leg
JUICINESS: So moist and juicy. Grease could also double as alternative argon oil hair treatment.
BEAUTY: Honestly, the breast looks like shit. Average leg.
SEASONING: @spices where are u? we miss u 🙁 #freetheherbs
CRISPINESS: @crispyskin we hope u and @spices are hiding inside Chick Chicken
CHIP QUALITY: Beginning to lose faith in the idea that any of the chips we eat today will be pre-salted. These chips are a little too chunky for us – can’t they see we’re on a diet?
PRICE: £2.29 (Think we got a 20p student discount)
ATMOSPHERE: To be honest, before today, we thought that we had left Chick Chicken behind us, leaving it as distant memory along with the rest of our first-year trauma. But who were we kidding? We could never forget the 20-piece bucket that ended up in our Loring Hall freezer, back in the good old days when our biggest challenge was putting on pants and crossing the road for some mozzarella sticks.
With that being said, our old faithful seems to have cleaned up its act since our last visit. Red walls replace the mirrors that we previously avoided after night-long benders, allowing us to dissociate from the fact that we’re about to order our third meal of the afternoon. We would definitely recommend coming here if you don’t want to look yourself in the eye after a rough night at the SU.
MEAT: 1 breast + 1 leg, plus 1 bonus spicy wing (they must have heard about this review, news travels fast!)
JUICINESS: This is the holy grail of chicken moisture
BEAUTY: *in unison* ‘Damn…’
Chicken is shiny as hell, 10/10 would smash
SEASONING: Tastes just like a chicken should, the free wing was even better.
CRISPINESS: Not there but we don’t miss it
CHIP QUALITY: At this point, we’ve come to the conclusion that we’re definitely on our own in the salt department. 80:20 crunch-to-limp ratio – guess not all chips out there can compete with the masterpiece that is a McDonald’s french fry.
**Quick stop at health food shop to look at vegan nut bars and feel less bad about our choices**
Perfect Fried Chicken:
PRICE: £2.49 (Guess we’re back to shelling out the big bucks)
ATMOSPHERE: The only table was taken so we’ve had to succumb to a really tall bench under some fake plants. Having some issues staying on this seat while sober, so not sure how anyone could possibly do this after a few drinks. Noise of the fridge only adds to the uncomfortable ambiance.
MEAT: 1 breast + 1 thigh
JUICINESS: Feels reminiscent of cotton mouth
BEAUTY: Not even a little sexy
SEASONING: A bit thrown off because the man offered to add salt on top and we said yes out of habit. Is that where all the flavour is coming from? Does that even count?
CRISPINESS: There but kind of in a bad way. Can you imagine?
CHIP QUALITY: Can’t find a single limp fry – wtf