Time was when the humble “Food Court” ruled the roost in shopping centres.
No clever branding or product interaction was necessary - this was simply “the bit with the food in it”.
Things have changed, however. Veterans of the Schofield Centre’s narrow escalator to culinary heaven during the 1990s now have the opportunity to peruse Trinity Kitchen.
It’s a marker of how times have changed - dried out pizza slices, burnt burgers and scalding chilli baked potatoes have been consigned to the compactor of history. If you like your food, shopping centres are a much better place to be in 2019. And so we come to Absurd Bird - along with American-style “joints” such as Yard & Coop, it’s part of what I like to call the “chicken third wave”.
But whereas KFC’s selling point was its cheap and tasty swiftness, and the likes of Nandos offered a healthier, sit-down option, this new generation of poultry-pushers appeal to our base gluttonous instincts. There’s deep fried chicken in a various guises, and while burgers, wings and chips are nothing new, their accompanying drenchings and condiments certainly are.
We went for a starter of chicken wings in smoked garlic, parmesan and lemon. The early signs were good - they didn’t pull the old fast food trick of cutting the wing and giving you half - these were the entire anatomical wings of chickens.
It was a great introduction to the meal too, a powerful, garlic-heavy flavour punched up the palate as a sign of things to come.
For mains, my companion chose the chicken burger box with cheese-topped chips. This was a standard burger, but of decent size. Tasty, yet a little heavy on the sauces - boasting a mix of BBQ, mayo and coleslaw.
The idea of mixing fried chicken with waffles still confuses me. My opting for the cheesy chicken waffles was borne out of journalistic curiosity, rather than mouthwatering excitement.
Again, this was a meal no less moist than the burger - boasting both cheese and honey mustard sauces, it was as if they were trying to hide what was underneath. They needn’t have - the fried chicken was delicious, cooked to perfection and well seasoned. The sweetness of the waffles threw me slightly, but their soft, slightly elastic texture played off perfectly with the crispiness of the chicken. There was just no need for so much sauce. Chips were the usual fast food fries.
The entire meal for both of us - including two pops - came to under £30. This may sound hefty, but this was more than we could finish - and our afternoon sluggishness was a sign of satiety.
Food - 7
Value - 7
Atmosphere - 8
Service - 7