When you get an email from Holly Chalmers, you know it’s going to be something good. Holly is working with the lovely team at Happy Bird and they invited me and some other Bristol foodies to come and try some of the new burgers that they’ve been inventing so that we can give them some feedback on them. (Ohmygoshyespleaseamazing).
I’d not been to Happy Bird before and had been meaning to go, so this was a golden opportunity for me. I’ve never been entirely at ease with eating fried chicken as so many fried chicken places use birds raised in awful conditions, so when I read about happy Bird’s commitment to animal welfare, it went a long way to ease my worries. You can read more about the provenance of their chicken here. We started with a tray of tenders (chicken breast strips) and wings to whet our appetites. I enjoyed the wings but oh my goodness the tenders were next-level amazing. I think I could have eaten the whole tray myself! Being the cheeky so and so that I am, I asked if I could try all of the home-made sauces, purely in the interests of thorough research, obviously. The stand out favourites for me were the Caribbe and the Gangnamee.
Onto the main event, part one, with the Coq au vin burger. This creation contains “succulent grilled chicken thigh with duxelle mushrooms slow-cooked in brandy and thyme, red wine ketchup, and topped it off with burnt ends and crispy shallots” and is honestly one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. I love a chicken burger and have had some really great ones, but this was head and shoulders above any other. The sweetness from the red wine ketchup and the shallots was sublime. I have genuinely been thinking about this burger ever since!
Next up was the Bollywood; a grilled thigh topped with Madras sauce, an onion bhaji yoghurt-coated cucumber ribbons and a touch of buttermilk. I was a bit worried that the madras sauce would be too spicy for me (I’m typically a bhuna girl) but it was wonderful. Just the right about of spice to give a warming kick and I loved the added texture from the bhaji. The third burger was the Grumble doodle do; fried chicken breast, bbq sauce and sweet cornbread hush puppy, topped with Des’s gumbo and jalapenos. I loved the fried chicken on this burger as well as the bbq sauce and the cornbread, but the gumbo was a little too salty for me.
Just when we thought that we had not one bit of room left for anything else, one last off-menu treat arrived – the lemon cheesecake milkshake. Made from lemon curd, Cornish clotted cream, full-fat milk, crushed biscuit, aerosol cream and candied peel it was the perfect balance of rich and refreshing. A delicious end to the meal!
Happy Bird regularly change their specials, but I think we need to lobby them to make that Coq au vin burger a regular feature!