I absolutely adore the Bristol food scene. Not just for the passionate and inventive people serving such scrummy and exciting food around our gorgeous city, but also for the masses of food lovers who make time to shout about that fab food we have and support the local independents. This was the joyful combo at Happy Bird on Tuesday.
Happy Bird’s ethos is fast food with no foul play. Their chicken comes from super high welfare, free to roam birds, that are grown for twice as long to provide bigger portions and improved flavour. They have been working hard behind the scenes with their resident Burgermeister, Des, to develop new and exciting flavour combinations that celebrate the star of the show: the chicken. As a result, I got the exciting opportunity to try out the new potential burger specials with fellow burger lovers and the incredible tricky challenge of helping to decide which one should be the first of their seasonal specials!
Tantalising the tastebuds, we began with a platter of chicken tenders (described as “little golden nuggets of joy”) and house glazed chicken wings. Get messy with their incredible range of inventive sauces, including the “hot cluck-up” which was actually the result of a perfect accident when too much hot sauce was added to another choice. If you’re in a group I recommend sharing the whole list, as my favourite changed every time I tried each one.
First up on the specials tasting session:
The Coq Au Vin
A rather fancy combo of succulent grilled chicken thigh (more flavoursome than chicken breast), duxelle mushrooms slow-cooked in brandy and thyme (told ya it was fancy), red wine ketchup and topped with burnt ends and crispy shallots. The red wine ketchup was divine and provided the perfect amount of moisture to bring the rest of the flavours together. This is the type of burger you can actually eat with a little class without having sauce dribbling down your chin. Delightful.
This is when I realised I should have paced myself a little better as up next was another WHOLE burger:
We are a nation of curry lovers, and this option combined that succulent chicken thigh with madras curry sauce (with the perfect amount of heat), balanced with refreshing yoghurt-coated cucumber and crisp iceberg lettuce. As Happy Bird seem to be all about taking it to the next level, of course there was crunchy baji in there – adding another level of crunch. Sublime.
This one got messy – challenging the stability of the Hobbs House Bakery buns to their max! These textures and flavours would be the perfect match to one of their craft beers though.
Time to wriggle that food down and be grateful for the elasticated waistband (a constant asset in every item of my wardrobe). The final one was an absolute beast of a burger:
The Grumble doodle do
A celebration of soul food from the south, this little beauty starts with a layer of smokey BBQ sauce, topped with fried chicken breast in their own spiced coating, sweet cornbread hush puppy balancing in the next layer, and Des’ own gumbo recipe.
Now try and fit all of that in your mouth without covering your face in BBQ sauce? (I failed this challenge…)