With the myriad restaurants and cafés in and around Soho, it is easy to miss Billy and the Chicks during initial explorations of the area. Walking down Dean Street, past The Nellie Dean and Café Shelleys, it was when I stopped briefly to tie my shoelaces that I spotted the fried chicken place around the corner.
This unapologetically hipster chicken diner, if not identified to be so by the rough-edged décor then by the music, lighting and emphasis on free-ranged chicken, looks to create an experience that takes a step back from the conventional associations of fried chicken spots. Of course, you can get a takeaway if you’d like, they aren’t that blasphemous, but sitting in is why you would go to a place like Billy’s to grab a meal.
If you simply fancy chicken, you’ve got regular pieces, strips (strippers), and wings; burgers and wraps galore; with meal deal options for those that desire a mix. All that would have been just fine, but these guys take it a step further with delectable rib options and a selection of sides that go beyond mere chips and coleslaw. Their homemade gravy, unctuously smooth with a spicy kick that almost reaches your ears before your palate, was my favourite part of my meal.
Unlike many places where the chicken is drained for too long, allowing for it to lose that searing hot juiciness that can only be experienced eaten almost immediately out of the fryer, biting into the pieces at Billy’s gives you that exquisitely hot spurt after the spiced crunch of the breading, which is exactly what you want.
If you ever find yourself pining for free range fried chicken and are in the Soho area, head straight to Billy and the Chicks. They treat you well, but their chicken treats you better.
27-28 St Anne’s Ct, Soho, London W1F 0BN
Chicken and Ribs £3.00-£8.50; Side £1.80-£4.00; Burgers £6.60-£11.00; Wraps £6.00-£8.50; Meal Deals £6.00-£14.80