Thunderbirds are go. Erica Pilavaki takes a bite out of the menu at Thunderbirds, but did the infamous wings live up to the Best Buffalo Wings in London?
It's official. London is obsessed with fried chicken. I would even go as far as saying fried chicken has firmly embedded itself in our culture as well as our cuisine. There is currently a self-proclaimed Chicken Connoisseur with a cult following and an internet sensation; viral YouTube rappers declare allegiance to various chains across the land and at least half a dozen blogs dedicated to documenting their subtle differences.
I, for one, love a fry-fest, so when I was asked if I wanted to try Thunderbirds, who victoriously won the award for the Best Buffalo Wings in London at WingFest, I screamed with excitement and immediately took off my Spanx.
Getting straight to the point, if awards are being won, then for crying out loud, I have high expectations. These expectations weren't met, to be honest. They came ever so close, but I'm here to tell you why I'd rate Thunderbirds a solid 7/10
The Chipuffalo wings were kinetic; these are the babies who won WingFest. A mash-up of chipotle-buffalo sauce, a sprinkle of coriander and blue cheese dip. The dip, for me, tasted watered down and too meek.
The wings I received did not include the pickled celery, so I cannot comment on that. However, the wings themselves were substantial in size, piquant in flavour, which made them addictive to eat.
As I took a massive bite of the Thunderbun - The OG Burger if you will – which packs a generous chicken breast, slathered in 'Awesome Sauce' topped with crunchy lettuce and snappy pickles straddled in a squishy bun, I wasn't impressed nor disappointed. The chicken itself was a big boy in size and weight, lovely and juicy with a nice crunch, but I wouldn't describe the sauce as a smoked burger sauce. It was more like diluted mayo and mustard. Ultimately, it is a simple burger with four components. It would benefit from a slice of American cheese, in my humble opinion.
Next up was the Meltdown burger; both FOH girls recommended this as their favourite. The description states it oozes with molten miso-jalapeño cheese sauce, garlicky red pepper aioli, fresh lettuce, pickles and a soft bun. After one bite, I had to put my burger down and try and find all those flavours with a magnifying glass. I seriously thought I was eating another Thunderbun.
On to the Tokyo Drift wings. The wings themselves were hot, succulent, perfectly crispy and not at all greasy. The flavour didn't knock me sideways, but it gave my tastebuds a little something to talk about.
There's a sort of primitive pleasure to eating fried chicken. You're gnawing the bones to get at the last morsels of meat and your fingers are all covered in saucy goodness.
The table is undoubtedly covered in dirty paper napkins, and your face looks like a Picasso painting.
While southern-inspired fried chicken fast food joints are popping up faster than you can say "eleven secret herbs and spices" Thunderbirds is worth a visit if you happen to be near one (and as if by marketing magic, they are cleverly located very close to some major stations!)
Overall I cannot fault the service or the quality of the chicken or how it was cooked. But the chicken lacked the sledgehammering flavour it promises, which is a downright shame.
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Chatting Food Contributor: Erica Pilavaki
Born in Cyprus but now living in London, Erica has an insatiable appetite for good food and tasty drinks!
Follow Erica @erica_eeeats