Any establishment that claims to be ‘the home of awesome chicken’ is likely to be met with scepticism, seeing as Nando’s has always been the undisputed go-to for the nation’s poultry needs. However, we can confirm that Bird and Beast, a restaurant that opened in Leeds’ bustling city centre last July, is wholly deserving of that title, and may well be the one to kick the UK’s fave off its peri-peri pedestal.
Upon entering Bird and Beast there was an air of tranquillity; the muted lighting, the brick walls and soft music put us swiftly at ease and soothed our frazzled student nerves. Not to mention the array of delectable cocktails they had on offer. My personal favourite was the Strawberry Daiquiri, a whimsical, fuchsia concoction that was fresh and fruity to the taste, packing a mighty punch. At £6.95, their cocktails are not easy on the wallet, but they make for a delightful treat, producing a sense of elation that is worth every penny. We have all just finished our exams, after all. The restaurant also has its own separate bar called The Beats, for those who simply wish to enjoy a beverage in a cosy, laid-back environment.
‘The chicken was transcendent; the tenderness of the meat coupled with that distinctive sauce made for a truly joyous experience’
With drinks that good, we couldn’t wait for our taste buds to be dazzled by the food available. While Bird and Beast are renowned for their tasty free-range chicken, their menu also boasts baby back ribs and several wholesome salads. We ordered a selection of succulent chicken pieces, which were coated in a thick BBQ sauce that was rich with smoky flavours. The chicken was transcendent; the tenderness of the meat coupled with that distinctive sauce made for a truly joyous experience. However, a warning for the nimble fingered eater; the sauce is extremely sticky, so Bird and Beast may not be the best place for a first date, unless you have mastered the art of eating like an adult, which we, unfortunately, have not. The chicken was complemented perfectly by a side of sweet potato wedges, which were silky-smooth on the inside with a crispy, generously seasoned outer skin. The experience was made even better by the amiable waiting staff, who brought our food to the table with prompt efficiency.
The owner of the restaurant jokingly warned me about the heartiness of the portion sizes before we ordered, but we gave a good-natured laugh as he was clearly unaware of our whale-like appetites. Yet, by the end of the main course, we sat comatose with satiation, and had to take a brief hiatus in order to compose order. Once recovered, we eagerly perused the dessert menu, and settled on a masterfully made apple crumble with cream and what can only be described as a ‘life-changing’ chocolate fudge brownie.
Overall, for excellent customer service and decently priced chicken presented with an effortless flair, Bird and Beast cannot be beaten. Your pursuit for poultry need go on no longer, so make sure you head on down to enjoy a free range feast.