Deep fried chicken in Nairobi is no longer limited to a roasted and then flash fried bird, unceremoniously stuck in a piece of brown paper for customers to slather it in salt and lashings of that delicious chilli sauce poured from a mysterious plastic water bottle caked in the remnants of a thousand watery chilli sauces past.
In order to find out how far our city has come in terms of fried chicken, Yummy photographer Peter Ndung’u and editor Katy Fentress dedicated an entire afternoon crisscrossing the city to try out different styles of the crisped up fowl.
We had heard a lot about this place and were eager to try it out. It’s definitely got charm and we imagined that on evenings it gets quite busy. The sauces that we tried – a deliciously smokey honey bbq and a standard blue cheese – were all very tasty, although neither of us felt the batter, which we found thin and quite dry, did the chicken justice. The chicken itself was moist although we didn’t feel it had much in the way of flavour. Overall we came away satisfied but not wowed.
Price: Ksh. 125
Spicy Fried Chicken
Maybe it is the fact they keep the skin on, maybe it’s the marinade, maybe it’s just this particular drive thru that put extra love into its fried kuku, whatever the case this is one insanely tasty piece of fried chicken. It was a bit spicy for Peter’s taste and he wished we had ordered the regular one but for me, it was just the right amount of heat.The one let down was the sachet of tomato sauce which felt out of place and undeserving of the crispy delight.
Price: Ksh. 200
Fried Chicken Piece
A perfectly balanced crispy chicken, once we bit into it we finally understood what the fuss on social media has been all about. The crust is superb, supremely crunchy with a thick batter which is both multilayered and multi-textured. The chicken itself was fine, not too dry, not too moist although we felt it paled in comparison with the batter (maybe they should just serve the batter as a standalone snack!).
Price: Ksh. 220
Piece of Leg
We felt we had to include an authentic Nairobi style fried chicken and without a KenChic to turn to, decided this was the closest thing. We were not disappointed by the nonchalant way in which our grease-drenched bundle was shoved into our hands. The chicken was greasy without the necessary flavour and the sauce had no acidity and tasted like chills blended with water. Maybe KenChic took their sauce recipe with them when they shut down.
Price: Ksh. 130
It was a case of leaving the worst until last and we did a very good job of it. As the attendants reached for the sad lonely piece of chicken on the warming tray, I tried to tell them I was reviewing it so maybe they wanted to give me another piece but they shrugged and said it was “only” cooked 40 minutes ago. It tasted like the oil was rancid, a bit suspect if you ask me and by no stretch of the imagination nice, palatable or a place we would ever go back to again.
Price: Ksh. 120
The secret to KFC chicken is of course in the batter and on this point Pete and I were a bit disappointed. While to the bite it was undoubtedly crispy, we felt that overall the way the batter was distributed over the piece was not uniform with inconsistent crunchiness as a result. Despite being slathered in a red chilli powder, the meat itself is moist but a bit on the bland side. Not bad but we expected a bit more.
Price: Ksh. 200