PUBLISHED: 13:00 29 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:39 25 April 2017
Chicken strips: Free-range Norfolk chicken breast brined in Earl Grey for 24 hours and marinated in Buttermilk. Picture: Louisa Baldwin
When you first step into Woolf & Bird, sister restaurant of Woolf & Social on Nelson Street, you immediately feel relaxed. Giant colourful chicken murals give a pop of colour, and clear tables (apart from a clipboard with a menu) indicate this is a no-fuss place to dine.
The bar is made of welded metal sheets, which gives a slick and underground feel, and food ordered at the bar is collected from a pass. At the back of the restaurant, you’re transported to south-east Asia with canteen tables, luscious plants, and archways with tassel string curtains leading to a snug room with a sofa bench.
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Woolf & Bird is solely dedicated to the fine art of fried chicken, so I was expecting great things – especially as all the meat is sourced from Norfolk. The chicken strips were tender and crispy and married perfectly with a generous dollop of American cheese. It was delicious, but a little pricey at £7.50 for three strips.
The Buffalo wings come with either hot or extra hot sauce. We chose the hot which was seriously spicy, but was perfectly balanced when dunked in the refreshing Binham Blue sauce.
But the real star of the show was the Karaage popcorn. It was served in a fold up Oriental takeaway box, with the option of chopsticks as cutlery. The bite-size chicken pieces had the crunch of Rice Krispies, and combined with soft seaweed pieces and tangy lime gave an interesting and tasty texture.
The cheese croquettes were crusty artery-clogging ogres’ toes, and were delicious dipped in mayo.
Although the coleslaw looked a bit anaemic, it was a crunchy, citrus delight with a Caribbean twist.
The fries were well-seasoned with sharp piri-piri, but there was so much sauce that the ones at the bottom were drowning in a pool of cheese. Also, the ketchup tasted more like pasta tomato sauce, which wasn’t to my liking.
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I had a lemon San Pellegrino and my friend a Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola. The bar had a good range of cocktails from £6 upwards, but they would benefit from doing some weekday deals.
The service was excellent. We were greeted at the door, and our order arrived within five minutes. At the end a member of staff came to chat to us while clearing away, and was genuinely interested in our feedback.
Clean and plenty of cubicles. Also, the toilet was unisex which was a nice touch and shows the inclusive environment they are trying to create.
The nearest car park is either St Andrews Car Park or St Giles multi-story car park – both within a three minute walk of the restaurant.
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Exchange Street is at the centre of the Norwich independent scene, so you can easily wander for a drink at The Wallow or Belgian Monk afterwards. It’s also next to the shops if you fancy popping in for lunch.
Quite pricey, but the quality of the food makes up for it. The chicken strips are a little dear at £7.50.
The Karaage popcorn chicken is super tasty, and is an innovative dish from the daring chefs that use termites and ants as seasoning in Woolf & Social.
Great to share, interesting and unique flavour combinations, and the best fried chicken in Norwich.
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