Byfords have a reputation for their chicken, they only roast twelve a day and "when they're gone, they're gone!" and because I've been unable to bag one I'm even more determined to see what's the fuss about. So to prevent an unseemly struggle I reserve a portion for my evening meal. The menu details their local free range chicken, roasted in lemon and tarragon twice a day, every day, and you get a Half roast chicken, fat chips, garlic mayo, salad. All sounds pretty appetising!
But before the eagerly waited bird I have a little terra-cotta dish of an earthy Paprika spiced pork belly, green lentils. The paprika is rather subtle but I enjoy the succulent pork.
And then with a brief drumroll and the chicken appears. Well first impressions - there's no skimping on portions here and the chips and I'm glad there's some greenery. Sadly after all that I have to admit that I don't really get it. I want to love it, one of my favourite things is to roast a whole chicken until blistering and golden and the legs just want to tear themselves away from the 'crown'. The best bit is extracting all those glistening sticky morsels of succulent meat especially around the undercarriage. I'm definitely in the dark meat camp where the cook's treat is the oyster or even oysters! I don't normally carve the bird per se I'd rather just pull off hunks of the caramelized flesh and heap it still steaming and aromatic in the plates. So with my worship of my chicken I thought a local happy chicken of such providence and treated with due reverence would be a very fine thing indeed. But it wasn't, it was just okay. The chicken wasn't as moist as I would have liked (my fault for having one put aside for a later consumption perhaps?), I failed to discern the tarragon or lemon, the chips could do with a bit more juzzing up - maybe a tastier oil or a spot of triple cooking or something. The mayonnaise tasted synthetic and not very garlicky and I was frankly disappointed.
Maybe this was my fault, I shouldn't have set so much store on the infamous chicken, I'd bigged it up in my mind and it didn't meet my expectations. I hasten to add that it wasn't bad, far from it, it just could do better. Perhaps I'd just believed the hype too much or the chef was having a off day but whatever, it was all a bit 'meh!'
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