I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly picky person; if you saw some of my ex-boyfriends, you’d know exactly what I mean. The only thing that I’m very particular about is food. I like corn on the cob but not sweetcorn, tomatoes but not ketchup, and generally beef but not chicken. There I’ve said it. I imagine one feels like this after admitting to a grisly crime. It’s not that I hate chicken – how can you hate chicken – more that I always opt for its meaty and unhealthy counterparts. Hearing that I was off to review The Bok Shop, a brand new chicken place, I was more than a little nervous.
Located on foodie-friendly East Street, it has a very cool yet minimalist feel inside with prominent black and white brick, wooden benches and absolutely huge windows making it the perfect spot for people-watching. The loud and funky music expertly matched the happy and relaxed vibe that the place exudes. They offer a small but perfectly formed menu with chicken pieces and burgers taking centre stage, and with this in mind I went for both. We started with two Hot Wings coated in a chilli buttermilk marinade (£2.50) and chose some Bok BBQ Sauce (£1) to dunk them in. There was a lovely kick and great flavour to the hot wings and I breathed a massive sigh of relief that my chicken-related fears were unfounded. The BBQ sauce had a zingy but sweet tang, gorgeous deep brown colour and coated the chicken wonderfully. Watching the familiar Fridayrelated merriment outside, my dining companion and I treated ourselves to a bottle of Heineken (£3.90) and a small bottle of their Bok Shop Red Wine (£3.20). I was pleasantly surprised that the red was so silky and easy-drinking for the low price… possibly a dangerous combination!
Surveying the menu for the mains and the burgers seemingly jumped out of the page and immediately into my forethoughts so my decision didn’t take long. At the excellent recommendation of our smiley and cheeky server Sam, my dining companion chose the Classic burger containing thigh fillet, lettuce and lemon kewpie mayo in a brioche bun (£7.50). I was won over by reading ‘satay sauce’ and opted for the eye-catchingly named Satay Night Fever comprising of thigh fillet, crunchy satay sauce, lettuce, chilli jam and fresh cucumber (£8.50). You can’t have chicken without fries, so we got a portion to share (£3) and some Bok Burger Sauce (£1) for more dunking. The chicken burgers arrived with a towering sense of magnificence and wobbled in that fantastically precarious way burgers do when they are full of tasty extras. The Classic Burger was juicy, succulent and had a gloriously lemon finish due to the mayo. The chicken skin which in my mind is unbelievably important to get right was beautifully seasoned and incredibly crunchy. My satay burger was by far my favourite thing of what was a very good meal. The satay sauce which was rich-tasting and plentiful was skilfully complemented by the freshness of the cucumber. The chilli jam was really quite fiery, which was nice as I love punchy flavours and again the chicken was remarkably juicy. The fries were crispy and the burger sauce was tasty and worthy of repeated dipping.
I have to say I was particularly impressed by the menu’s assertion that all of the burgers can be made vegetarian or vegan as they can also construct them with faux chicken, vegan mayo, vegan cheese and sourdough rolls. I’ve come to expect that of many Brighton café’s but not necessarily of a chicken place so hats off. As the dinner came to an end, something had been niggling me the whole meal so I called the ever upbeat Sam over to ask him why it was named The Bok Shop: “Well, what sound does a chicken make? Bok bok bok….” . Feeling a bit silly for not realising that I patted my very content tummy, looked around at the tables of friends laughing and pulling apart chicken wings and left knowing with certainty that I would be back to devour more chicken in the very near future.
By Lucy Hallett
THE BOK SHOP 3-4 East Street, Brighton, BN1 1HL
OPEN: MON-SUN 12AM-11PM
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