From the publicity literature it’s difficult to work out whether Absurd Bird is a fast-food joint or a restaurant. You’ll not gain too much insight from their website, it’s decorated with wacky images of cartoon chickens which are a tad misleading. A visit to this recently opened eaterie tucked away on a busy corner of Commercial Street, Aldgate reveals a surprisingly refined touch.
Although, no doubt, reaching out to the fun crowd and family groups, its décor nods at the ‘money crowd’ – the City types within a mile radius who seek something sophisticated yet chilled out for lunch or after work. An eaterie without the drum roll of a traditional restaurant. The red pillared dining area’s wooden flooring is dotted in crate lettering and the background music is a sultry, inoffensive mixture of bluegrass, jazz and rhythm and blues. A quick glance around will reveal the Absurd Bird theme resonates everywhere, even the lights are covered in birdcages. This carefully selected and balanced ambience reminds one of the American South somehow.
You’ll notice there’s an awful lot of chicken on the menu. But all things considered that shouldn’t be a surprise! The extensive choice of starters compliments this chicken theme well. Their spinach and artichoke dip with fried tortilla chips is priced at a reasonable £4.80. With a glass of their ‘Absurd Red’ house wine it proved an adequate appetizer before the main and I was delighted to see healthy items like this on the menu.
However, the one quarter Grilled Chicken did not live up to expectations considering the fanfare chicken theme. It’s fair to say this is more sophisticated cuisine than Kentucky Fried Chicken but if you’re comparing meals rather than classy décor, Nandos is in with a shout. Don’t go expecting a groundbreaking, tender morselled Southern American chicken dish that has you rushing off to Google the secret ingredients. In truth my fork wrestled with the meat a bit. Your eating utensils shouldn’t need to do that much work, not at that price. £6.50 worth of grilled chicken? I’d say no, but this midweek late lunch was a pleasant dining experience and the meals were prepared and served with consumer-care in mind. It also offered an interesting new challenge to the chicken eaterie market currently dominated by either fast food outlets or Nandos.