What's the draw
The fried chicken renaissance is in full swing, and a couple of years after the first bird slingers starting moving into bricks-and-mortar restaurants, there's been an aftershock that's seen more than a few talented traders do the same in 2019. Soho remains the epicentre, and Coqfighter's new joint is plum in the thick of it: a small but perfectly formed restaurant on, of all places, Beak Street. It serves the pan-Asian-inspired fried chicken its street-food stalls have been so loved for, with a few new menu additions, too.
What to drink
Whatever the restaurant, an aperitif before dinner is always a good idea, so with that in mind we'd suggest kicking things off with the Szechuan Negroni – a classic negroni with the addition of a zingy and palate-tingling Szechuan-infused bitter misted over the cocktail. With mains, you can't go wrong with Fourpure's session IPA – with enough bite and citrus top-notes to cut through the richness and heat of the chicken.
What to eat
The menu here is small, and that's not a criticism: it means each burger is distinctive, and food envy is minimal. Flavours of Korea and Japan run through it, if only subtly. For mains, we had the Honey Ginger Buffalo, a slightly sweeter, homemade variant of the classic buffalo wing sauce with honey and ginger (obviously) that had smoked garlic taking the place of blue cheese in the mayo and house pickles nuzzling up against crisp iceberg lettuce for texture. Options for veggies and vegans are great, too: the vegan burger (comprised of a seitan-based faux-chicken fillet) comes with a buffalo variant made with umeboshi – Japanese fermented plum – and jalapeño mayo alongside a slaw, made with peppery daikon radish, that acted as a respite from the indulgence. Creamed corn is topped with salty, stretchy melted cheese while deep-fried wings sing with honey, soy and sesame, served alongside a brush to slather on more of the marinade. It's a diversity of flavours that extend far beyond what its compact menu would suggest, and a convincing argument for sticking to what you're good at – or, in this case, what you're really, really good at.
Mains from £9; sides from £3. 75 Beak Street, W1F 9SS; coqfighter.com