By Goya Verity
Ladies and gentlemen: nkdBIRD. This is Durham’s new quintessential fast-food restaurant on Saddler Street to satisfy all your buttermilk fried chicken needs. But, if, like me, you associate fast food with nothing more than a rare way to finish a night out, let nkdBIRD change your mind!
The concept of dine-in fast food definitely feels novel for Durham. The restaurant’s social media advertises it as ‘[striving] to recreate the energy and community of street food.’ Excited to finally dine in after hearing all about the current Durham food hype, I went to see what I made of this tasty rumour.
At first glance, the location is incredibly central and convenient. Its minimalistic, wooden table layout is youthful, perhaps even cosy, making it suitable for the Durham student population. However, the atmosphere was lacking, though this could have been due to the timing of our late lunch.
The combination of classic and adventurous food choices seemed promising due to the variety of different possibilities for eating chicken. Among the succulent sight of burgers on the menu, I opted for the ‘Korean-pop’ chicken burger at the waitress’ recommendation. The menu also features ‘individual’ and ‘shared’ meal deals, including any burger or main with skin-on fries, several chicken wings, and your drink of choice for £9.99 and £19.99. So far, it appeared to be a reasonable set-up and cost for fast-food quality.
The delivery was rapid, but perhaps too fast as cold chips are noone’s best friend. I might add that when I mentioned this to my friends who go there often, they were surprised, saying that they had never had this problem before. The drink can was also served without a glass of ice, and I was disappointed by this lack of detail. Moreover, the additional side of wings was nothing to write home about. However, the ‘Korean-pop’ chicken burger was crunchy and flavoursome with a unique combination of sauces and cabbage, creating a tantalising taste experience. The chicken tenders tasted precisely how they were advertised — tender.
Numerous take-away riders and delivery services were frequenting the restaurant during my meal. In my experience, nkdBIRD seems more popular as a take-out than a sit-in restaurant, despite having many options for seating spaces on their terrace and indoor seating.
nkdBIRD can be found on Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and Just Eat apps, making it the preferable fast-food option on these sites for Durham. Had I eaten my chicken burger or wings as a fast-food delivery order, I think I would have enjoyed it more. For someone who does not usually eat fast food, I was perhaps confused why people would opt to dine-in for this. I was expecting something more gourmet given that it has more of an appearance of being a restaurant. In essence, nkdBIRD is another fast-food spot in Durham which stands out from the others for its simple and scrumptious menu, plus the additional ambient dine-in option open throughout the day for lunch and supper. nkdBIRD is run by the same management as Paddy’s and the Greek Guy, so expect something of the same ilk.
The word on the street is that this is one of Durham’s best restaurants. Unfortunately, the old saying that ‘expectations always lead to disappointment’ was the case in my experience. However, if you acknowledge nkdBIRD for what it is, a more official and enjoyable way to eat fast food, I recommend getting involved in Durham’s new food scene.
Image credit: Nia Kile