Carina Murphy gets proper dirty at Other Side Fried
All this talk of a third birthday party – can Pop Brixton really still be only a toddler? In its short time it has shot the likes of Kricket, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen and Donostia Social Club to bigger (and better?) things and established a waiting list for the next stars off the sea container block.
Its containers are closer to conventional dining, while the small units downstairs are brilliant for smaller dudie-foodie concessions with menus as tiny as their galley kitchens … places where you can rock up, order your heart’s desire and be scoffing it ten minutes later at a communal table, still clutching change from a tenner.
Other Side Fried is one such gig. With the tagline “Dirty Done Proper”, don’t come here if you don’t like poultry. The stripped down menu is essentially chicken three ways, but not in the “fine dining” sense. No sirree.
In your bun, you can have Honey Butter – smoked butter with your fried chicken, bacon and lettuce; Buffalo with hot sauce, ranch sauce and pickles; or the signature OSF with brown butter, parmesan and garlic. The chips are also good for the indecisive – Cajun with rosemary salt or dirty fries with bacon, parmesan and ranch sauce. Less is more when an upper-level container is considered an expansive space and kitchen. Small kitchen, big food.
Dirty chicken is a pretty common entity in these parts, so if you don’t do it well, as any Masterchef judge will bellow, there’s truly nowhere to hide.
Luckily, Other Side Fried knows its stuff and it’s pretty impressive. The chicken is cooked in buttermilk to a closely guarded recipe (of course). It’s tender and juicy and the buns are soft and not too sweet or squidgy.
The OSF is our favourite – with a good salty kick from the Parmesan. The Cajun fries are a bit soggy and we’re mildly temporarily outraged they’re all out of beer on a hot Friday lunchtime. But hey, we’re embracing the laidback vibe and the very good Brixton Port Authority with its craft ales and small batch spirits is mere steps away.
OSF was set up by two local lads, Tommy and Matt, who cheffed together at Lamberts in Balham many moons ago and took it upon themselves to eat their way round all future competitors, cooking their own variations of dirty fried chicken as they went until they hit upon their own recipe.
In 2016 they started selling it out of the back of an ambulance at the Kerb street food festivals before opening their first site in Pop Brixton, wing to jowl with the likes of Koi Ramen and Made of Dough.
Space may preclude this. but we’re wondering if they will add stuff like strips, fried celeriac, buffalo wings and tings (sorry) that you can find at their other outposts. But assuming you’re of a carnivorous bent, the original’s a pretty fine relative old-timer in Pop’s downstairs dirty eating scene.
Pop Brixton, SW9 8PQ (lower level) | othersidefried.com |@othersidefried