Fellow coeliacs will understand the constant sorrow of scanning a menu for gluten-filled fried things that might contaminate the deep fat frier, placing the chips/fries out of reach. And you wouldn’t normally be wrong to think that fried chicken would be one of those gluten-filled items. And then you would come to London and discover Bird. Where the chicken is coated in gluten free flour and the chips are available to all.
I first discovered Bird on a Gluten Free Gathering last year, a great event which combined awesome chicken with awesome people. One of the founders of Bird also spoke to us, and told us about how Bird had come to be. It turns out that the chicken at Bird is accidentally gluten free. When trying chicken recipes the coating that worked the best was a mixture of corn and rice flour, so it was what was used. Luckily for coeliacs and gluten free people this makes it safe for us. Keeping my fingers crossed that more fried chicken places start using this batter mixture too. Fried chicken for all!
The staff are always helpful in pointing out what is gluten free, and what can be made gluten free. Unfortunately the burgers and donuts are not, but all the pieces of chicken (wings and fried) and most of the sauces/dips are. And almost all of the sides are coeliac-friendly too. While the burgers do sounds tasty, I’m really there for the fried chicken anyway. Make sure to ask each time about the sauces and sides, as they do sometimes change the menu. But the only gasto-intestinal problems I’ve ever had after Bird have been related to the large amounts of fried chicken and tasty cocktails I’ve ingested, rather than a glutening. They also now state that the chicken is gluten free on their menus, which they stopped doing for a while, which I personally always find comforting. They even had gluten free beer as the special last time I was there.
There are now four Birds around London, including at the Westfield Stratford (for when you really need a post-shopping treat). I’ve only ever been to the Shoreditch branch, but hope to try some of the others soon.