Sometimes all it takes are the simple things in life to make you happy. Take chicken for example. Not the most exotic or exciting of meats, perhaps not the most versatile. But if you get it right, and I mean tip top, it can trump any truffle-sprinkled three courser from an uptown bistro. Simply good, honest food – that’s what your taste buds are crying out for.
In an age where our friend the chicken is often done a disservice by fast food restaurants blending it with crap and reforming it into unnaturally shaped nuggets, we forget the joy that proper chicken can bring. We need to be reminded of its wholesome filling up potential and succulent texture. And that’s what Yard and Coop does. Yard and Coop serves superb chicken.
I couldn’t believe how well established this new restaurant feels – it’s only been open for two weeks but the atmosphere suggests that it’s long been a firm fixture of the Northern Quarter. From the numerous band posters stuck up next to the bar, to the more numerous patrons occupying the tables, this young, independent business is exceeding expectations.
The décor is on point with a farmyard theme running throughout. A large cage in the middle of the floor space showcases bottles of drinks and fairy lights twinkle above chicken coops, making the booth seating a little more private, but not completely separate, from the rest of the restaurant. Chatting to Laura Morris, one of the co-owners, she explains that the interior design has been a real family effort. Her dad made all the wooden tables and her best friend painted the gorgeous fox mural on the wall. Check out that cheeky grin.
And it’s the quirky, little details that are especially pleasing in Yard and Coop. Every bill comes with a handful of sweets from jars on the bar, ranging from mini chocolate eggs, gummy fried eggs and drumstick lollies. How cute is that!
With a menu full of cheeky puns (‘What the cluck?’) the choice of what to eat is simple – either buttermilk fried chicken or the vegetarian choice of halloumi, both of which come in a crunchy breadcrumb batter. Unusually, and rather ingeniously when you think about it, you can choose to eat whichever part of the chicken you like best, be it breast, wings, thighs or drumstick. After that your preferred seasoning and sauce are also offered, so when it comes to an optimal chicken experience they really have thought of everything. Morris tells me that they wanted a British feel to the traditionally American dish, which is why they’ve worked hard on refining their flavours. You can even try a reinvented version of the British 70s classic chicken in a basket.
Aside from the caged drinks to tempt you there is a cracking range of cocktails to indulge in, including pre-prepared bottled cocktails. The Juice Springsteen concoction was so scrummy that I’d happily replace my blood with it (modern medicine permitting).
Serving food till 12.30am, Yard and Coop is the perfect hangout for night owls as well as daytime dwellers. So if you’re hungry after meeting friends for a drink, just about to go out for a tipple, or finishing a late shift at work, remember you don’t need to order a greasy takeaway to sate your chicken desires. There’s a new bird in town.
Where: Edge Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester
When: Monday Closed; Tuesday-Sunday, 12pm-12:30am
More info: www.yardandcoop.com