There quite often comes a time when we want to indulge in our favourite comfort foods, in a relaxed (yet welcoming) setting. Yes, fast food joints and chains are lovely – but they’re a bit too busy and bustling and they don’t really feel very special. You often feel a part of the ‘process’ rather than a valued customer and it can leave the whole experience of indulging in a cheat meal, a little sour. It’s all over too soon and a bit disappointing.
So, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect go-between. The place you can step inside and feel relaxed and treated, but without any of the fancy stuff associated with fine dining. The happy medium.
And if you live in the South West, you’re in luck – because I’ve found just the place, and it’s situated in Poole (with branches also in Bournemouth and Winton). Introducing… Chicken & Blues.
With cosy wooden interiors and a real homely feel (your waitress introduces herself at the start of the evening), it’s somewhere you can settle into – without feeling like they want to get you ‘in and out’ as soon as humanly possible. The rooms are broken up into smaller areas, so it never feels too busy or crowded – even on a popular Friday evening – and the walls are adorned with chickens, spice jars and quirky knick knacks, creating a setting that most new ‘hip’ London joints try hard to replicate.
The menu follows much the same format – with simple, but comforting offerings (chicken happens to be the main focus – clue is in the name I suppose). For dairy-free diners like me, there’s lots of choice available (with a few minor tweaks – which they were happy to accommodate) and so we set about ordering up a storm.
Starter wise, we opted for the beer battered onion rings and the nachos – with an assortment of dips. The salsa is DF friendly, so I dutifully tucked into that – although the melted cheese dip did look pretty incredible.
As always, our eyes were far bigger than our stomachs and so we ordered a little too much. However, this gave us the option to dip and out of our favourite dishes – something I’d actually recommend trying as it means you don’t get ‘bored’ of ‘just chicken’. Mind you, their BBQ-ed chicken is out-of-this-world incredible, so it’s unlikely to bore your tastebuds. I wish I could re-create the flavours. Perfectly charcoaled with a herby, smokey skin.
We also opted for the chicken wrap, which had been grilled on the outside and was again – incredible. The chicken pieces were tender (and very generous), teamed with crispy lettuce and an assortment of sauces.
Sweet potato fries (my favourite) were also on the agenda. A massive serving of crunchy sweet and soft fries.
We flitted between all the above for about half an hour, before finally admitting defeat. It really was comfort food at its very best, without that horrid guilty greasy aftertaste that so many fast food equivalents provide. All of our choices were very reasonably priced – the starters £2-£3 and mains ranging in price (£11 being the most expensive) – and I’d say it’s far better quality, taste and value. Nandos for example is much more expensive – and here, you get better service, more for your money and incredible flavours. I might be biased (as I’m now their new biggest fan) but if you’re local to the area, I’d definitely drop in and treat yourself. I don’t know about you but comfort food is what gets me through these winter months!
73-75 Commercial Road
Poole, BH14 0JB
Do you have any favourite ‘comfort food’ restaurants? What do you think of Chicken & Blues?