(ad – pr visit) If you follow me on any social media channel you’ll almost certainly have noted my affection for Clucking Oinks. Way back in 2017 I ran a few street food events at The Fulford Arms, one of which featured fantastic fried chicken from the Clucking team and since then I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy their food many times as they made their name in Spark. A little while ago though they moved into permanent premises on Castlegate while maintaining their presence at Spark and servicing York with a delivery service. Now they’ve found their feet in the new kitchen and adapted it to their requirements the menu has had a refresh which, amongst other things, helps it represent the “oinks” as well as the “clucking”.
The building on Castlegate was previously home to Source but has been transformed with Clucking Oinks York signature bright pink and hip-hop graffiti motifs bold and prominent everywhere. The layout hasn’t changed hugely but it very much feels like home already. The menu features a bunch of the greatest hits from Spark but has allowed the team to bring back a good number of the popular specials on a more permanent basis including one of my favourites, the “Bombay Bad Boy” which features amazing coriander mayo. Another unmissable fried chicken burger is the “Dean Martin” that forces truffle, pancetta, parmesan and hot honey into wonderful harmony. Having settled in and got the measure of the place, it’s now time for a bit of a rethink to broaden the menu and give you even more reasons to call by.
I went along to a preview evening that gave me an improbable amount of food to get through, though of course I made sure to try everything and put the leftovers to use the following day – we don’t waste food in this house! First up was the Bombay Bad Boy with lashings of my favourite coriander mayo and now featuring a beautifully put together onion bhaji for extra indulgence. Next was the “Chippy Tea” burger, a faintly ludicrous concept executed with commendable conviction that puts homemade chips, chip shop curry sauce and pickled onion alongside the signature fried chicken. Yes it works and yes it’s delicious! Last of the burger triumvirate I was presented with was “Number 28” that focussed on char sui pulled pork which was amplified by pickled slaw and given a textural intrigue by the addition of prawn crackers. There’s been a bit of a lack of “oink” on the Clucking Oinks York menu for a while and this brings it back in style, as do the “Number 28” loaded fries that use the same superbly executed pork as a topping along with spring onion. Also among the topped fries are truffle fries that benefit from a generous topping of parmesan to temper the earthiness of the truffle, something I could eat an unhealthy amount of.
I also got to try a few of the sides too such as buffalo wings that were tender and as well executed as everything else on the menu, if a little boldly spiced for my preference. Corn ribs are a relatively new trend and not something I’ve huge experience of yet but the examples here seem like a pretty good place to start, with a kick from sriracha butter to work with the sweetness of the corn as well as coriander and spring onion to add a touch of complexity. Finally there was a hash brown that was, arguably, the highlight of the meal thanks to topping of parmesan custard, parmesan crisp and smoked bacon to turn it into a carbonara of the type that would deeply upset some Italians. No such reservations here though; I’ve been craving another ever since – don’t miss this when you visit.
As I say, the Clucking Oinks York team have been friends for some time so it’s a great personal pleasure to see them spreading their wings and confidently take over their first bricks and mortar with a load of old favourites as well as some inspired, slightly unconventional, new dishes. Clucking marvellous.