I guess a month is a bit long to sit on a restaurant review. Consistency around here can be a problem plate to plate, let alone month to month. But after a hectic few weeks of work I just had to get back to our Birdcage photos and give a few thoughts. And they’re not really on the food, so let’s get that out of the way real quick with a particularly nondescript overview…
Things didn’t start well with the ‘munchbread’ (or is it ‘crunchbread’?) which I imagine is made by leaving crostini on a warm, damp window ledge for a few hours. Whatever you do, don’t cover them lest some of the crunch remains. I hope by now someone has told them this is not appetising.
But who’s there for the munchbread?! Time for chicken, chicken and more chicken. The soy garlic blew away the under-seasoned, but well cooked buttermilk variety. The bland curry brochettes bringing up the rear on a rocket salad that really was 100% rocket…
Sides didn’t garner much enthusiasm - wonderful potato salad, good slaw and a flavourless bowl of chipotle beans.
Drinks are delivered as huge, murky jars filled with drab looking leaves - was this the ‘fresh mint’ jar? Flavour was ok, but I wouldn’t bother again.
I actually love the idea of the sambuca ice cream dessert and the implementation was almost there, just needed a healthy glug of sambuca on top to bring out the aniseed flavour.
So there you go, the food was patchy but basically good and surely better now a month a passed. Place itself is great too; on a day like today I’d say sitting out on the terrace downing jam jars and crunching chicken would be one of the best places in the city.
But. And for me this is a pretty big one.
Birdcage is such a blatant and total rip off of Crackbird in Dublin. Not just the fried chicken concept… but… everything. The tin buckets, the menu, the jam jars, the types of drink, the ‘burnt lemon and whipped feta’ dip, the font used, the word ‘brochettes’, bottle openers tied to the table - they’ve taken everything right down to the light fittings.
Is it that hard to imagine a different way to sell chicken? I’ve never seen such a spectacular lack of imagination or brazen ‘borrowing’ of a whole restaurant concept. I don’t really know how much it should matter to a diner, but to me it just feels wrong.
And they haven’t quite perfected the recipes yet - perhaps another research trip down to Dublin, chaps?
Would we go back? We enjoyed the food enough to be dragged back with friends - but you know we’ll be sat there constantly shaking our heads and thinking ‘you cheeky bastards’.