Pushing my way past a horde of tourists frozen by the light of their mobile phones, I squeeze my way into the market’s West Yard. Thanks to the addition of hip eating joints like Bird, Honest Burgers and Chin Chin Labs (and the disappearance of Bang Bang Chicken) the Camden Market food map has changed pretty dramatically over the past few years. Competition, it seems, has never been so tough – which is great news for new-age food-loving nutcases with smartphones… like me.
The West Yard looks more or less the same, only now, 34 hand-picked stalls proudly display their “We’re with KERB” signs. And at first glance, it seems like it’s all the tastiest, most dynamic and creative-sounding traders that have signed up; like bagel kings Ghetto Grillz, beef bourguignon and melted cheese burger junkies The Patate, Club Mexicana and the Louisiana Chilli Shack.
But straight away I spot a few people carrying trays of Mother Clucker chicken strips – another Instagram account I’ve been meaning to experience in the real world. That striped mayo swirl is unmistakable. Still, I check out my options and almost get distracted by Baba G’s Bhangra Burgers. Then I catch sight of Mother Clucker and it’s all over.
The menu’s limited to chicken strips and Cajun fries, but when I see the tattooed, black-gloved dude at the back tossing fries in Cajun spices and adjusting his fry timers with such flair and gusto, I’m sold. He asks what sauces I’d like, lime mayo or pepper sauce. “Can I try a bit of both, please?” I ask. He nods with approval and decorates my chicken and fries with white and red stripes.
Once I’ve eluded the vape cloud-bellowing masses I dig in. The “tea-brined, buttermilk-soaked, twice-battered” coating is crunchy, rich and delicious. Yet somehow, it’s also fresh and light, without that unwanted oily residue you might find in pre-KERB Camden Market chicken strips. The Cajun fries are great too – a far cry from the pre-packaged frozen fries being served nearby. And that lime mayo! Camden, you’ve KERBed my enthusiasm. And you’d better believe I’ll be back…