I adore food that brings back memories, and takes you right back to another time and place. Just like when you smell a certain smell or hear a certain record. Bringing you right back to when you first had it, or your favourite times enjoying it. My latest review is like that, as I review a fine interpretation of American cuisine.
American cuisine is wide and varied. Thanks to the melting pot of cultures that makes up America. BBQ, Tex Mex, Creole and Cajun sits alongside dishes like hamburgers, hotdogs, deep pan pizza and fried chicken. With certain states having their own unique dish like grits. Or their own version of dishes like Fried Chicken. Which is the food I will be reviewing this week.
Fried Chicken memories
The first time I can remember having fried chicken was in the early 1980’s. I was living in Cairo with my family as my father was working there at the time. Most Fridays we used to go to a restaurant in a hotel right by the pyramids. I used to have fried chicken and chips and I had the most spectacular view as I ate. We always managed to get a seat by the window, giving us panoramic views of the pyramids.
Back in the summer of 1985, was the first time I recall having fast food fried chicken. My father was working in Japan and we flew out to join him. We visited Hiroshima which was 2 hours by bullet train from where we were staying. After visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, we ate in KFC and I can remember it vividly. Men at Work’s classic hit Down Under was playing just as we started tucking into our meals.
The second time I can remember having fast food fried chicken was in the summer of 1993 in Mexico. My father was working there and I flew out to spend part of my summer there. Near where we lived was an American fast food fried chicken restaurant named Popeyes, which was different to KFC. Popeyes started in New Orleans in the early 1970’s offering a Cajun take on fried chicken. One of the main spices used in their chicken and French fries is paprika. This gave Popeyes chicken and French fries a slight spicy kick.
This week’s restaurant is?
You will have noticed that I will be reviewing a fast food fried chicken restaurant. Tender Hooks a new pop-up chicken tender joint from the guys behind Eddie Rockets. They have various branches in Dublin, operating out of various Eddie Rockets restaurants, including one near me in the IFSC.
Whilst looking online for restaurants to review. Tender Hooks popped up and I was intrigued. Having had chicken tenders in various places in Ireland, none of them of them were memorable. Whilst tasty, my tastebuds were not craving to have them again. The various restaurants, bars and hotels had not managed to accurately create an American southern friend chicken tender. Don’t get me wrong they were tasty as an Irish facsimile. Naturally, I wanted to be able to close my eyes, eat a tender and feel like I was eating genuine American cuisine.
What did I order?
Opening up the Just Eat app on my phone I navigated to Tender Hooks, Knowing what I wanted, it did not take me long to order. I ended up ordering 6 tenders and 2 dips, with a choice of sides and a drink. The 2 dips I chose were BBQ dip and southern style gravy. Crinkle cut fries was my side, and my drink was coca-cola classic. The other dips were creamy garlic, Blue cheese, meltdown, hot AF (as fire) and chipuffalo. The other side on offer was Tator tots.
How was my Meal.
It arrived well packaged as you can see below and there was no way any of the dips could leak.
As I already mentioned food brings back memories and these chicken tenders brought me back to the first time I had Popeyes chicken in Mexico. Leaving me with a big grin on my face, and why this was not the first time I had ordered from Tender Hooks. It felt good to be back in familiar territory, somewhere I had not been for ages.
The seasoning used on the tenders, showed that Tender Hooks had done their research. Bringing back a bit of America to Ireland, reminding me of Popeyes.
The crinkle cut fries tasted great and were a perfect match for the chicken tenders. They were not at all greasy. As for the dips, they perfectly complimented the tenders and the fries. The BBQ dip tasted like a BBQ dip should and not too spicy. The southern style gravy dip did not taste like a copy of KFC’s gravy. It tasted like a proper unique take of an American classic dip.
Having ordered from Tender Hooks a few times, I will be ordering from them again. Any restaurant that can produce food that would not sit out of place in America is a plus. As is a restaurant that can bring back memories, and as Dean Martin memorably said, Memories are made of this.
What did my meal cost?
The 6 tenders cost €12.95. With a service charge of €0.50, and a delivery fee of €2.99. The final bill came to €16.44.
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