HAVE you ever tasted something so intensely delicious that you are lost for words?

It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it's a force like no other.

There's that sweet combination of pleasure and surprise - but it can also lead you to question your own sanity.

Can something made by a human really hit all those perfect marks in your mouth? It's like magic, or alchemy - totally out of this world.

Well, this has just happened to me. And you don't have to take my word for it alone - you can take my husband's too.

In fact, we're both still looking at each other in wonder at What Just Happened.

We've been lucky enough to dine at some very swanky places, including Michelin-stared restaurants such as Raymond Blanc's legendary Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, in Oxfordshire.

But rarely have we had anything as insanely good as our chicken burgers from York street food specialists Clucking Oinks who have just spread their wings from Spark and opened a second outlet in Castlegate (where vegan specialists Source used to be).

York Press: The new Clucking Oinks in Castlegate, YorkThe new Clucking Oinks in Castlegate, York (Image: Maxine Gordon)

The business is fronted by chef Mike Brand and wife Rachel, who is heading up the front of house.

Clucking Oinks - which specialises in fried chicken, fries and home-made dips - first made a name for itself in York when it opened at Spark in 2018, having begun as a street food vendor. The business remains at the Piccadilly container site, and is the last of the original traders to still have a presence there.

I'll confess I am not a fan of fried chicken. Or to be more accurate, it is not something that I go out of my way to order or eat.

But I was more than happy to accept Mike and Rachel's offer to try out the new restaurant and share my thoughts in a review.

My husband and I popped in last Friday night just after 7.30pm. It was very quiet, but apparently the place had been pretty full just before we arrived.

Staff were genuinely friendly and delivered the right amount of attention, so you felt you were having your needs anticipated and met. It was a lovely summer's evening so we ordered an Aperol Spritz (£9) each and studied the menu.

That didn't take long (always a plus in my book) - the menu consists of 10 burgers, five wings, five fries, chicken strips, three sides, and a range of dips including confit garlic mayo, Asian bbq sauce, coronation mayo and vegan wasabi mayo.

There are three dishes for 'little clucks: - chicken burger, vegan burger or chicken tenders at at £6.50, so definitely a place for all the family.


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The interior is fun and welcoming, with the walls covered in the distinctive branding of the business: dramatic black gothic lettering against a fuchsia pink background. Striking for sure.

And fun is evident in the menu too: burgers all have their own names: Rodeo (with American cheese sauce, BBQ sauce and smokey bacon); The Royal (with coronation mayo), and Nashville Hot (with chilli oil and chilli spice mix).

Despite this being a fried chicken joint, there are non-meat options too: burgers made with vegan chicken and deep fried halloumi, and on the chicken wings menu there is a version made with cauliflower.

If reading all of the above doesn't make you feel hungry, I'm not sure what will.

So let's get stuck into the food.

York Press: Tasty choices at Clucking Oinks in CastlegateTasty choices at Clucking Oinks in Castlegate (Image: Maxine Gordon)

We ordered a burger each: the Dean Martin (£12) for me (on the recommendation of our waiter) and the Bombay Bad Boy (£11) for my other half.

The DM was listed as having buttermilk fried chicken with truffle mayo, hot honey, grated Parmesan and crispy prosciutto.

The BBB had the chicken with curry sauce, coriander mayo and Bombay Mix.

Both were served on toasted brioche buns.

We also ordered confit garlic fries (£6.50), the Teriyaki cauliflower wings (£8), and the bang bang house salad (£6.50) a fruity concoction of cucumbers watermelon and apple.

The burgers were monsters: the toasted brioche gaping open like a dragon's mouth revealing layers of chunky, coated chicken inside.

Knives and forks were provided, but we just dived in using our hands. And that first bite - well it was just heavenly. There was the soft sweetness of the light bun, then the satisfying crunch of the golden chicken which gave way to the most tender meat, and then waves of earthy umami-ness from the truffle and Parmesan. I caught some sweetness too from the honey - oh, and the cherry on the cake were the strips of well-done pancetta, like the best crispy bacon from an excellent butty.

My husband's silence matched my own as he devoured his Bombay Bad Boy. The chicken was equally tender, and he loved the gently heat from the curry sauce and the crispy surprise of the Bombay Mix.

Ten out of ten. Could not be faulted - were our verdicts.

The fries were good too - with the garlicky sauce soaking into the top of the pile to make them slightly squidgy.

If chicken ain't your thing, we can recommend the cauliflower wings, which amounted to generous-sized florets which had been fried and topped with a tangy Teriyaki coating, finished with a nutty flourish of sesame seeds.

The salad was an unnecessary addition - it provided a fruity coolness, but was a dish too far for us.

Our order was hugely filling, and next time, we would plump for just a burger each and fries to share.

It goes without saying, this is not healthy food - but if you are looking for a blow out, a treat, or something just ridiculously tasty, get yourself a date with Dean Martin sometime soon.