CASH only, says Luca, as he pulls the passenger door open and looks right at me prompting a deep fatherly sigh as we scan the street for available money machines.

The aroma of southern, as in side of Glasgow, fried chicken hanging tantalisingly in the air. Cash only in the Time of Covid? Whatever next?

But Cookoo's seems relatively new, occupying the site of a former chip shop, not a hop, skip and jump away from the mighty roundabout of suburbia which is Clarkston Toll. And it was picked for tonight’s tea with all the precision of throwing a dart at a map of the south side of this city.

This being because whilst you and I were sleeping, fried chicken quietly, meekly – disappointingly mildly too but we will come to that – became a thing.

In fact, at least a dozen new chicken places seem to have sprung up almost overnight near me, none with online reviews (if you can ever trust such things) that even slightly explain why chicken is now so hot.

There’s Jailbreak Chicken, Chicken Choice (apparently the home of fried chicken), Chunky Chicken, Chicken Palace, Chicken Hut and that’s before we even get into the spawning peri-peri joints.

This is very, very bad news for the chicken family, of course, and an estimated 65 billion of them every year live short, brutal, ugly lives of complete misery before getting the chop. Not that we’ll be thinking about that as we unpack the generic chicken box and pile fried chicken, peri-peri chicken, chips of predictable mediocrity and chilli poppers on the table.

Of course, the US is to be blame, as usual. Chicken Wars (an actual US headline) currently generate more coverage over there than former presidents and all because, apparently, somewhere called Popeye’s introduced a chicken sandwich and immediately started selling 1000 per store per day forcing the other fast food giants to come crashing in and cashing in.

It’s spread all the way to Scotland with McDonald’s fried chicken sandwich now being a thing that I’ve not only tasted but can say is crunchy, slightly chickeny and served in something yucky they’re claiming is made of bread.

Cookoo's here, then. Full marks for the weirdest name for a fried chicken joint but then I suppose all the obvious ones were already taken.

Full marks for the service, too. Once we have the necessary cash it’s bagged up and out the door in moments.

Full marks, too, for one thing that seems to elude most chicken places: a pretty dry fry. It’s not overly greasy, it is crisp, colours are good – being pale golden – and the meat isn’t noticeably dry.

Okay, we’re not at the currently very-much-in-vogue buttermilk end of the fried chicken market and I’m thinking about the guys at Ox and Finch whose pop-up in Glasgow has been sold-out within moments of those pick-up slots becoming available.

I’ve yet to taste it because the day when I stand by my keyboard at 10am on a busy Monday morning to book fried chicken has not yet arrived.

I can't find anything on Cookoo's website that mentions buttermilk, spicing, where the chicken comes from or anything that makes it different from the chicken joint next door, but the concept of a unique selling point never did catch on in Scottish restaurants.

The chips I’ve already mentioned, the peri-peri chicken is a couple of pieces of chicken slabbered in what tastes a bit like Frank’s hot sauce. Nul points for effort but the fried chicken itself is pleasant enough, if pretty bland.

We puzzle over why the branding on the box is not the same as the restaurant’s and I try and see if it is franchised but eventually give up. Frankly? Who cares?

Overall, Cookoo's puts out okay fried chicken, but nothing for the Colonel to worry about.


Busby Road,



Menu: Fried chicken sandwiched chicken, peri-peri chicken plus fries and yadayada. Nothing mentioned about why it’s special or different. 3/5

Service: Cash only in the time of Covid is always a shock but fast once that was sorted. Staff pleasant on phone too. 3/5

Atmosphere: Hey, it’s a former chip shop now selling the next big thing, comes in a box like a bucket. Zero effort required. 4/5

Price: Perhaps this is their secret selling point as it's very cheap. Ten pieces of chicken wings and fries, too, at under £16. 4/5

Food: The fried chicken may be from a generic recipe but it was crisp, cleanly fried.Coating was completely bland but some people like that. Peri-peri version just slobbery. 5/10