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15° & RAINY ON WEDNESDAY 17 JULY IN AUCKLAND
By Josie Steenhart
April 30, 2019
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Free Bird

West Auckland's favourite fried chicken shop finds a new perch on K' Road.
By Josie Steenhart
April 30, 2019
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After spending six months in Massey's NorthWest shopping centre, hip fried chicken shop Free Bird has flown the coop for a new perch on K' Road, and chef/co-owner Sade Hopkins says the move has given them new wings.

"As much as we loved our Massey restaurant, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to move to K' Road. We always hang around here anyway with mates so it just made sense to us, plus Free Bird is way more suited to the K' Road scene. It feels like home, our restaurant was meant to be here."

Free Bird's menu features just a handful of items, with Hopkins and co-owner Kim Workman preferring to keep things simple in order to make an impact with what they do offer. Free-range fried chicken is the focus, and it comes both in burger form and in pieces (quarter, half or full bird), cooked in traditional Southern style with a light, crunchy coating and buttermilk for maximum juiciness. 

Snuggled in a fresh pillowy brioche bun with lashings of garlic aioli (they make all their own sauces on-site), a hit of heat and the right amount of colourful, crunchy slaw, the signature Free Bird burger is their top seller. There are also (grass-fed) beefy burger offerings, plus a moreish-sounding 'shroom' burger for those in the mood for a meat-free option. Those up for some finger-lickin' can get stuck into a basket of free-farmed pork loin ribs slathered in Free Bird's special barbecue sauce.

A decent assortment of sides/snacks are far from a menu afterthought and are as tasty as the main offerings — curly fries, tater tots, hand-cut chips, cauliflower with lemon pepper and chipotle yoghurt (a must-try) and battered pickles — though the addition of something fresh and green might be well-received.

Having just opened a week ago, the space has a slightly unfinished feel and those thirsting for an alcoholic beverage with their bites will instead have to make do with a can of Coke for now, as they're still waiting on a liquor licence. 

However, some insider intel just for Concrete Playground readers: Hopkins says "our mates next to us at Charlie Baxter's bar have come up with the goods, so if you ever feel like a beer to go with your Free Bird meal, head next door and they will hook you up with a cold one and the Free Bird menu."

With its cool, casual but friendly vibe, addictively delicious food and late, late weekend hours, Free Bird is a welcome addition to the K' Road strip.

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