Sides is one of the hottest new restaurant brands to emerge on the London food scene in 2023. The brainchild of massively popular YouTube troupe Sidemen, Sides combines the creators’ passion for food with their innate social media savvy. With several locations across London, Sides is serving up fried chicken, burgers, wings and more for delivery or pickup. Customers are loving the tasty menu and social media buzz around this inventive YouTube-spawned restaurant concept.
But for many potential customers, especially Muslims, an important question looms about Sides – is it halal?
Halal refers to food that complies with Islamic dietary guidelines as prescribed in the Quran. For meat to be considered halal, there are specific slaughtering and preparation methods that must be followed. Pork and certain other types of meat are also prohibited under halal guidelines. For observant Muslims who eat only halal foods, the halal status of any restaurant is critical information that determines whether they can dine there.
In this comprehensive article, we will examine everything you need to know about the halal status of Sides. We will explain what the term halal really means under Islamic law, look at Sides’ policies and procedures regarding halal food preparation, evaluate the halal compliance of specific menu offerings, and provide tips for Muslim patrons looking to dine halal at this cutting-edge new London eatery.
Understanding Halal Food in Islam
The Arabic word halal simply means “permissible” within Islamic law. In the context of food, for meat to be considered halal for Muslims, there are specific guidelines around how the animal must be slaughtered and prepped:
- The animal must be killed by a Muslim who recites a prayer to Allah as they slaughter it.
- The animal must be slaughtered by hand using a sharp knife for a swift kill.
- The animal must be slaughtered while oriented facing Mecca.
- The animal must be alive and healthy before slaughter. Meat from already dead animals is not halal.
- Pork, carnivorous animals, monkeys, or certain other types of creatures are never permissible as halal meat options.
- Blood must be completely drained from the meat after slaughter.
In addition to guidelines around meat, any food or drink that contains alcohol would be prohibited under halal diet standards.
Fish and vegetarian dishes are generally acceptable as halal, provided they do not contain any forbidden ingredients. Being that Islamic halal guidelines originate in the Quran itself, following these food rules is an important aspect of practicing the Muslim faith for many adherents worldwide.
To display compliance with halal protocols and cater to Muslim patrons, restaurants can pursue halal certification. This involves having facilities and preparation procedures inspected by halal certification organizations. Receiving certification demonstrates a commitment to properly accommodating halal diners. Given the importance placed on eating only certified halal foods for many Muslims, such certification is almost mandatory for restaurants wishing to attract devout Muslim customers in markets with large Muslim populations.
Does Sides Have Halal Certification?
As a newly founded London restaurant brand, Sides does not yet have official halal certification. However, the owners have indicated that they source confirmed halal chicken and are looking into obtaining halal certification in the near future.
According to statements made by Sides management, all of the chicken offerings on their menu are slaughtered and prepared per halal guidelines. However, since their kitchens are not dedicated halal environments, they have opted not to pursue full certification quite yet. But they state that they hope to gain halal certification soon, which would allow them to fully assure Muslim consumers of complete halal compliance.
The fact that Sides does not have halal certification likely deters some devout Muslim diners who exclusively eat certified food. The owners acknowledge that pursuing certification is important for appealing to the sizable Muslim demographic in London and show every sign of working to achieve it.
As a newly launched brand, Sides’ lack of certification seems to stem more from logistical hurdles as a young company rather than any unwillingness to cater to halal diners. Their public statements indicate that they are absolutely willing to go through certification once they overcome initial growing pains as a fledgling restaurant group.
Which Menu Items are Halal at Sides?
Without current halal certification, Muslim consumers may be wondering what food options at Sides actually qualify as halal. While the menu cannot be considered entirely halal until certified, many individual dishes do appear to meet halal standards based on their listed ingredients and preparation.
Let’s analyze some of the most popular offerings at Sides and their likelihood of being halal compliant for Muslim patrons looking to dine at this breakout restaurant sensation:
Halal Salads, Sides and Snacks
As vegetarian offerings, menu items like the Side Salad, Coleslaw, Corn on the Cob, Masala Fries, and Rice would almost certainly qualify as halal. Vegetables, grains and dishes made without any haram ingredients are generally permissible. Sides’ Crispy Fried Veggie Burger should also fall into this halal-friendly category.
Halal Meat Dishes
According to Sides, all of their chicken is slaughtered halal. This means menu items like Wings, Popcorn Chicken, Chicken Strips, Chicken Fillet Burgers and any dishes featuring chicken should comply with halal standards. As beef and lamb are also halal meats, menu items like the Steak Burger and Lamb Kebab Sandwich are likely acceptable provided they do not contain added haram ingredients.
Halal Seafood Options
Sides offers both Popcorn Shrimp and Fried Haddock Fillets. All seafood is considered inherently halal except certain prohibited types like crocodiles, frogs, and octopus. So provided they do not mix in non-halal additives, Sides’ fish and shrimp offerings should qualify as halal.
Sauces and Dips
Many dipping sauces like BBQ Sauce, Ketchup, Mayonnaise and Salsa are halal. However, some creamy sauces may contain dairy, egg or alcohol-based ingredients. The Spicy Mayo contains garlic, which some interpret as haram. For maximum halal compliance, it may be best to avoid sauces or ask staff to confirm ingredients.
How to Keep Halal when Ordering at Sides
Even without full certification, Muslims still have options for eating halal at Sides by following some basic guidelines:
- Ask staff about chicken sourcing and preparation to confirm halal status
- Avoid menu items with bacon like bacon cheeseburgers
- Hold sauces and condiments or request halal-friendly versions
- Opt for fried chicken, wings, fish or vegetable sides and snacks
- Choose menu items that seem least likely to contain haram ingredients
- Modify burgers or sandwiches to remove bacon and non-halal sauces
Educated ordering choices make eating halal very possible at Sides. Staff are likely happy to provide details on ingredients and preparation methods to accommodate Muslim diners seeking halal meals.
The Future of Halal Certification at Sides
Though not certified yet, Sides clearly expresses a willingness to pursue halal certification in the future. As a start-up restaurant group, they likely need a bit more time to implement full halal protocols across their entire supply chain and kitchen facilities.
But as Sides continues expanding in the diverse London market, earning halal certification could certainly help them connect with England’s large Muslim minority population. Having halal certification will allow Sides to fully assure observant Muslim consumers that all menu options meet strict Islamic dietary standards.
For a forward-thinking, inclusive brand like Sides, becoming London’s hottest new halal-certified restaurant seems like a logical next step. Offering halal certification will demonstrate their respect for Islamic traditions and bring their menu to even more communities across England’s multicultural capital.
The Verdict on Eating Halal at Sides
While Sides cannot yet guarantee an entirely halal dining experience, many menu items do appear to meet halal standards for Muslim patrons wishing to give this red-hot London sensation a try. By sticking to chicken, vegetarian and fish options while avoiding sauces and pork-based offerings, eating halal at Sides is very possible.
For Muslims enticed by the social media allure but uncertain about the halal status, inquiring with staff shows Sides’ willingness to accommodate halal diners despite current lack of certification. There are certainly menu options at Sides that conform to even strict halal guidelines. While Sides continues working to offer full certification in the future, educated ordering choices allow Muslim foodies to sample this scorching new restaurant brand launched in F2’s backyard.
Frequently Asked Questions – Is Sides Halal
What are Sides in the context of Halal food?
Sides in the context of halal food are typically the additional dishes served alongside the main course, such as rice, salad, onion rings, and more.
Is Sides Halal food
Sides are considered halal if they are prepared, cooked, and served in accordance with Islamic dietary laws.
Do Sides include chicken or other meats?
Sides can include chicken or other meats, so it’s important to ensure that the meat is also prepared according to halal standards.
What are some popular Sides that are halal-friendly?
Popular halal-friendly sides include fried chicken, onion rings, cheese, and various salad options.
Can I find halal Sides in restaurants across London?
Yes, many restaurants across London offer a selection of halal sides on their menu.
Where can I get halal Sides in London?
You can find halal sides at various restaurants and food outlets across London, some of which are available for delivery through platforms like Deliveroo.
Is Sides a halal-friendly option for vegans?
Yes, sides often include options that are suitable for vegans, such as rice, salad, and other vegetable-based dishes.