Fried chicken fans rejoice. Belles Hot Chicken has landed in Sydney. This Melbourne favourite has finally opened a Sydney offshoot, opening up in the Wulugul Pop-Up at Barangaroo. Although the Wulugul Pop-Up doesn't officially open until November 25, Belles, Mamak and bar Gin & It are all up and running in soft launch mode.
The Wulugul Pop-Up is a temporary space for casual outdoor dining that will run until August 2016. It means Belles will be based here for nine months while owner and head chef Morgan McGlone scouts a permanent site in Sydney.
Belles Hot Chicken menu
The menu yields plenty of options, not just their famed fried chicken, but fried oysters, chicken ribs with peach bbq sauce and a chicken sandwich with iceberg and their intriguing Good-Good sauce. And while they're missing a liquor licence, there's an impressive range of drinks including kombucha, house made sweet tea and house made cardamom lemonade.
Oh hai Morgan McGlone
Belles might be in soft launch stage, but McGlone is on-site and running a tight ship - and still has time to ham it up for the camera.
Adding chilli to the fried chicken
The open view into the tiny kitchen means you can watch staff go through every step required to get your meal from the docket and onto the pass. Marinated chicken is dusted in flour, dropped in the deep fryer until golden and then tossed with sauce and as much chilli powder as you can handle, from the mild "Southern style" and then four incremental stages of pain until you reach "Really F**kin Hot".
Building our Baller Bucket
We go for the Baller Bucket. Because we can. Three gals can polish off 16 wings easy, right?
Crinkle cut fries
The Baller Bucket ($60) comes with four sides plus three sauces. McGlone throws in all four sauces for us with a grin.
Dinner for three: Baller Bucket of 16 wings, 4 sides and sauces $60
Has there ever been a more majestic sight involving fried chicken than this?
Hot wings with pickles
We go with half hot and half really hot levels of heat with our wings. This picture doesn't really do it justice, but these wings are giant-sized, about twice the size of ones you'd find on your average chook. "They're pterodactyl wings!" says McGlone. We're expecting he'll be sourcing slightly smaller wings before he goes broke.
Coleslaw and mixed pickles
They're out of the broccoli and almond salad by the time we arrive, so we get one of everything else. The coleslaw is satisfyingly crunchy, smothered in a creamy dressing that has the right amount of zing.
The mixed pickles are a treat, a tumble of brined pickles, chilli, cauliflower, carrots and sweetcorn.
Old Bay fries
Crinkle cut fries are dusted generously with Old Bay spice. They're also worth dipping into the conga line of sauces. We alternate between Mississippi Comeback sauce, Belle's ranch dressing, Belle's blue cheese dressing and the house made ketchup.
Almost Arnold's Beans
Almost Arnold's Beans are super tasty, green beans cooked with smoked pork hocks so they take on a porky smokiness. Finding bits of soft and fatty pork are a bonus.
Hot and really hot wings
And then there's the chicken. The first couple out of the bucket will threaten to burn your fingers. They're so blistering hot you know you should wait until they cool, but that tantalising smell is far too good to resist. The fried chicken is less about batter and more about a thin armour of crisp skin. The meat itself is, yes, oh so juicy, with flesh that comes clean off the bone.
The snowstorm of chilli pepper will stain your fingers within seconds so make sure you grab a stack of wet wipes from the counter. They have cutlery too, but fried chicken is all about getting messy, right? Go all out. There's a public bathroom two doors down from Belles - super chic with monochrome tones and matte black fittings.
Vegetarians don't miss out on all the fun either, with fried mushrooms in place of chicken. In the coming week, they'll be adding mac n cheese to the menu too.
And no, three gals cannot finish a Baller Bucket but fried chicken for breakfast sounds like a win-win to me.
Belles Hot Chicken
Wulugul Pop Up, Wulugul Walk, Barangaroo South, Sydney
(just north of the northern end of King St Wharf,
alongside the water in front of Tower Three)
Monday to Thursday 11am-10pm
Friday and Saturday 11am-11pm
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Belles Hot Chicken, Melbourne
American fried chicken - Hartsyard, Newtown
American fried chicken - Papi Chulo, Manly
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11/22/2015 04:11:00 a.m.