The problem with loving food is that when new things open, I’m constantly on the lookout for friends to drag along with me to try these up and coming establishments. Most of my friends and Night Owl are now reluctant to come out eating with me due to an irrational fear of an expanding waistline; countered with my declaration of ‘everything in moderation; and you only live once!’
One mate who I can rely on thanks to his mostly bottom-less appetite is The Chemist. We met through mutual friends eight or so years ago but have only had regular catch ups over food for the last year; bonding through our mutual love of burgers, antihistamines, and Studio Ghibli. I presented to him a list of the “dirty food” (aka tasty fried burger goodness) places I wanted to visit which my girlfriends were opposed to; and he selected to try Juicy Lucy.
Owned by the guys over at Sugarcane, Juicy Lucy reflects the same flavour profile in the style of a south-east Asian-style shop. The slow-roasted whole chicken sleeps overnight in a brine of cloves, cassia bark, coriander seeds and Sichuan pepper, and is stuffed with garlic rice. Over the course of our Friday night meal here we witnessed many people coming in just to pick up one of these deliciously marinated chickens. Demand was such that people made their orders before wandering off for a period of time, returning when their orders were done. All the chook here is free-range by the way – so the value you get is pretty amazing.
There’s also wraps, filled with rice, Malay chicken, pickles and herbs, and burgers stacked with hunks of fried chicken – and we had our eyes on the prize. I go for a Lil’ Kim with fried chicken, coleslaw, kimchi and Korean barbecue sauce ($16.00 with chips and a drink).
The burger is a handful and a mouthful all-in-one. It’s easy to press-down thanks to the buttery brioche soft bun, and the orange sauce from the kimchi oozes out in a near pornographic display of satisfaction. The (fried) chicken is perfection – a gargantuan thigh fillet where the batter is thin and crisp on the outside and meat is moistly tender.
The crinkle fries are nice and crispy but a little bland after the warm kick of the burger. Sriracha is add-as-you-please here, so dab a little on the side and go for gold.
The Chemist tries the Juicy Lucy with salad, Sriracha and cheese ($16.00 with chips and a drink). It’s less of a messy-affair than mine is, and he enjoys the fried chicken thigh fillet marinade.
We were hungry enough at the start that I wanted to try the Chicken Tenders (five for $8). Tasting the chicken on its own without salad and bread makes you appreciate the lighter-style of fried chicken; it’s a tapioca batter that’s gently seasoned with a salt and pepper spice. As these were chicken tenders they were a little on the dry side in comparison to the burger thigh fillets, but still very tasty. I’d come by just for a box of the tenders for a quick on-the-go fix.
For the health-conscious, there’s a variety of salad sides to choose from to add to your lunchbox. I’m intrigued by the miso eggplant and kale, but am too stuffed with chicken to enquire any further. Let’s face it, you come primarily for the chook and that’s what they are amazing at!
232A Elizabeth Street
Surry Hills NSW
(02) 8540 8726