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FOOD & DRINK

Where to Find the Best Fried Chicken in Melbourne

Fried chicken is basically a food group in itself — and at these ten top chook spots, you can have it waffles for breakfast, in a burger for lunch or sticky and sweet for dinner.
By Libby Curran
November 20, 2019
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Where to Find the Best Fried Chicken in Melbourne

Fried chicken is basically a food group in itself — and at these ten top chook spots, you can have it waffles for breakfast, in a burger for lunch or sticky and sweet for dinner.
By Libby Curran
November 20, 2019
  shares

WHERE TO FIND THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN IN MELBOURNE

Fried chicken is basically a food group in itself — and at these ten top chook spots, you can have it waffles for breakfast, in a burger for lunch or sticky and sweet for dinner.

When it comes to finger-licking, napkin-needed fried chicken, it's hard to pick a favourite. Are you partial to a brined and crispy American-style bird, or one that's sticky with Korean sauce? Or something else altogether? Well, whatever your fried chook fancy, Melbourne's got a version to suit, with an array of local restaurants out to make this famed dish their own.

If you weren't already craving some juicy chicken, coated in special seasonings, sauces and other crushed snacks, then fried until crisp, you sure will be after reading this. Here's where to find Melbourne's finest fried bird.

  • 10

    Now with a whopping 17 outposts across Victoria alone, Gami Chicken & Beer is almost certainly on your fried chicken radar. This crew’s made a name for its Korean-style chook, with bite-sized pieces slathered in or sided with a choice of house-made sauce. Here, you can order a half or full bird’s worth of chicken, either with or without the bones, which makes it a winner when you’ve got a couple of mates in tow. Otherwise, embrace the messy fingers and go for a signature serve of drumettes, wingettes or snack-friendly chicken spare ribs. All of Gami’s chicken’s been given the RSPCA tick of approval and, as the name suggests, you’ll find plenty of beer to wash it all down — including an exclusive house brew on tap.

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  • 9

    Chef Morgan McGlone’s take on Nashville-style chook has seen his Belles Hot Chicken brand expand from a single Fitzroy restaurant to an ever-growing collection of stores and pop-ups across two states. At all three Melbourne outposts, the bird is definitely the word, with serves of tenders, wings and drumsticks flying hard and fast from the kitchen. And when it comes to heat factor, the power’s all yours – just see the sliding scale of sauces ranging from the mild ‘southern’, to the sweat-inducing ‘sex panther’. A lunchbox pack comes loaded with a couple of tenders, sauce and a side, while the aptly named ‘baller bucket’ features a group-friendly serve of 16 wings and extras. And on weekends only, you can go for gold at brunch with the mighty pairing of hot chook and waffles.

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  • 8

    This South Yarra haunt is known for its unique retro ski chalet fitout, as much as for the US-style food offering being whipped up by its kitchen. Alongside burgers and ‘fancy’ fries, you’ll find a swag of dishes to tempt even the fiercest of fried chicken cravings. Expect tender, juicy chook, wrapped in crisp, flavour-packed batter, working as the perfect accompaniment to an evening of craft tinnies, rock tunes and pool. You might find yourself tucking into some bite-sized popcorn chicken, a serve of crunchy-coated tenders with chipotle mayo, or a few mouth-numbing XXX hot wings. Or, you can opt for the much-loved menu staple, the fried chicken sandwich. It’s a saucy, meaty combination of fried chicken thigh, American cheese, curried mayo and slaw.

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  • 7

    As the name suggests, Fried and Tasty happily embraces the naughty side of fried chicken, so you’re best off forgetting all about that diet and settling in for some good old-fashioned indulgence. With two northside stores (in Brunswick East and Fitzroy), it’s twice as easy to get your mitts on the clucking good signature Southern-style bird — each piece is carefully coated and fried for that old-school crunch. The sauce game here is especially strong, from the likes of a classic house-made barbecue number, to a memorable concoction of peach and cayenne. Pack serves of wings, tenders or mixed pieces come teamed with your choice of side, while heartier appetites will be all about the bucket o’ chicken, starring a dozen wings and nine pieces of either hot or OG chook.

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  • 6

    A long-standing heavyweight of Korea’s fried chicken scene, Pelicana landed in Melbourne with its first Aussie store earlier this year. And it quickly earned a legion of local fans for its big variety of bold flavours and RSPCA-approved bird that’s been marinated for 24 hours. Here, you’re faced with some tough choices when it comes to how your chook’s cooked – will it be the wasabi dusting, hot smokey chilli, or perhaps the sweet honey butter? You can grab a half or full chicken, in either boneless or bone-in pieces, slathered in one of 12 different coatings. They’ll even supply the gloves to help keep messy fingers to a minimum.

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  • 5

    If some fried bird and a few rocking tunes sounds like your ideal combination, consider Carlton’s John Curtin Hotel a must-visit. Sonny’s Fried Chicken & Burgers currently has a residency in the pub’s kitchen, matching its loaded gig lineup with an offering of American-style chicken. The signature bird is brined for 24 hours, then pressure fried for a perfectly crisp finish. It’s a true connoisseur’s menu with a fix for any sort of chicken craving, from a two-piece feed of dark or white meat, to a full bird divvied up into “eight pieces of awesome”. There are also more sides than you can poke a drumstick at, including Southern-style classics like smokey slow-cooked beans, a zesty bean salad and creamy mash drenched in house gravy.

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  • 4
    Juanita Peaches

    This rock’n roll Brunswick diner comes from the same mind behind Beatbox Kitchen and All Day Donuts, so you just know there are tasty times ahead once you venture through that front door. Alongside a tidy lineup of burgers, burritos and sangas, Juanita Peaches is frying up a tempting little range of chicken, available by the piece or matched with sides and extras as part of a meal pack box. Featured sauces run from honey mustard to a gutsy house-made barbecue number, while carby additions come in the form of fries, or a classic bread roll with gravy. And there’s no slumming it when it comes to the drinks list, either — here, you’ll find Aussie craft brews, local wines and even a couple of margaritas to cut through that glorious grease.

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  • 3
    4Fingers Crispy Chicken

    This Singapore-born fried chicken empire now boasts outposts in Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia, having earned a solid reputation for its crisp-skinned chook, hand-brushed with house-made, naturally fermented sauces. The chicken’s all free-range, with zero hormones, and you can choose your pack to be filled with wings, legs or a combination. You can choose to have it amped up with sticky soy garlic sauce, or go big with the extra hot and spicy glaze. And, if you’re feeding an army, 4Fingers even does 50-, 100- and 150-piece serves of its signature wingettes and drumettes. Not so hot on bones? Try the crisp full chicken chop, coated in your pick of sauce and teamed with fries.

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  • 2
    Phat Chicks Fried Chicken

    Set amid the diverse food landscape that is Melbourne’s west, Phat Chicks is flying the flag for finger lickin’ Asian-inspired chicken. And it’s not afraid to get a little creative. The menu’s primed for mixing and matching, with wings, boneless breast chunks, chicken strips, drumsticks and ribs all available by the piece. You can have yours drenched in a classic sweet chilli garlic or soy sesame sauce, or get a little adventurous with coatings like crushed mie goreng noodles or salt and vinegar chips. And on the side? Think classic onion rings, Cajun-style fries or a few crunchy house-made potato cakes.

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  • 1

    This Collins Street eatery showcases a whole array of authentic Korean fare — but with the motto “all you need is chicken”, there’s one true hero of the menu. Thankfully, the short, simple offering keeps the decision-making to a minimum. Opt for a full or half-bird chopped into pieces, a serve of battered wings and drumettes, or the ‘gang jung’: a pile of boneless bite-sized pieces, served with potato wedges and rice cake.

    Sauces range from an original, to a sticky soy glaze, best tackled with a hefty pile of napkins on hand. There’s a tight list of easy-drinking brews to match, or you can stay on theme and pair that chicken with a jug of zesty Korean soju mojito.

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Top image: Belles Hot Chicken by Nikki To.

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