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14° & CLOUDY ON WEDNESDAY 15 AUGUST IN MELBOURNE
By Bryanna Perriam
September 03, 2014
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Belles Hot Chicken

F**king hot Fitzroy fried chicken.
By Bryanna Perriam
September 03, 2014
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BOOK A TABLE

Between clean eating and superfoods, who would have thought fried chicken would be the craze that stuck around? And if you're one of many seeking out the best battered chook in the city, it's hard to go past Belles Hot Chicken, where their sole focus is just that.

Formerly Belles Diner, chefs and co-owners Aaron Turner and Morgan McGlone have converted the space on Gertrude Street into their own, while leaving most of the original interior in tact. Brown booths keep it casual without crossing the line to kitsch, and tables are lined with dishes inspired by Nashville, Tennessee, where they've both just spent the better part of recent times.

Let's be honest, if you find yourself at Belles, there's a good chance you're there for the chicken, but — just in case you're not — there are fish and mushroom alternatives too. The menu is laconic, but once you step up to the counter to order, there are more choices to make than you may first think. Which cut of chicken do you want: wings, tenders or dark meat? And which level of spice can you handle? Mild, medium, hot, really hot  — or are you daring enough for the really f**king hot chicken?

No matter your selection, the crunchy, golden coating gives way to juicy, tender meat and the heat has certainly got a bit of kick to it. It's served with pickles and your choice of a side on top of a slice of bread to soak up the oozing spices, which will set you back $16. For an extra $2, choose from three sauces to combat the fire in your mouth. The sides ($5), such as mixed pickles and mac and cheese, could do with a bit more spunk, but the star of the show shines.

Wait until the weekend for the chicken and waffles special ($18). Yep, you have not lived until you've tried the sugary sweet leavened dough drowning in maple syrup, and coupled with the savoury pieces of poultry.

There's American beer, there's wine, there's whiskey, there's a record player blaring in the background and staff are sometimes inclined to dance around the restaurant. It's fun. Sure, it's a little more expensive than good old KFC, but it comes without the stain of the fast food stigma. It's a hell of a lot tastier and it's so on-trend.

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