The Old-School Chicken Shop to Get a New Spin in Paddington
The charm of your neighbourhood chicken shop — with one crucial difference.
It’s 6pm on a scorching Sunday afternoon. After a day soaking up the sun, stomachs begin to rumble. A quick consultation with the fridge reveals little in the way of sustenance. Forced to forage elsewhere, most of us would head for the nearest, nastiest fast food spot to get our fill. But if you’re hankering for some quality behind the calories, we have just the place.
The Chicken Shop is a grab-and-go eatery set to open its doors to Paddington in December. With an unassuming Oxford Street shopfront, the venue is designed to bring back the nostalgic charm of an old English chicken shop — minus some of the dodginess, since these happy chooks will be free-range and hormone-free. A dual venture with neighbouring pub The Paddington (previously The Paddington Arms), the new establishment joins the ever-growing Merivale ranks.
So who’s behind the pass? Chef Ben Greeno (Momofuku Seiobo) will be running the culinary show at both The Chicken Shop and its attached mother hen The Paddington. Swapping fine dining for a relaxed pub affair, Greeno sees this latest project as a much-needed change of scenery.
"I want to be enjoying myself and hanging out, having a good time with everybody else," reveals Greeno. "It is what you make it, and I suppose I made my old place not as relaxed as it should have been. I’ve changed, I’ve got older and I’ve calmed down a little bit."
Opening ahead of the attached Chicken Shop in November, The Paddington will be a laidback pub with a strong European influence, drawing upon Greeno’s time exploring the markets of France. From lamb rump, beef and whole stuffed fish to Jerusalem artichokes and celeriac, its dishes will feature top-notch ingredients treated with care. Plates are designed to be shared, and best of all, you can wash it all down with a ripper cocktail from The Paddington’s bar led by Palmer & Co.’s Sam Egerton.
But the real point of difference is the three eye-catching rotisseries, each imported from France. This is what Greeno believes will set this pub apart. "Our chicken is cooked on the rotisseries, which not a lot of people in Sydney really do," he says. "The rotisserie is very much the focal point of the whole establishment." Given the prime position they hold, no effort has been spared in sourcing top-quality, accredited free-range chickens from the small town of Bannockburn, 22km northwest of Geelong. As well as being raised free of hormones, the chickens are processed without the addition of chemicals, using “air-chilling” methods, so you can be sure you're eating nothing but natural chook.
Next door, The Chicken Shop exists as a stand-alone venue that cleverly uses the neighbouring rotisserie to dish up some of the juiciest roasts on the block, along with sandwiches, salads and spuds. They’ll be the "same chickens, but no seats, no nothing; just come up to the counter and order and take your food. Everything is going to be done with that same quality and care that we do in the pub as well."
Sounds like our summer post-beach feeds are sorted.
The Paddington is opening at 384 Oxford Street, Paddington in November. The Chicken Shop will open next door by the end of the year. Top image: Dollar Photo Club.
Published on October 13, 2015 by Lucinda Starr