Neil Perry did it, so Luke Mangan's going to try. Fine dining chefs have been trying their hand at the more casual fast food game, with new chains like Burger Project testing the takeaway waters for top tier hospitality figures. Now, lauded Mojo chef Mangan has launched his first foray into the ever-expanding burger bubble, opening the first in a planned chain of burger joints dubbed (somewhat cringingly) Chicken Confidential. Despite the name, the new venture doesn't focus exclusively on chicken, nor is it a secret. But, it is the initial endeavour in a planned burg-slinging empire.
As first announced in 2016, the ever-entrepreneurial Mangan has set his eyes upon Sydney's growing fascination with two foods that can't be good for you (but who cares, they're delicious): burgers and damn good fried chicken. You'll find both on the menu at Chicken Confidential's Chifley Plaza digs, of course, as made with organic free-range chooks, and available for breakfast and lunch. Four types of poultry on bread feature, including the Yes Ma'am in all its Southern-fried glory with confidential sauce, the Curry Up with raita, and the Korean-style, kimchi-laden Gangnam Style. Or, opt for a chicken pie, chicken tenders, chicken wings, chicken salads (yep, there's plenty of bird) — or, for something different, four kinds of beef and just as many varieties of breakfast burgs.
Chips (regular crinkle cut and sweet potato), desserts (soft serve, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, affogato, and apple and blueberry pie), and shakes (chocolate, salted caramel, strawberry and double vanilla) all also feature; this is a burger joint after all. And, it's just the beginning. Mangan is looking to install more across Australia and into Asia — ten around the country in the next 12 months, plus outlets in Singapore, Indonesia and Tokyo — over the next couple of years.
That's hardly surprising given how busy the restaurateur clearly likes to be. Mangan opened his first restaurant in 1999, and his antics have proved to be as unstoppable as a Pringles can. Since 1999, he's opened joints all around Asia and Australia, crafted menus for P&O Cruises, cooked in the sky with Virgin Australia, written books, opened a providore and a whole host of other enterprises. Now, he's intent on crafting incredible chicken burgers for a readily waiting public — but, it's a crowded niche, with plenty of other excellent dedicated chicken joints already boasting deep roots all over the city.
By James Whitton and Sarah Ward.