Johnny Bird

Free-range fried chicken, pickles, local beer and craft cocktails.
Jasmine Crittenden
Published on November 27, 2018
Updated on September 18, 2023


Last year, this Crows Nest favourite swapped out its namesake lobster rolls and dedicated itself to the fried chicken business once and for all.

"In the restaurant biz, you don't get to choose your signature dish. Your diners do that for you," said co-owner Tom Baker. "Over 50 percent of the food we sold at Johnny Lobster was fried chicken. So rather than continue to airfreight crustaceans from the North Atlantic, we decided to just go with it."

The menu's centrepiece is fried chicken, which is served with sauce — such as Sticky Sichuan or Nashville Hot — and sides, including fried pickles, sweet potato fries and mac 'n' cheese. On top of that, there are burgers — the staple being the Johnny, packed with fried chicken, pickles, coleslaw, tomato relish and chipotle mayo.

"Each cut of chicken at Johnny Bird is treated differently. It's a time-consuming process but you can taste it," said head chef Jason Hall. "The wings are cooked sous vide at a low temperature for three hours before frying. Tenderloins are wet-brined in heavily seasoned buttermilk to increase moisture in the final cut and our boneless thighs are soaked in seasoned natural yoghurt for 48 hours."

To match such carefully prepared offerings, there's a selection of craft beers from Young Henrys and Moon Dog, plus a bunch of signature cocktails, including the Waist Not (gin, watermelon rind, vermouth, soda) and the Cold Fashioned (Mr Black coffee liqueur, rye whiskey, orange bitters).

You'll find Johnny Bird in our list of the best fried chicken in Sydney. Check out the full list here.


Appears in:

The Best Fried Chicken in Sydney for 2023


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