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Fried Chicken? I am there.

Envious no more, Belles Hot Chicken has landed in Sydney and those hot wings are flying off the shelves or in this case, off the Wulugul pop-up stand at Barangaroo. Chef Morgan McGlone has brought along his famous fried chicken from Melbourne to Sydney and will be trading at this temporary space here in Barangaroo for at least nine months before moving into a permanent space.

As I still haven’t been over to this part of town, hence it was a perfect excuse for me to go down to check it out and have some fried chicken. I got off at Wynyard Station and walked through a skywalk towards King Street wharf, it brought back memories as soon as I spotted Bungalow 8, and the temporary pop-up eatery is just on the right.

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Barangaroo South

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house made cardamom lemonade – $6.00

The 22 hectare, $6 billion Barangaroo precinct is the upcoming harbourside park, resonating with Aboriginal significance and maritime history. Over time, you will be able to explore the Streets of Barangaroo with over 75 retail outlets and 50 new restaurants. Currently the Wulugul Pop-up on Barangaroo South has already attracted foodies and the like to come down here for some hot wings at Belles, roti at Mamak and some booze at Gin & It. But we were solely here for the fried chicken. 

There were bar chairs and tables spread along the casual outdoor dining area and was packed with white collars after working hour on a balmy Thursday evening. But very lucky for us to score a table right in front of Belles pop-up stand. A small crowd were fixated on the menu on the wall, contemplating with many ummms and ahhhs on what to order. I was determined to order the mother of all fried chicken on the menu – the Baller Bucket ($60) which has 16 wings inside a novelty imitated KFC bucket and 4 sides and sauces. But alas, our party of two simply wasn’t enough man power to conquer the chicken mountain, we will have to come back with a bigger posse next time. 

I ordered, given a number and two cups of house made cardamom lemonade and we waited. The drink was refreshing and sugar sweet with a hint of cardamom which was surprisingly nice with the sour lemonade. It took about 20 minutes before our number was called. 

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chicken tenders (southern flavour) – $16.00

On the menu, there are three types of chicken you can order – wings, tenders or drumsticks. And for the vegetarians, there is also the option of fried mushrooms. Each order comes with a side of your choice which includes Old Bay Fries, coleslaw, Broccoli & almond salad, mixed pickles and almost Arnold’s beans. Oh, you also have to choose the heat level that goes with your chicken from Southern flavour, then Medium, Hot, Really Hot to Really F**kin Hot. If you want sauces to go with the chicken, there are Mississippi Comeback, Belle’s ranch dressing, Belle’s blue cheese dressing all at $2 each and also housemade ketchup for $1.50. 

I ordered two types of chicken to share. First we tried was the chicken tenders in Southern flavour. Inside the basket were four tender pieces with the side of mixed pickles and a tub of Mississippi Comeback sauce. The tenders were actually a little lacklustre in the deep frying department, the coating on the outside was a little pale and soft, didn’t really have that crunchy rippled batter coating that I was hoping for. The Southern flavour was subtle but the tenders where juicy and well…. tender. The Mississippi comeback sauce was the saving grace, I kept dipping the chicken into that tangy and spicy mayonnaise. The mixed pickles was addictively sour with a good crunch, a perfect side to relish the fried chicken.

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“Really Hot” wings – $16.00

The chicken wings on “really hot” level was more up my alley. The four wings were smothered in a chilli pepper dust storm. We approached them wings with care as they just came out of the fryer and were blistering hot. The crisp factor on these wings were a lot better than the tenders. The wings had been through a toss of hot sauce then a coat of chilli pepper powder, they were seriously numbing hot and utterly smokey which I believe was from the smoked paprika and cayenne pepper in the mix. It had that raw chilli pepper taste which my friend found a little bitter for his palate. 

I liked the fact that we both had the same method of eating a fried chicken wing. We snapped off the wing tip first and started nibbling on the crispy edge. Then the drumette, relentlessly dipping it into the cooling blue cheese dressing to counteract the heat. We saved the best for last, I sucked on the tender chicken wingette with both bones came off clean.

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Old Bay Fries – $5.00

It didn’t take long before our fingers were stained with chilli oil, my lips were numb as beads of perspiration formed on my forehead. The “really hot” level has overpowered everything, and the chicken tenders were meaningless and tasteless by then.  We had the crinkle cut Old Bay Fries as the side with our hot wings, but I decided to order an extra portion for the ultimate gratification. I’m glad I did, the fries were lightly covered in Old Bay seasoning and were fried to perfection, they were ridiculously crunchy not a single sad, soft, soggy chip in sight. 

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We didn’t loiter for long as it started to get busy and many punters were waiting to get a seat, hence we decided to leave and let the others have our table. As we were leaving, I was green with envious when I spotted this girl with such a content look on her face, clutching the Baller Bucket of fried chicken in her arm like a new born baby. Who said you can’t eat fried chicken in your active wear?

“Active wear, active wear, eating fried chicken in my active wear.”

 

Bless her.