Let's make one thing clear. Butter is not for the fainthearted. Sydney's first fried chicken and sneaker store is unapologetic about calories, music and photos of lascivious young women posing with food. But you know what? The fried chicken is amazing, fat pieces of juicy flesh covered in a rubbled armour of golden crunch. Who cares if you lose an artery or two over dinner? Priorities.
Sneakers in the display window
You'll probably hear Butter before you see it, the throbbing base of its hip hop soundtrack sounding more like a nightclub than an eatery. And then there's the wall of kicks in the front window. Word is they'll be setting up their online store soon, but for now you can only recreate Audrey's Breakfast at Tiffany's scene, swapping a croissant for fried chicken.
Pabst Blue Ribbon $8
Butter as F@#k slushie $12
The dining area is bigger than you first expect, a total of 42 high stools clustered around long benches, along the counter and tucked around smaller tables along the wall down the back. The butter logo in neon blue is hard to miss in the dim surroundings. The vibe is reminiscent of Eddie Huang's Bao Haus in New York - the only thing missing is a wall of graffiti.
Place your order at the bar. The impressive drinks list includes a handful of wines as well as an international roll call of beers (Mexican Tecate, American Pabst Blue Ribbon, Japanese Sapporo, Korean Hite, Kiwi Yeastie Boys Bunnamatta and local brewers Young Henry's and Batch Brewing. Half of the drinks menu is devoted to bubbles and champagne, everything from a Chandon Brut Rose from the Yarra Valley at $11 a glass to a bottle of MV Krug Grande Cuvee at $450 for maximum baller level.
There are usually three slushies on the go too - two alcoholic and one alcohol-free. The Butter as F@#k is a pink grapefruit and butter combo that is bewildering and refreshing, its echo of butter menthol lollies continuing long after you've finished drinking.
Butter isn't just a slick name for the business, we soon find out. It pops up as an ingredient everywhere.
3pac - 1 thigh, 2 tenders naked and a side of slaw $16
Extra thigh with hot AF sauce $4
There are three main staples on the menu: the chicken sandwich, the 3pac and fried tofu nuggets (all your vegetarian friends can join in the fun!). The 3pac yields one thigh and two tenders with a side of slaw. We throw in another thigh for $4 because I want the hot AF sauce, served on the side which turns out to be a godsend. That sauce is crazy hot, the kinda peppery insanity that tickles the back of your throat and infiltrates every crevice in your mouth. I dip the chicken in cautiously, take a bite and feel my pupils dilating as I start to sweat.
If you prefer to keep your tastebuds functioning throughout your meal, you can elect for lesser grades of hot, OG and naked (complete wimp out). They also do sauces $2 each. The smoked aioli feels a little OTT dipping fried into garlic mayo, but the buttermilk ranch is my favourite, especially if you combine it 50/50 with the hot AF sauce. Perfect.
But seriously. That chicken. It's an impressive feat, the batter providing a relentless rat-a-tat-tat of crunch. Chicken fillets make for easier eating, and yet there's still that succulency without the support of bone to keep in the juices. That's where the buttermilk comes in, soaked so the chicken maintains maximum moisture.
The chicken sandwich $16
with pickles, dashi butter and a side of slaw
The chicken sandwich looks innocuous enough, but take one bite and prepare for the river of dashi butter flooding your mouth. It's a scientific feat as to how they managed to drench such a soft milk bun with so much butter.
Just like the 3pac, you score a side of coleslaw smothered in mayo. Don't expect any relief on your arteries. The onslaught is hard and fast.
Don't believe me on the juiciness of the chicken? Here's the proof.
Miso corny $4
Corn on the cob with miso butter
We skip the shoe string fries ($5) and go with the corn. You know what it came with. Butter. Every nook and cranny of this cob is slathered in miso butter. It's a marvel that the stuff hasn't melted and dripped onto the plate.
Head chef Julian Cincotta (ex-Nomad, ex-Rockpool and winner of the 2015 Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year) laughs when we ask him. "It's all about the temperature of the corn when you butter it", he says with a knowing nod. He's right. The corn isn't hot but warm, and the miso butter - faintly salty but not overly strong in miso flavour - is the same temperature as well.
Size 13s $60
4 thigh pieces, 9 tenders, 2 sides of pickles, 2 sides of slaw and 3 sauces
For the true baller experience, you need to order the size 13s, a party pack of 13 pieces of chicken with pickles, slaw and sauces all packed up in a... wait for it... size 13 shoe box. The attention to detail with the shoe box label on the side is commendable. They also use the boxes for takeaway orders.
Peanut butter soft serve with Milo crack rock $6
The soft serve machine will run through different flavours each week. Tonight it's a creamy and smooth peanut butter with Milo crack rock sprinkled across the top. On other rotations expect salted caramel, strawberry and, you guessed it, butter.
6 Hunt Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8283 1329 (no bookings)
Monday to Thursday 11.30am-10pm
Friday to Saturday 11.30am-11.30pm
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2/15/2016 12:20:00 am