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Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney

Snow cheese korean fried chicken at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney

Cheese on fried chicken? You bet. It sounds like just the kind of crazy I love. It's just one of twelve types of Korean fried chicken you can order at The Sparrow's Mill, newly opened on Liverpool Street in the city, between George and Pitt. This sister restaurant to Red Pepper at Strathfield Sports Club (best partnership ever, I say) may have only been trading for less than a month, but eager fried chicken fans are already queueing down the street.

Diners at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney
Dining room at The Sparrow's Mill

The Sparrow's Mill has taken up residence on the site of the former Japanese restaurant, Sakae. They've kept all the old chairs and tables, and installed a flat screen TV which streams a mix of Korean television and K-pop video clips. On a Friday night, the place is packed with Korean uni students, all dining in small groups. The waitstaff look run off their feet with constant orders, but they do a commendable job juggling plates of fried chicken, dispensing drink orders and plating up little side dishes of banchan from a trolley at the back.

Korean fried chicken menu at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney
Did somebody say fried chicken?

The fold out menu is predominantly in English with accompanying photos, but it's the fried chicken section that gets prime positioning. Twelve different kinds of twice-fried poultry beckon with promises of satisfying crunch.

You can order deep-fried chicken on the bone or boneless -- "kids will love it!" -- and they even have breast fillets in case, you know, you're watching your weight. And there's the story of gangjung to read about too, a traditional rice cookie that they incorporate into their "incredible chicken" batter.

Complimentary panchan side dishes at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney
Complimentary panchan

The complimentary panchan side dishes are delivered to our table with a noisy clatter. The selection of kimchee, fish cakes, pickled radish and seaweed make for great nibbles and handy palate cleansers throughout the meal.

Pajeon seafood pancake at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney
Pajeon seafood pancake $15

Pajeon seafood pancake is the first order to hit the table. There are big chunks of prawn and calamari among the pancake of shallots, onion and carrot bound together with batter. It's a tad gluey in the middle but there's a lovely caramelised char on the surface.

Chopsticks attacking the pajeon seafood pancake at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney
Digging in

Dolsot bibimbap stone pot rice with beef and vegetables at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney
Dolsot bibimbap $15
Steam rice with beef and mixed vegetables in a sizzling stone pot

They serve the bibimbap here in a dolsot, or sizzling stone pot, perfect if you relish that crunchy layer of rice on the bottom.

Mixing the egg yolk and gochujang into the dolsot bibimbap at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney
Mixing the egg yolk and gochujang in with the rice

Tip in the saucer of gochujang red pepper paste and then bibim (mix) that bap (rice) until you reach a rainbow of deliciousness.

Mixed dolsot bibimbap at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney
Bibimbap ready-to-eat

It's a spiced up collaboration of rice, vegetables and beef enriched with egg yolk. The pot will insulate your rice for ages too - we came back to this dish after twenty minutes and the rice was still super hot.

Spring onion Korean fried chicken with wasabi sauce at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney
Spring onion chicken $34 (whole)
Crispy fried chicken with specially-made wasabi sauce with spring onion

But ok, ok, we're all here for the fried chicken, right? The whole chicken serves come out on giant undulating plates the size of a lily pad. The spring onion chicken is a glorious shade of golden brown, drizzled lightly with their specially-made wasabi sauce and crowned with a tumbling nest of shredded spring onion.

There's a fantastic crunch to the batter, and it's worth dunking your chicken into the puddle of sweet wasabi sauce at the bottom of the plate. A little tub of pickled cabbage, carrot and daikon will keep your tastebuds firing.

Soy sauce and garlic Korean fried chicken at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney
Soy sauce and garlic chicken $17 (half)

We went with the half-serve of soy sauce and garlic fried chicken, not quite as saucy as the one at Arisun but still tasty.

Snow cheese Korean fried chicken at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney
Snow cheese chicken $18 (half)
Snow on the branches fried chicken

And then there was the snow cheese chicken, poetically described as "snow on the branches" on the menu. If you can imagine fried chicken tossed in a bag of crushed up Twisties, you're pretty close to guessing what these tasted like. The cheese powder adds a salty sweetness that I find compelling, even if not everyone at our table agreed. Ok, I think I was the only person who went for seconds, and yes, I even licked up the last crumbs on the plate.

Wasabi sauce and spring onions on Korean fried chicken at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney
Wasabi sauce for the spring onion chicken

As a fried chicken aficionado, I reckon Naruone's and Arisun's crowns are still safe, but more Korean fried chicken options - especially in the CBD - are only a good thing. For the sake of all our stomachs.

Incredible Chicken sign at The Sparrow's Mill, Sydney

The Sparrow's Mill(참새방앗간) on Urbanspoon

The Sparrow's Mill
Shop 3, 116-120 Liverpool Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9264 7109

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 11.30am - 12 midnight
Saturday and public holidays 12pm - 11pm
Closed Sundays

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Korean fried chicken - Arisun, Haymarket
Korean fried chicken - Beschico, Epping
Korean fried chicken - Hello! Kyochon, Chatswood
Korean fried chicken - Kim, Potts Point
Korean fried chicken - Moon Park, Redfern
Korean fried chicken - Naruone, Sydney
Korean fried chicken - Red Pepper, Strathfield
36 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/22/2014 03:46:00 pm


  • At 6/22/2014 4:01 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    yessss that spring onion fried chicken with wasabi sauce is so fricken addictive! here's to many more fried chicken joints to come!

  • At 6/22/2014 4:08 pm, Blogger Yvonne Tee said…

    Hi! Was nice to meet you that day, awkward as it may be. XD Great post as usual, though I do find the wasabi sauce a tad unpleasantly spicy in places.

  • At 6/22/2014 6:00 pm, Anonymous Padaek said…

    Thanks for sharing this great post and find. I Love fried chicken and this place looks like an excellent place to check out and try next time I'm in the cbd. :)

  • At 6/22/2014 6:11 pm, Blogger Annie said…

    so much fried chicken goodness! should be interesting to see how this compares to Naruone

  • At 6/22/2014 6:45 pm, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    Oooh I tried the snow cheese version at Red Pepper the other week! It was odd, yet also very addictive haha. I want to know what kind of cheese powder they use!

  • At 6/22/2014 7:40 pm, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    Very intrigued by the snow cheese chicken.

  • At 6/22/2014 8:26 pm, Anonymous Cindy (a foodie's joy) said…

    Another KFC place to check out! The snow cheese chicken looked interesting!

  • At 6/23/2014 6:55 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    Hooray for more KFC options in the CBD! Love the sweet wasabi soy sauce that comes with the spring onion fried chook here! Crunch crunch crunch!

  • At 6/23/2014 8:28 am, Anonymous Bianca@forfoodssake said…

    The Snow Cheese Chicken looks VERY interesting! :)

  • At 6/23/2014 9:17 am, Blogger Pearls of Style said…

    Ah I so wish there was a place like this near me! I could totally go a meal like this today. All looks very delicious and the chicken sounds like an innovation!

    Krissie x - http://pearlsofstyle.blogspot.com.au

  • At 6/23/2014 10:09 am, Anonymous steph | a little bit of tang said…

    That snow cheeeeseeee, as soon as you said twisties .. I could literally taste that goodness mmmm

  • At 6/23/2014 12:40 pm, Blogger Jacq said…

    it looks like the menu here and Red Pepper are the same now because I saw the cheese chicken at Red Pepper on the weekend! I knew I should have ordered it but no one else wanted to try it with me haha

  • At 6/23/2014 2:18 pm, Anonymous House In Tillford said…

    Yumm those fried chicken options look so tempting! Will have to check it out next time I'm in the CBD

  • At 6/23/2014 4:55 pm, Anonymous Iron Chef Shellie said…


    Why must you kill me softly with photos of fried chicken?

    I still love you though :P

  • At 6/23/2014 5:23 pm, Anonymous Ando said…

    They have such a huge range of fried chicken! The snow cheese chicken sounds so interestingly delicious! Been a while since i had Twisties :P

  • At 6/23/2014 7:25 pm, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Wow - so much fried chicken action! And then all my Korean favourites too - and this is much closer to me than Strathfield for me - triple yay!

  • At 6/23/2014 11:09 pm, Anonymous Tammi @ Insatiable Munchies said…

    "Watching your weight". HAHAHA

  • At 6/24/2014 12:11 am, Anonymous Gourmet Getaways said…

    Flavoured fried chicken plus Korean veggies - so appetising! I like your photos, too. They make me drool big time!

    Gourmet Getaways

  • At 6/24/2014 12:17 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Fried chicken heaven and K-pop surrounds! Sounds like my kinda digs. :)

  • At 6/24/2014 9:15 am, Anonymous Martine @ Chompchomp said…

    Snow cheese chicken? Just the name alone conjures up some interesting imagery! I wonder how I could replicate this to be GF at home? Love how Korean is making an strong appearance these days.

  • At 6/24/2014 10:55 am, Anonymous ChopinandMysaucepan said…

    Dear Helen,

    I have yet to try Naruone and Arisun and I'm going to try the original without any added sauces.

  • At 6/25/2014 2:19 am, Blogger CQUEK said…

    i love the menu, i will love to try all the delicious dishes especially the bibimbap

  • At 6/25/2014 12:55 pm, Anonymous Michelle said…

    For some weird reasons, we always have a Korean meal every time we go back to Sydney. This place sounds like the place to check out next time we visit. Great photos!

  • At 6/25/2014 4:06 pm, Blogger Pearls of Style said…

    Mmmm chicken with the cheese coating - I can imagine this would actually be really delish! Love their oriental food. Looks really great.

    Krissie x - http://pearlsofstyle.blogspot.com.au

  • At 6/26/2014 12:15 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So much FRIED MADNESS going on! Keen to try the wasabi sauce chicken :D

  • At 6/26/2014 7:48 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    YUM! I want All Of The Fried Chicken!!!

  • At 6/26/2014 11:24 am, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    i wanted the snow cheese fried chicken but no one else was keen!

  • At 6/26/2014 5:28 pm, Anonymous missklicious said…

    not sure about the snow cheese chicken, but i do love the look of the seafood pancake!

  • At 6/26/2014 8:51 pm, Blogger irene said…

    I am keen to try anything and EVERYTHING from here LOL. Try all the fried chicken!

  • At 6/26/2014 9:32 pm, Blogger Jenny said…

    Yum! Love crispy fried chicken. Wonder if it tastes like the version at Red Pepper.

  • At 6/27/2014 1:39 pm, Anonymous Charlene @ aus2usa said…

    loooooook at that! That looks like the most amazing fried chicken ever. Snow Cheese chicken eh? So close to work too!

    Time to plan a visit. So many places, so little time!

  • At 7/01/2014 8:43 am, Blogger Kt said…

    Interesting. We didn't get any complimentary panchan, despite ordering lots. The service was grudging at best. Wing asked for kimchee and they eventually brought it after the second round of food was all but finished, and charged for it. I enjoyed the chicken, but certainly won't be rushing back.

  • At 7/02/2014 12:05 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Yvonne - Was lovely to meet you too! Might just bump into you twice again in the one night sometime in the future. Heh

    Hi Sherrie - lol. I want that cheese powder too!

    Hi Iron Chef Shellie - It's payback for all your late night baking exploits!

    Hi Amy - Haha you should have joined our table!

    Hi Kt - Aww that's a shame you didn't get panchan. I know we didn't "qualify" for it last time at Red Pepper because even though we ordered lots of fried chicken, that counted as a snack as they weren't rice dishes?

  • At 7/03/2014 7:02 am, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    I know nothing about KFC but I must say the name of the restaurant doesn't really match IMO.

  • At 7/04/2014 6:19 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    Snow cheese chicken? What even is that and give me all of that!

  • At 7/08/2014 1:05 am, Anonymous Sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    12 kinds of friend chicken, oh my lord, chicken fried heaven.


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