Clucking Good Stuff | Chicken Institute Opens In Surry Hills

By Sophia Fukunishi
28th Feb 2015

Less of a learning institute for chooks, as the name might suggest, and more of a delicious, new Sydney restaurant, Chicken Institute opens in Surry Hills. We wandered into this Fitzroy Street restaurant to see if it’s all that it’s cracked up to be. 

Located away from the Crown Street crowds, sits the newly opened Sydney restaurant, Chicken Institute. Opened by Heaven Kim, the executive chef from Paramount Coffee Project, the idea of Chicken Institute was hatched from Heaven’s love of Korean casual dining restaurants where you can enjoy a few drinks and some good quality food. 

When asked how this curious name came about we’re told that when Heaven was working out what type of food would go well with a few casual drinks and shared in a group, fried chicken was at the top of the list. She also wanted a place that would become an institution where people want to return again and again. With this in mind she joined the two words together and Chicken Institute was born.

The Chicken Institute menu itself is concise and offers classic Korean dishes like bibim-bap and ssam BBQ grill as well as some more unusual additions like kimchi paella and gold fish ice cream waffles. Unsurprisingly, Chicken Institute also serves four kinds of “damn good” Korean fried chicken that are served in a bucket with a side of pickled radishes. This is primarily Korean food with a bit of an American twist, and we love it.

To start we went straight in on the ssam BBQ grill with half pork belly and half wagyu beef. We did as the Koreans do and roll the meat up in a lettuce leaf with some pickled garlic and radish kimchi. As expected, the results are delicious. The meat isn’t too oily and its richness goes perfectly with the fresh lettuce and spicy kimchi.

Of course, we couldn’t visit Chicken Institute without sampling their Korean fried chicken. Self proclaimed “damn good fried chicken”, and who are we to argue with flavours like peri peri, garlic caramel glaze, house-made spicy chicken salt, and crushed peanuts? We opt for the original, which is a bucket of succulent boneless chicken fried with spicy chicken salt and lime. While not as crispy as their Koreatown cousins, the chicken is tender and flavoursome with a hint of spice (but not too much). The pickled radish is a great way to cleanse the palate before going in on another piece.

For more of Sydney’s best Korean fried chicken, head here.

If Canada and Korea were to have a food baby, it would be kimchi poutine. Chicken Institute has made this almost unnatural clash of national food icons into one moreish dish. We’re all about loaded fries here at The Urban List, so this dish was always going to be a winner. 

As Chicken Institute are waiting on their liquor license (which should come through in a few weeks), diners are free to bring in their own wine and beer in the mean time (yay!). However, non-alcoholic drinks are available including their very refreshing house-made fizzy sodas with flavours including watermelon, lychee, and passionfruit mojito. We opt for the passionfruit mojito because it’s a weeknight and anything that sounds remotely like a cocktail (albeit it being a mocktail) we’re down for. It’s tangy, fresh, and actually makes a great accompaniment to the meats when the classic Korean beer, Cass isn’t available.

As recent graduates from the Chicken Institute, we can wholeheartedly vouch for their food, slightly nervous (but sweet) service and their clear love of fried chicken. If you’re feeling peckish (sorry), we suggest paying this new Sydney restaurant a visit.

Image credit: Anita Wilhelm

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