The second installment from Juicy Lucy, a dine-in restaurant-proper, has opened just around the corner on Reservoir Street, and it promises CHICKEN. NOODLES. BEER. Naturally, word is spreading in small-town Sydney, so of course I had to try.
The original takeaway chook burger shop remains on Elizabeth Street, in its resplendent yellow glory, wedged between a laundromat and tattoo parlour (a guaranteed night on the town that starts clean, and ends regretfully).
Perhaps reminiscent of its predecessor (the shop front is on the former site of Sugarcane) the fried chicken menu takes flavour cues from our Asian neighbours. The Ong Bak burger is served with green papaya salad, while the Juicy JL is a chook fillet stuffed with cheese, and slathered with sambal.
But I’m going for the fried chicken, straight up. The drumettes (so much more interesting that tenders) are perfect, snack-sized pieces with a sticky batter that’s light, sweet, and soy-saucy. We take up the option of adding Korean BBQ sauce to our serve, which somewhat amps the sugar factor.
That being said, do try the other sauces available on the menu. The chilli sauce is syrupy with a good spice kick, but it’s the green garlic sauce that’s going to bring us back. While not on par with the legendary El Janniah’s rendition, it’s still velvet smooth, garlic-rich, and brightened up with lime.
There’s a tempting roll-call of noodle classics—pad thai, chao hor fun (with duck lapcheong!), and a cold dan-dan—but the miso chicken ‘bolognese’ calls my name. Expect udon noodles topped with a minced-chicken gravy, and served with cucumber and pickled ginger. If the kitchen could up the miso jam a notch it would make miso happy. It’s weird, it’s whacky, and it’s wonderful.
Coleslaw is usually the bane of my fried chicken experiences, and I order it ‘for health’. There’s the usual suspects of carrot, cabbage and mayonnaise, but phwoar, the addition of micro coriander, dill and finely shredded makrut lime leaf elevates it to a fragrant, moreish delight. Kids, eat your vegetables here.
Beer-wise, you can go local (Young Henry’s, Modus), or global (Cass, Brooklyn Lager). Two slushie machines churn away near the counter, one dispensing a Kahlua-laced Thai iced coffee, the other a lychee frozé (that’s frozen rosé to you, good sir). There’s a decent, brief wine list too.
Did I mention there’s an Indiana Jones-themed pinball machine? So pick your poison, pluck your chick(en), then play your pin. Everyone wins at Juicy Lucy and we’re pretty damn happy, because you can never have enough fried chicken in your belly.
If you're looking for even more places to head to this October, check this out.
Image credit: Claudia Shmueli