Purveyor: Orto Trading Co, Surry Hills, NSW Australia
Menu Item: Southern Fried Chicken Benni
Price: $18 AUD
Squawk: The brioche (They call it an English Muffin, but it’s not even close) is one of the best around and the sweetness is just right with the butter and Hollandaise. Egg is just right – oozing the needed yolky moisture to make the semi-dry chicken go down smoothly. We love the venue and the friendly staff. We heard it was sold recently so went back to see what the new Owner was up to. Turns out, they kept all the things we loved about the place – and added a few new delicious non-chicken items to menu as well, The “Orto Brekky” is a fave. We highly recommend the place overall, but if you’re heading out for a high-ranking chicken burger, keep walking, the exception to this being, if you’re supremely hungover. In that case, one of these and one of their perfect coffees, just might get you through the morning.
Buaawk: This should be knock your socks off delicious. Sadly all socks stay on. (Maybe that’s a good thing.) Point is this could be something special with a little more love, attention to detail and creativity. Our biggest issue is with the chicken itself, too much oily crust, and the three times we’ve tried, it always seems like it sat in the fryer for just a bit too long. And a side of something potato-ey would go a long way.
Purveyor: Ze Pickle, Foveaux St. Surry Hills NSW, Australia
Menu Item: The Southern Hick
Price: $16.50 AUD
Squawk: First of all, the Worldwide Holy-Cluck Reviewer Team prides itself on knowing about all things chicken burger, so when our friend and famous actress, Kristin Sweeney, popped into Sydney for a visit and told us she thought she’d stumbled across a solid nine or ten at place we’d never heard of, we were all like, whaaaaaa? Turns out homegirl was right. Ze Pickle was literally entering its second week of business when she dragged us back for her second burger in a row. (On two consecutive days, not the same day. Don’t be gross). Before we even got inside, we liked it. The interior is wide open and welcoming, with great decor done by the owners themselves. It mainly consists of walls comprised of marijuana sacks and black drawers (possibly full of weed), and a lone PacMan neon light. They have a great beer list, that changes frequently so you can try new things each time you go back, and the service is attentive and on-point. Adam, the friendly Owner, told us he interviewed over 300 people for 20 positions and it’s clear he chose well. And not just in the front of the house, but in the back too, because the burger we had was off the chook. (Sorry. Hook.)
There are TWO chicken burgers on the menu, so we’ll be back to review the other one soon, but for now we settled on The Southern Hick. It comes with maple smoked bacon, jack cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, and ZP’s own secret sauce but it was the smoked jalapeños that really put this one over the top. (Note: they come standard on the other burger, but we asked for them on the Southern Hick because SMOKED JALAPEÑOS! Even without those, the maple smoked bacon is the best we’ve had in Australia and it adds a unique sweetness that we haven’t enjoyed anywhere else. Speaking of sweetness, these knuckleheads have created a dessert called the “Oreogasm” – two Oreo cookies deep fried in doughnut batter with toffee caramel ice cream and topped with liquid Nutella and a cherry. Proceed at your own risk.
Overall we were very impressed with what Ze Pickle has to offer, they are onto a winning formula and we can’t wait to go back to try chicken burger number two. Factor in the usual teething pains most restaurants suffer through during their first few months of business, and the fact that these guys get so much right, right out of the gate is even more impressive. If they keep it up, they could well be on their way to a Best Burger Award this year.
Buaawk: There are a couple easy points to deduct from this nearly perfect burger. For starters, chips are extra. At $16.50 you’d expect at least a small portion to be included. Our general feeling at HC is that charging for chips with a burger is un-Australian, un-American, un-Everything. Unless they’re amazing chips. We didn’t order any, so we’ll report back when we review that second dirty bird burger on the menu. The bread roll isn’t anything special – normally we like a nice brioche or sometimes a toasted rye bread, but in this instance the rye would have looked out of place, and sweetness of the brioche along with the sweetness from the maple bacon would have made the whole thing too sugary. The fact that the Chef knew this gets them a 7, but the roll itself is a 5. If you’re a regular reader of Holy-Cluck then you know we love our sauces. Ze Pickle have a special ZP sauce, but we have no idea what it is and it wasn’t apparent on the burger. Asking for other sauces got us a small ramekin of Cholula, a great choice, but bring the bloody bottle so we can slather at will, and more options is more better.
UPDATE: We went back. Brought some friends. This burger stacks up. Solid nines and 9.5’s all around. And this time we ordered the beer cheese sauce and maple bacon fries. All we can say is they’re super tasty and we’re gonna need bigger pants. We still think chips should come with the burgers as opposed to being an add-on, but as far as add-on’s go, these are the goods.
No review this week. Our pants are too tight. Maybe you can JOIN the Holy-Cluck Worldwide Reviewer Team so we don’t have to keep working naked. In the meantime, please enjoy this hilarious spot for Big John by Trevor Clarence.
Spotted this AMAZING and curious sign in Homeland Season 5, Episode 1 recently and well, now it seems we have a reason to go to Germany very shortly. Failing that, if any of our beloved Holy-Cluck readers in Deutschland would be interested in giving this place a shot and doing a review we would be most dankbar. From what we can tell on their Facebook page, Chickenberg has great signage and decor, but the fact that they’re pimping falafels hard gives us cause for concern. Hilfe!
Purveyor: West 4th and Jane, Santa Monica, CA USA
Menu Item: BLTAC*
Price: $12 USD
Squawk: This place is a bit of a sleeper. Not only is it hiding in plain sight smack dab in the middle of Santa Monica, but its poor signage speaks to the unpretentious attitude of pretty much everyone who works and visits here. In a city full of lip and boob job bimbos and egocentric fools handing out “Executive Producer” business cards to anyone who will listen to their BS, West 4th & Jane is a bit of an oasis. Great beers and lots of them on tap. And a surprisingly good chicken sandwich. The bacon on this one comes crispy without you even having to ask for it that way. Nice. The side of pickles is another nice touch, but there’s still plenty of room on that rectangular plate for some fries (Hint). And they got a great hot sauce selection too. Special shout our to our friends at the WestSide Comedy Theater for turning us onto this place
Buaawk: You’ve read it here before, but no chips/fries always bums us out. Yes, we know they’re bad for you and yes, we still want’em. We’re also not so sure about the shredded kale – and we generally enjoy kale, just not so much on a burger – in this case we felt it added a little too much chewiness. We do love chargrilled chicken, but this one was a bit dry. Thankfully their great beer list helps it go down easy.
Bonus Points: Beer selection, unpretentiousness, good music at a level where you can still enjoy it and still have a conversation without shouting.
*In case you didn’t know, that’s and acronym for Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado, Chicken