Restaurant group Merivale branches into takeaway with their latest opening. The Chicken Shop is a takeaway chicken shop, adjacent to restaurant Fred's and pub The Paddington. Former Momofuku Seiobo fine dining chef Ben Greeno has created the short, sharp menu with rotisserie chicken as the main with plenty of vegetable sides and delicious sandwiches.
The Chicken Shop is a small shopfront, pale green in colour that makes us wonder, "What used to be there?" There is also the option to pre-order and pay online and then pick it up from the store. It's 6:30pm and there is no forecast for summer rain so we decide to get some takeaway and take it to nearby Centennial Park.
The menu is neat which makes deciding things easy. Chicken is a given and it's a matter of deciding half or a while. There are also daily meat specials that range from pork belly, glazed ham to ocean trout. Mr NQN isn't a lamb person so I pass on today's lamb rump and instead order from the range of sides. At $55 it isn't the cheapest takeaway option but we did order a lot of dishes. And just a tip: be sure to ask for cutlery and napkins if you need it because it isn't automatically given.
Centenial Park is a 5 minute drive away and we lay everything out on a picnic rug. We start with the chicken, a smallish half bird split down the centre. The meat is incredibly moist but the skin isn't crispy or highly seasoned which is a tradeoff. But if you dislike dry rotisserie chicken breast then this chicken is ideal. We also ordered a side sauce of yogurt harissa which goes with it perfectly (will be making this at home one day!).
The cos lettuce salad is whole leaves of cos, a generous amount of avocado, radish and pumpkin seeds with a vinegar dressing. The whole cos leaves make it a bit difficult to eat unless you're sitting down with a knife and fork but Mr NQN loves this salad.
Alas the fries are cold (I tried one when I got back into the car and it was pretty lukewarm then) and the gravy is to dip it in. Honestly I would have loved fat chips or something a bit more than regular French fries and cold fries give me sad face.
My favourite salad is the spelt salad with lightly cooked cabbage, seaweed and white soy dressing especially with a bit of avocado from the cos lettuce salad. The spelt has a lovely texture not unlike barley and the whole combination goes well with the chicken.
I asked which was better, roast carrots or the potato gratin and they suggest the carrots. They're roasted until tender and served with sunflower and sesame seeds. While the chicken was on the small size the sides are a good size and there's no way we can finish the carrots. They're also really nice cold the next day in a salad.
Lured by the idea of sandwiches, I revisit the next day because sandwiches are one of my favourite food groups. There are two vegetarian sandwiches and three meat/fish ones. I start with the hot chicken roll with pieces of chicken, pickled jalapenos and pickled carrot. This is on a soft Brickfields bun and although not as hot in temperature as the fish finger sandwich below (packaging could be better) this is delicious and I don't want to put it down.
I haven't had a fish finger in a long time and this is ordered as much for a retro hit than anything else. This has a layer of crushed edamame, crunchy breaded fish fingers, nori seaweed sheets and yuzu. And it's damn delicious with just the right balance of filling and bread. It's also like the England met Japan and had a delicious sandwich baby. I want to revisit to try the rest of the sandwiches now!
I find the pricing overall a bit odd, sides are good value for the size/price but chicken and dessert is less so. There is one dessert on the menu, a chocolate mousse that has a crunchy crumb top and salted caramel sauce. It's light in texture but rich in flavour.
So tell me Dear Reader, how often do you get takeaway? What sort of food do you usually get to take away?
This meal was independently paid for.
The Chicken Shop
382 Oxford Street, Paddington, NSW