Australia, Sydney, Sydney - CBD, Sydney - Inner City

Chicken Institute Part 2

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After the horrific experience at Chicken Institute two weeks earlier (which we have posted here), we went back to the place to try their infamous chicken.

This time, we made a booking in advance, and when we got to the restaurant, we found the place to be empty.  There were no people waiting, and there were empty tables everywhere.  Maybe other people had the same experience as us last time and decided it was not worth the wait or hassle.

We noticed that this time around, they had an extra wait staff serving the customers.

Looking at the menu again, we noticed that the choice of drinks were very limited.  Jono wanted to order a soft drink, but we were told that soft drinks were not available individually, and we had to order one of the Fizzy Sodas on the menu (which ironically were made from soft drinks).  The cost of a Fizzy Soda was $6.

Now onto the food.

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Steam bun – eggplant schnitzel, chipotle dressing and tangy cucumber ($6 each)

The eggplant was very crispy with a good kick of spiciness and smokiness from the dressing which was immediately soothed by the cold sweet cucumber.  However, the bun was not as soft and fluffy as expected, and the bun seems to be a tad undercooked.

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Spicy cucumber kimchi ($7)

The use of fresh ingredients was evident in this dish, with a good spicy taste complimenting the fresh vegetables.  However, at $7 for a small bowl, we felt this was a bit overpriced.

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Damn good fried garlic chicken – garlic caramel glaze, garlic chips, lime ($24)

The exterior of the chicken was very tasty with nice garlic flavour and the use of the small pieces of garlic chips enhanced the flavour of this dish.  The chicken flesh was soft and nicely seasoned.  A nice dish.

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Damn good sticky chicken – sweet, spicy, sticky sauce, crushed peanut, shallot ($22)

The chicken was marinated in a very unique style, resulting in all pieces of chicken being marinated on one side only while the other side was not marinated.  The chicken was cooked to perfection.  The sauce was very different from any other sauces we have tried in Korean restaurants and the sweetness and spiciness of the sauce struck a good balance.  The peanuts added a complexity to the flavour of the dish.  Tasty!

 

Overall, the chicken dishes here were very good, and the side of radish that accompanied each bucket serve of chicken was a nice touch.  However, the standard of the chicken here is not that much better than a number of other Korean places in Sydney, and we would not be waiting in line for the chicken if we ever find ourselves here again with a long busy line of customers.

 

Chicken Institute Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chicken Institute

Website: http://www.chickeninstitute.com.au

Address: 61 Fitzroy Street, Surry Hills

Telephone: (02) 8095 0166

Opening hours: 5pm to 10pm, Tues to Sun

Accepts MasterCard and Visa (minimum spending amount applies)

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - CBD, Sydney - Inner City

Chicken Institute Part 1

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We have heard so much good things about the chicken at this place so on a cold winter Tuesday night, we decided to visit this place to try out their infamous chicken.  Due to the unusual events which unfolded, we will set out in a time line format of what we have experienced at this place that night.

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7.45pm – We arrived at the restaurant.  We noticed that the space was very small and it was already overcrowded.  The interior was simple, with wooden shelves, wooden floor boards and a counter made of galvanized iron, which gave the whole place the look and feel of a chicken barn.  We were asked if we had booked (which we had not) and were told that apart from another couple who were waiting in front of us, we would be after them.

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7.45pm to 8.15pm – As we were standing near the entrance to wait, we noticed how close we were in proximity to the people who were dining.  There were no room for people to stand and wait.  Within half an hour, there were over 10 people waiting for a table.  We noticed that the service seem very chaotic, and customers were complaining of wrong orders and slow service.  There were only two wait staff servicing more than 30 customers.

8.15pm – We were asked whether we minded sitting in the back area, which we happily agreed.  The back area was an open courtyard, with minimal lighting.  There was one big table and one small table, which would sit about 10 people maximum in total. It was quite cold and chilly in the area and there was only one heater there.

8.15pm to 8.45pm – No wait staff came to take our orders, despite us requesting them to do so on several occasions.  We also requested someone to fix the heater as the heat was quickly diminishing.  Again, no one was able to assist.

8.45pm – Finally, one of the wait staff came to take our order.  We ordered two chicken dishes, along with some side dishes, and two drinks.  Despite the freezing night, we were looking forward to the taste of their infamous incredible chicken.

8.45pm to 9.15pm – We heard yelling from the kitchen between the chef and the wait staff.  They were arguing in Korean which seem to relate to the wrong orders.  The screaming was quite loud, and was piercing through an otherwise quiet night in the back courtyard.

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9.15pm – The first drink arrived.  As we were already so cold from sitting in the back with the heater not working properly, we didn’t really touch the icy drink.

9.15pm to 9.45pm – We were still waiting for food and the second drink, and we were becoming more and more hungry.  It had been more than 2 hours since we set foot in the restaurant and we were still unable to taste any food.

9.45pm – Being cold and hungry, we decided to tell the wait staff that we were no longer willing to wait any more, as we were shivering and starving.  The wait staff enquired with the kitchen and allowed us to cancel our orders and leave.  They were also apologetic for our experience.  However, before we left, we were still asked to pay for the drink that was on our table which amounted to $6.50.   As we were leaving, we heard some customers on another table complaining about the level of service to one of the wait staff.

We left the place cold, hungry, angry and disappointed.  We were baffled as to how a restaurant is able to be run like this.  Even if the chicken is amazing and out of this world (which we would never know unless we return to try them), their service (or lack thereof) will be a major impediment to anyone returning to this place.

We actually went back two weeks later and tried the chicken.  Read our post here.

Chicken Institute Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chicken Institute

Website: http://www.chickeninstitute.com.au

Address: 61 Fitzroy Street, Surry Hills

Telephone: (02) 8095 0166

Opening hours: 5pm to 10pm, Tues to Sun

Accepts MasterCard and Visa (minimum spending amount applies)

Australia, Sydney, Sydney - Inner City

Moon Park

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A modern Korean restaurant, Moon Park is situated on the first floor of a building in Redfern. This place is quite hard to find at night as there is only a small sign outside the building. Inside, the interior is very sleek and simple, not overly fancy, with wooden floorboards, white painted walls, standard wooden tables and chairs, basic shelves, and minimal decorations. There is a small bar area, and also a large balcony overlooking Redfern Park. The place creates a casual atmosphere and relaxing vibe.

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We arrived here on a weeknight, and the wait staff was very hospitable, with good friendly service. They were attentive to us, with the use of good facial expressions and body gesture, and the use of appropriate language. They displayed great knowledge in relation to the items on the menu.

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Cucumber and Rose Lemonade ($8)

A delightful drink, which was not overly sweet, with the aroma of rose and a hint of cucumber. The drink had a mysterious element to it, as with each sip, we would not know which flavour would hit our palate first – the rose or the cucumber. However, these two elements were very complimentary to each other, making the drink very enjoyable.

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Othmanthus tea ($4)

A classic oriental drink, with a bitter-sweet flavour, which was a perfect compliment to the dishes we had.

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Homemade crisps (complimentary)

These crisps were thin, crispy and had a hint of spicy flavour. They were a great start to our meal.

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Ssambab: yangnum smoked eel, puffed wild rice in a big nasturtium ($7.50 each)

This dish was fantastic. There was a contrast of flavours in this dish – the smokiness and saltiness of the eel contrasted well with the freshness and softness of the leaf, while the rice had a crunchy, smoky and a little spicy flavour. This was a very elegant and modern take of a traditional Korean dish.

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Spanner crab and black garlic on seed biscuit ($7.50 each)

A very good dish. The fresh flavour of the crab was accentuated by the presence of the sesame and the garlic. All the flavours complemented each other well.

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Bibimbap: a bowl of rice with raw scallop, barley, peas and baek kimchi ($33)

Who would have imagined a humble bibimbap could be served in this way? This was akin to eating a whole bowl of the ocean, with the freshness of the scallop shining through. However, the dish also had other intricate flavours, such as the spiciness from the kimchi, the smokiness from the toasted barley and the sweetness from the peas. The contrast of textures, from the crunchiness of the toasted barley to the softness of the scallops, also really delighted our tastebuds. A wonderful dish that simply blew us away!

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Ssamgyeopsal: wessex pork belly, artichoke and carrot kimchi ($34)

The star of the dish was the pork belly which was soft, and melted in our mouths. It was well seasoned, so did not really need any sauce. There was a hint of doenjang flavouring in the pork, and a side of leaves for us to wrap the pork in. These elements demonstrated the traditional aspects of this dish. However, the reduction in the use of garlic and chilli for this dish and the use of artichoke in this dish, made this dish more subtle and refined than its traditional Korean counterpart. A very flavoursome dish.

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Brussels sprout, kimchi seasoning, pinenut ($8)

We recommend this dish be ordered with the Ssamgyeopsal as this complimented well with the pork belly. Eating the Ssamgyeopsal with this dish would give extra flavour to the pork belly. The dish was very tasty, and the use of the pinenuts was a unique addition, which enhanced the flavours of this dish.

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Moon Pie: prune, maesil marshmallow, ginger jelly, graham cracker and chocolate ($14)

This was an elegantly deconstructed version of an American Moon Pie with a Korean twist – the sweetness from the soft, silky and milky white chocolate and the partially torched marshmallow meringue was balanced with the kick from the ginger and the sourness from the prunes. A sublime dessert!

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Warm quince, makggeolli ice cream, puffed rice and orange ($14)

This dessert can simply be called “Rice Cream”. The lightness of this ice cream provided a good base for the flavours of the quince and orange to shine through, making this a nice dessert.

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Moon Park is one of the best modern Korean restaurant we have tried in Sydney, and we would no doubt be back in a heartbeat! The modern twist on traditional Korean food is done extremely well and our dining experience here has been wonderful.
Moon Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Moon Park

Website: www.moon-park.com.au

Address: 34 Redfern Street, Redfern

Phone: (02) 9690 0111

Opening hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 5:30pm to late

Accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express (surcharge applicable for all cards)

Australia, Melbourne, Melbourne - North

Frying Colours Korean Eating Place, Kensington.

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Frying Colour is located on the corner of a busy road in Kensington, Melbourne. The restaurant has been opened since March 2014, and has a sleek and modern interior, with the use of wood and concrete to give it a distinctive and contemporary look.

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From the moment we walked inside, the service from the staff was impeccable. They were very attentive and made us feel very warm and welcome. They were very accommodating when we requested to change tables so we could sit by the window. Throughout the night, they asked us for our opinions about the dishes we ordered and they were constantly filling up our glasses with water to ensure that our glasses were never empty. When a young child on another table dropped her mom’s glass of wine onto the floor, the staff calmed the child and her mom straight away, cleaned up the broken glass with the minimum of fuss, and gave the mom another glass of wine for free. At no point were the staff angry or upset but they were very reassuring and comforting to the child and her mother. It is very hard to find such great customer service nowadays.

Now onto the food.

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Bimbimbap, vegetarian $18

We asked for the non stone bowl version, which they were able to accommodate. It was a nice simple dish, and giving us the sauce on the side to allow us to adjust for the level of spiciness was very thoughtful. The free side kimchi that came with this dish did not seem fresh though.

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Zzampong Seafood Spicy Noodle (Today’s Special) $24

The noodles were not too soft and the spiciness was at the right level for our tastes. A simple but satisfying dish.

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Beef Bulgogi Burger $16

The beef patty, although small, was tender with a good amount of seasoning. The other compliments in the burger such as the lettice, onion, ginger and cheese did not overpower the main star of this dish, which is the beef.

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Slow Cooked Lamb Rib Frame Grilled (Today’s Special) $24

This was one of the star dishes of the night. The lamb was soft and tender, and melted in our mouths. There was a hint of a smoky flavour from the charred meat. The home grown sesame leaves complimented the flavour of the lamb. The addition of saffron was a nice touch to the dish.

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Fried Chicken – Half and Half – Spicy and Sweet Soy $34

This was, by far, the best Korean fried chicken I have tried in Australia. The coating was light and crispy, and not overly dense. The chicken was soft and flavoursome. This was one of the most enjoyable dishes of the night, especially with a shot of soju.

Frying Colours is a great little restaurant with excellent food and nice friendly staff. This is a place I would come back again and again. If you are ever in Melbourne, this is a place you must visit!

Frying Colours on Urbanspoon

Frying Colours Korean Eating Restaurant

Website: www.fryingcolours.com.au

Address: 520 Macaulay Road, Kensington, Victoria

Phone: (03) 9939 9679

Opening hours: 12pm to 2.30pm Tuesday to Sunday, 5:30pm to late Monday to Sunday

Accepts Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards

By Jono