361 Queen St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
03 9670 8881
I’ve got a bit of a push and pull relationship with Korean Fried Chicken, where my first encounter fell really short of my expectations at Gami Chicken & Beer, while my second encounter at Chimac turned out absolutely delightful. And my third attempt at Mook Ji Bar nearly killed me from its crazy spiciness. But of course that doesn’t stop me from trying it again, and the prospect have hot pieces of crisp fried chicken once again beckoned this Winter.
That’s how Fatbee and I caught up with Damo here one Sunday night. On arrival, we discovered that the downstairs section serves as a cafe and brunch spot during the daytime, with the name “Peek A Boo Espresso”… hah!
But we were seated in the comfy and convivial upstairs section, full of gatherings of friends having a good time. I really liked how Asian the vibe here was, as if I’m no longer in Melbourne. I’ll also have to say that the acoustics here (with lots of wood lining the walls) is a lot better than Gami Chicken & Beer where the noise levels reached annoying levels for me.
Korean Coconut Grape Juice $3.5 | Korean Rice Wine 350ml $5.5 | ABC Tap BEER 420ml $5.9
We all each picked our poison of choice, with Damo being the least naughty having something non-alcoholic. And a very unusual drink too, the coconut grape juice turned out tasting like Qoo grape drink with cubes of chewy nata de coco.
Meanwhile, I went boring with Asian beer (because that’s what you’re supposed to drink with fried chicken). And Fatbee had a rather delightful fizzy-milky Korean rice wine, cutely served in a can. I liked how mild it tasted… like a malty, fizzy, mild Japanese sake.
Fried Rice Cakes – Small $3.5 | Combination Spicy Soup $16
Here’s the accompanying dishes that we had with the chicken centrefolds (see later). First up, fried Korean rice cakes to satisfy our carb component for the meal… this is one Korean signature item that I have yet to like. It came sweet, sticky and dense… but fried such that the outsides were a little bit crisp.
And for a bit of spice and moisture, we had a serve of army stew which came medium spicy with all the typical cheap (but yummy) tinned trappings like cocktail sausages and luncheon meats. It wasn’t too bad.
Fried Crispy Chicken – Original (Half Chicken 7~8 Piece) $16
Our first fried chicken was the original, which sadly came with lots of batter around it and with not much flavour. Blandness aside, the flesh itself was nice and succulent.
Soy Garlic Chicken – (Boneless) $29
Next up, Fatbee and Damo vetoed my preference for chicken on-the-bone and we got a serve of boneless chicken pieces marinated in soy and garlic (young people these days are so lazy, they don’t even want to eat around bone, which is the tastiest part!).
All that said, don’t you love how they give you tongs to pick up the chicken pieces here? Verdict is – I found the soy garlic sauce on the sweet-sticky side and it coated the fried chicken like an unwanted sauce that I did not really like.
While I enjoyed the company here, my meal of Korean fried chicken once again did not quite hit the mark. I suppose I’m really picky with how I like my fried chicken… which is more Malay-style, with not too much batter and where the flavour’s actually infused into the batter rather than as a sticky sauce coating it. By the way that’s the way that Chimac does it, which is why I prefer it. I also found the menu of side dishes at ABC Chicken more limited compared to Chimac, where its side dishes support the delicious chicken dishes very nicely.