2nd June 2016
1 Fulham Place
Melbourne, VIC 3000
This may sound incredibly boring to most people out there, but there aren’t many meals out there that I love more than roast and veggies with gravy. Growing up in a Chinese family meant that a roast dinner came up once in a blue moon, and usually only when we’re visiting friends on a special occasion. And despite having had many, many roast dinners since then (with some fantastic ones courtesy of Chris’ mum), I still can’t help but get excited when confronted with the meat-veggies-gravy combo.
So by the above logic, Henrietta’s Chicken Shop should be right up my alley. And you know what? I did get disproportionately excited when I heard of this new eatery that specialises in gourmet charcoal-roasted chickens and seasonal salads.
With that said though, it seems awfully unfair to label Henrietta’s as just a chicken shop. What it really is is an indoor beer garden, decorated with ample amounts of greenery and some stylish wooden tables and fold-up chairs. And here’s another difference – most chicken shops aren’t run by the alumni of The Fat Duck and Albert St Food and Wine, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
There are 3 kinds of chicken on offer at Henrietta’s – the Bannockburn Free Range, Milawa Organic, and for the people with really deep pockets, Rare Breeds from Local Farms. But regardless of which you choose, they will all be brined for 12 hours, before being rubbed with bush herbs and cooked over a chemical-free charcoal rotisserie.
The Pack 2 ($28, Bannockburn Chicken) is the way to go for twosomes, consisting of 1/2 Chicken, Awesome Slaw, Green Machine, and Crinkle Cut Chips.
The chicken, of course, takes centre stage. The brining and slow-cooking had rendered the meat juicy and succulent, and infused it with the aromas of herbs and smoke.
The sides are nothing to scoff at either. The slaw was indeed awesome, the crunchy mix of veggies tossed with tangy vinaigrette and sweet currants, and with nary a drop of mayonnaise in sight. My favourite however was the green machine – a beautiful, seasonal mix of everything leafy and lush, tossed in a light mustard dressing with a scattering of pepitas. And who could forget the chips? Crisp and well seasoned, I couldn’t help but order a serve of The Gravy ($4) – yes, THE gravy – to dip them in.
For something so seemingly simple and straightforward, Henrietta’s does a bang-up job. But really, it’s probably nothing more than the fresh, seasonal ingredients, as well as the classic tried-and-true cooking techniques – not that it makes the food any less admirable. Consider me a fan.
Rating: 14/20 – winner winner (sigh) chicken dinner.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.