For many Aussies, chicken dinners call to mind buckets of deep-fried drumsticks from KFC or bags of charcoal chook from your local takeaway joint. But Bird, Brunswick East’s “chicken bar and bistro”, is giving the country’s most popular protein a rebrand.

Co-owner Luke Elia wanted to revamp traditional takeaway-style fried chicken. And it shows on Bird’s menu. Starting small, you’ll find herb-crusted chicken tenders, buffalo wings with blue-cheese-sauce and crispy salt-and-pepper chicken ribs. Sides are optional but strongly suggested – particularly the wads of garlic-butter brioche and mashed potatoes with chicken gravy, made in-house over 48 hours.

From there, make your way to the customisable chicken feasts featuring house-made pickles and your choice of cut, heat and sauce. Unless otherwise specified, they’re all soaked in buttermilk, dredged and deep-fried. Although, unlike many fried-chicken joints, there is a gluten-free option.

Vegans are also well looked after – with soy drumettes, whole barbequed eggplant on a bed of whipped tofu, and hearty celeriac-and-cheese burgers served on plant-based milk buns.

The drinks list is all-Australian and mostly on tap, save the spirits. They’re lined behind the stunning wooden bar designed by Hachem (Warabi, Curious). If you’re going hard on the heat with your meal, Elia recommended the Couped Up cocktail, which is loaded with ginger to complement the spice, plus cucumber and elderflower to cleanse the palate.

A red neon arrow beckons you off Weston Street, just around the corner from Lygon Street. Once inside, cosy up in one of two plush dining rooms or make your way into the wraparound courtyard, ideal for soaking up the sun during Melbourne’s warmer months.

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Updated: December 5th, 2022

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