The simplicity of a chicken roasted over hot coals is something Australians hold dear. And it’s often the little extras – golden hot chips, an outstanding gravy – that separate the great from the good. At Cookshop Rotisserie in Clifton Hill, owner Andrew Logan understands the little things and is giving charcoal chicken a chef’s touch.
Logan spent more than a decade working with Paul Wilson at restaurants including The Botanical and Brighton’s Half Moon, as well as three years as head chef at The Newmarket Hotel. For the past three years, he’s been head chef at Mamasita.
Owning his own place was the natural progression.
“I came to the point where I was sick of being chained to the pass until midnight every night,” he says. He wanted to do something involving takeaway, and when the opportunity to take over Chicken on Queens came about, he decided to stick with tradition. “I’ve been using wood-fired grills for years, at The Botanical first, and The Newmarket had one,” Logan says. “Besides, every neighbourhood needs rotisserie chicken.”
Cookshop retains all you’d expect to find at the local chook store – chips, gravy, salads, roast vegetables, stuffing (gluten free), with a few welcome additions. Lamb is spit-roasted for eight hours, and it’s as good a slow-cooked morsel as you’ll find – moist, fatty and perfectly seasoned with rosemary salt. Braised pork hock comes with potatoes, peas and cabbage. The salads barely resemble the nebulous medley you might find at other neighbourhood takeaway stops. Here there’s a rotating choice of grain, vegetable and leaf.
“We dress the salads to order … we’re not just scooping out old pasta salad,” Logan says.
Roast vegetables are cooked on a Japanese Hibachi grill – a whole corn on the cob looks particularly impressive with its husk pulled back, then delicately trimmed and served with smoked-paprika butter.
The fit-out is minimal, with a couple of bench seats next to large floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s an old leadlight crest above the door, which has two keys, crossed, and three castles.
“Next door is Pickwick House – an old lock and light-fitting shop that specialises in antique fittings. This used to be the leadlight shop, hence the beautiful leadlights here and next door.”
There are plans to fill a fridge with pre-packaged meals – just add meat – for the take-away lunch crowd. There will also be a selection of house-made lemonades and iced teas you can buy by the cup.
“Come summer, we’ll be looking at getting seats out the front,” Logan adds. “If people are hanging about, we might get a couple of beers on as well.”
392 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill