Walking into Phat Chicks Fried Chicken, on Barkly Street in West Footscray, you’re presented with a slightly overwhelming choice. You can sit in the main dining area, where there’s around 40 seats-worth of tables, each with bottles of Sriracha and Heinz Ketchup on top. You can head to the “friends zone,” a comfy enclave with large brown-leather couches, homely decor and a zebra hide. Or, you can proceed directly to the circa-’90s Namco Point Blank 2 arcade machine, with those plastic pink and blue guns – just like you remember.
Owner Jenny Nguyen admits that while she originally set out to open a cafe, what resulted is more akin to the chicken-and-ale crowd.
“I wanted to create a little man-cave,” says Nguyen. “I absolutely love fried chicken – I could eat it every day.”
Nguyen grew up in Footscray and was pleased when she discovered that the space, originally an extension of the neighbouring Thai Angels Restaurant, was available for lease.
“I’m a West girl,” she says. “It was almost like it was fate.”
Phat’s succinct menu is broken into five fried-chicken varieties – breasts, drumsticks, thighs, wings and spare ribs – which are prepared in a variety of different styles such as spicy, sesame soy or original.
One option is based on the 99-cent Indomie Mi Goreng instant noodle pack. Nguyen uses a different brand of dried noodles which she crushes into her own seasoned dry mix, and serves with dried shallots and garlic, drizzles of kecap manis and Sriracha and pickled onions for a garnish.
For the other two, Nguyen crushes up either salt-and-vinegar or chilli-flavoured Kettles chips into the mix. “I’ve loved Kettles chips since I was a kid,” she says.
Sides include Cajun, sweet potato or regular fries, onion rings, mac‘n’cheese and creamy corn kernels with melted cheese. Nguyen also serves her own Asian-style slaw, with crispy noodles and fried shallots.
Phat Chicks Fried Chicken will open in winter 2017.
Phat Chicks Fried Chicken
549a Barkly Street, West Footscray
03 9689 3030
Tue to Sun 11am–11pm