First the good news. Meat Candy, a fried-chicken shack from former The Old Crow chef Ben Atkinson, is coming to Northbridge. The bad news? It doesn’t open till July, although impatient eaters can get a preview of the spicy chicken Atkinson will be serving while he’s manning the stoves at Late Night Valentine (look for the fried chicken bun).

This beta version nails the basics: boneless pieces of chicken are tenderised with buttermilk, laced with chilli and fried till golden. While Meat Candy’s chicken will be available in four flavours – southern, medium, hot and “you’re an idiot” – Atkinson describes the spice level of his Late Night Valentine burger as somewhere in the middle. In Tennessee tradition, the chicken at Meat Candy will be served on a soft white bread coaster rather than in a bun.

“Bread will always be served under my chicken,” says Atkinson. “To me, it’s the best of both worlds. You can eat the bread on its own or make a fried chicken sandwich.”

As promising as this preliminary effort is, the prognosis for fried-chicken loyalists is even better: Meat Candy will be fitted with a five-figure Henny Penny pressure fryer, the cooking device of choice for a certain well-known colonel, and its chicken will be cooked bone-in. Although Nashville style fried chicken will be Meat Candy’s calling card, the restaurant will also offer a small menu of American barbecue and charcoal-grilled items. Grass-fed Dandaragan beef will feature, as will Linley Valley pork and Mount Barker chicken.

Meat Candy
465 William St, Northbridge

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