Drasko's Hot Chicken

Features

Drasko Jankovic is a journalist-turned-chef with some serious credentials. He's a former graduate of Noma in Copenhagen as well as a one-time junior sous chef at Noma’s sister restaurant, 108. But despite all of his experience with fine-dining, he's always had a soft spot for Nashville-style fried chicken : a beloved (and blisteringly spicy) take on cooking chook.

So Jankovic partnered up with Ken Craigie (RoyAl's Chicken) for Drasko's Hot Chicken: an eponymous diner dedicated to the stuff.

The chook here, while staying faithful to Nashville tradition – brined, floured, fried then finished with a seasoned oil – is jazzed up using techniques Jankovic brought home with him from Copenhagen. The brine, for instance, is based on dashi rather than buttermilk, while the finishing oil has been flavoured with, among other things, a savoury garum: a fermented sauce that, in this instance, has been made from roasted chicken wings. The result is a bird that’s juicy and crunchy in all the right places and all too easy to eat.

Despite the forensic detail involved with frying the chicken, the side dishes speak just as loudly to Jankovic’s fine-dining background and commitment to local produce. (The menu includes the sweet dedication, “local organic and biodynamic farmers are our heroes” and name-checks all the restaurant’s suppliers).

The fries are made in-house using white potatoes from an organic farmer in Muchea, fried in a cold-pressed canola oil from Healthfarm in Kojonup and seasoned with a house-made “chicken salt”, a by-product from the roast chicken wing garum. The beans are a vegan riff on pasulj, a slow-braised bean dish that features prominently in both Serbia as well as the Jankovic family’s memories. The pickles are fermented rather than vinegar-pickled and contain seasonal vegetables, salt, bay leaves, time and nothing else.

Chicken is available as a Japanese-inspired sandos with pickles, slaw and comeback sauce – the sourdough bread is from The Woodfired Baker in Maylands while Ryan Bookless of Monsterella Pizza has agreed to bake gluten-free rolls in the pizzeria’s wood-fired oven – or by the piece. (The chicken is available as tenders, wings and a whole Maryland and comes in five different heat levels). On weekends, fried chicken waffles with Canadian maple syrup are also available. It’s not a big menu, certainly, but to Jankovic, quality will always trump quantity.

The former Dome site in Mount Hawthorn has been transformed using a colourful mural from local artist Hans Bruechle of Handbrake Art and a variety of indoor, outdoor and counter seating. To drink, there’s coffee from Filament, kombucha from Kommunity Brew and a house lemon myrtle and rosella iced tea, although guests can also BYO. Jankovic, after all, is all about feeding the community.

Updated: January 13th, 2021

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