The Melbourne restaurant offered a taster of its Nashville-style fried chicken during a nine-month pop-up at Barangaroo. It was only a chick compared to the hen that’s just landed.

Belles Hot Chicken, the harbourside, fast-casual, 115-seat eatery, will serve chicken waffles on weekends; chicken ribs in a peach-barbeque sauce; hot clams from Cloudy Bay; and sandwiches, including its famous Zinger-inspired spicy fried chicken sambo. The latter is a halal-certified, skin-on thigh fillet with shredded lettuce, onion and special sauce on a spongy, lightly toasted milk bun.

“We just did that same sandwich for 450 people over in Denmark for Rene Redzepi’s MAD food festival,” co-owner and chef Morgan McGlone says. “The most important thing with fried chicken is consistency. I mean, the Colonel never has a bad day. Yeah, KFC doesn’t tick all the boxes – it’s not carbon-neutral, free-range or sustainable. But as a consistent business doing consistent fried chicken, they are still pretty much one of the benchmarks. I might go and get some right now.”

With RivaReno Gelato opening next door, Belles has opted to leave soft-serves off the menu. And like its Melbourne restaurants, the drink list is dominated by craft beers and natural wines by local producers, some with a zero sulfur and preservative count.

“I always knew we were going to open a restaurant in Sydney, so we’ve been cellaring some bottles for nearly two and a half years now,” McGlone says. “We’ve got a subterranean storeroom two levels down; we’re going to have some back-vintage stuff which is very good.”

Just a few weeks later the fifth Belles outpost will open at the Harold Park Tramsheds. McGlone hopes to spend 2017 working on collaborations rather than launching more restaurants. The last one was with Melbourne’s Lune Croissanterie for that internet-breaking chicken and foie gras creation either.

“It was so good – everyone went loose. We’d love to do that in Sydney once we’re settled in.”

Belles Hot Chicken Barangaroo
33 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo NSW 2000

Hours:
Mon to Sat 12pm–11pm
Sunday 12pm–10pm

belleshotchicken.com