Hot chips, French fries, poutine, pommes frites, wedges. Whatever you call them, deep-fried potatoes have long been a universal comfort food. As a child, there was nothing quite as gratifying as tucking into a bowl of salty, piping-hot chips. But the basic French fry has grown up since then. A number of Sydney chefs are putting their own spin on the dish, adding unique flavours and cultural influences to reinvent the standard. Here are five crazy hot-chip dishes that do fried potatoes like you've never seen before.
Kimchi poutine at Chicken Institute
Leave it to Korean fusion restaurant Chicken Institute to add the strong, garlicky flavours of its national side dish, kimchi, to another cuisine’s version of chips. “Poutine is a Canadian dish, it’s basically fries with gravy sauce and cheese on the top.” says owner and chef Heaven Kim. “We thought fresh kimchi might be too tangy and strong for most tastebuds, so we’ve made it with fried kimchi, which is a little sweeter and has less of that fermented flavour.” A smart move, it seems. “It’s selling really well. The chicken and poutine are kind of the signature dishes at the moment.”
Double D or soft serve and hot chips at Devon on Danks
Nostalgia plays a huge part in the menu at this playful Waterloo eatery, where co-owner and head chef Zachary Tan is re-living his childhood (and that of many others) with a soft-serve and hot-fries combo. “With Devon on Danks, the idea is to have a bit of quirkiness in everything we do. Back when I was in school, we used to go to Macca’s and get soft serve and fries. When we got the soft-serve machine at Devon on Danks we started to do a similar thing and that’s how the Double D special was born,” Tan says. “No one’s really doing it. I wouldn’t even call it a dish – it’s just something people can relate to because they’ve done it before, so we're bringing it back.” The flavour of the moment is mango, but previous pulls have included salted caramel and pandan. Make sure to visit more than once to try new combinations.
Hartsyard poutine at Hartsyard
It may not be authentic, but American chef Gregory Llewellyn is forgiven for tampering with one of Canada’s iconic dishes. “Lots of Canadians wouldn’t call it a poutine, but I think it’s really nice to eat,” says Llewellyn. “It’s hot French fries and the most lush beef. It has a bit of a sour note to it from the vinegar and the cheddar beer sauce rounds everything out. Then we do crispy fried spring onions on top which adds a sweetness,” he says. But the heart and soul that goes into the gravy makes this dish a cut above. “It’s beef-shin gravy, roasted and braised with smoked tomato, red-wine vinegar, beef-neck bones, cow's feet, burnt onions, burnt celery and stewed very slowly overnight,” he says. “We make a vintage cheddar and beer sauce. Instead of using milk, we use a little bit of cream, then we thin it out with beer.” What's not to love?
Lobster fries at House of Crabs
The majority of menu items at this down-and-dirty, no-holds-barred seafood restaurant are boiled. But owner Jaime Wirth says the lobster fries are an exception. “Obviously, House of Crabs is 90 per cent seafood, so this dish is our attempt at doing a deep-sea chilli fries dish,” says Wirth. “We make a gravy lobster chowder on top of fries. It’s really rich and has that deep seafood taste. Then we add corn, bacon, some shallots and chives, throw on some cheese and melt it down. You can’t go wrong with all those things. That’s the go-to thing that everyone orders as a side. You can put the seafood on your fork and dip it in the sauce and eat it that way, too.”
Sweet potato fries with garlic and lime at Chur Burger
Despite the ingredients remaining relatively understated, it’s the technique that makes this dish standout, says the manager at Chur Burger Surry Hills, Mark Frederick. “They’re hand cut, blanched in the deep fryer for about five minutes on a really low temperature, and then fried to order, where we blanch them a second time on high heat. Sweet potato is a really nice vegetable and it’s just something that works. When we serve them up we add garlic and lime salt. We peel some lime, dehydrate it and then blitz it up with some dried garlic, garlic powder, salt and fresh lime over the top. It’s just delicious,” says Frederick.