Thirsty Bird is a Southern American fried chicken spot from Sam Horowitz, the co-creator and chef at Oxford Street’s late-night, pork eatery, Mr Crackles.
The inaugural shop has five stools, which are all squeezed into the shop’s front bar. Otherwise there’s just a see-through counter with a production line of hurried chefs and a blackboard selling waffle chips, chicken burgers and fried chicken by piece.
The fried chicken is among the most thickly battered in Sydney. Fans of the Southern American style will love it; it’s salty, classically spiced and retains its crunch for an impressively long amount of time post-fry. It’s buttermilk based, brined for a day, dried out in a cool room for 12–24 hours. Then it’s battered, buttermilk-ed and battered again.
The same style is available with slaw in a burger wrapped by soft milk buns from Barby’s, Chinatown (like a smaller version of Breadtop). Alternatively, the juicy chook is prepped katsu-style in a burger with Kewpie mayonnaise and cabbage, grilled in a club sandwich with BLT. Or it replaces beef in a classic American burger with cheese and pickles. It can come with a particularly creamy variety of coleslaw; mac‘n’cheese; mash and gravy; or waffle fries.