Hot Star Revisit #2 with The Captain

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The Captain and the Cluckmaster have been planning a crispy adventure for a while now ever since the chicken scene did a review of Hot Star, where the cluckers were the heroes. It was right before the long weekend and right about time for the Captain to bite off a spicy taste of the Melbourne Fried Chicken scene.

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We arrived there, placed in a cluckload order of crispy chooks and snapped away a few photos and waited for our golden prizes. We got a bag of the chicken bites and an order of the original both served spicy.

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We found a couple of seats on Swanston St and sunk our teeth into our food. The Captain really enjoyed his meal as it was quite tender, juicy and steamy, all signs of a freshly fried chook.

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It was a great adventure that both The Cluckmaster and The Captain enjoyed and they both agreed that Hot Star was a very good contender in the Melbourne Fried Chicken scene.

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PS: Hollywood revisited Hot Star later at night with the Tan after sinking in a few cold ones and it was still really good. Keep em cluckers coming Hot Star!

Rating: 8.5/10 Clucks

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

Hawaiian Fried Chicken

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Best of Honolulu 2012 - Ray's Fried Chicken

Best of Honolulu 2012 – Ray’s Fried Chicken

Hollywood and The Chick were in Hawaii taking some well deserved time off with family and friends. The trip involved birthday celebrations, surfing, tasty shrimp trucks, swimming with dolphins and turtles, kayaking and, yes you guessed it, some Hawaiian Fried Chicken. We made time for two tasty excursions for Ono fried chicken and the more classic southern style.

Waikane Store – Ono fried chicken

We were staying in Hau’ula along the Eastern shore of Oahu. We noticed an “Ono fried chicken” sign on the Kamehameha Highway and we decided to see how it compares to our beloved Melbourne Fried Chicken.

Waikane Store - "Ono" Fried Chicken and Famous "Sushi". Keep your eye out or you'll miss the sign on your way to the Big Waves on the North Shore

Waikane Store – “Ono” Fried Chicken and Famous “Sushi”. Keep your eye open or you’ll miss the sign on your way to the Big Waves on the North Shore

We asked for an order of the fried chicken to share and skipped the spam sushi which was also on offer. It was served in a small paper container consisting of 4 small thigh pieces with plastic wrapping.

"Ono" Fried Chicken wrapped up in the s basket with the Famous "Sushi"

“Ono” Fried Chicken wrapped up in the s basket with the Famous Spam “Sushi” – that ain’t a slice of tuna!

The deboned chicken seemed pan fried because the bottom was a bit blackened and crispy compared to the top. The chicken pieces were the right amount of greasy and had a bit of a sweet taste which we enjoyed. It seemed to be cooked earlier in the day and reheated but that didn’t stop it from being full of yumminess.

The pieces were small, but with a good amount of meet and light coating of sauce. There was no seating - so we ate on the boot.

There was no seating – so we ate on the boot.

A sweet piece of Korean? Fried Chicken.

A sweet piece of Korean? Fried Chicken.

We were told that the recipe is an old Korean family recipe but it didn’t seem like any Korean Fried Chicken we’ve ever had. The Chick felt it tasted more like roasted chicken than fried, probably because the skin wasn’t very crispy.

We paired the savoury chicken with a couple of sweet bananas from the near by fruit stand which had an authentic roadside stink of old cigarettes and was run by a gravelly voiced old woman. We definitely recommend grabbing a quick cluck from this road side market if you are travelling the East coast of Oahu.

Sweet mini-bananas. Perfect combo.

Sweet mini-bananas. Perfect combo.

Roadside fruit stands were our favorite stops on this tour.

Roadside fruit stands were our favorite stops on this tour.

Just watch for wild cluckers when parking, they need those for the next batch.

Ray’s Cafe

We came to know about Ray’s Cafe through the webby web (Yelp) and after reading so many positive reviews we decided we had to get a taste of their fried chooks.

Door Open = Open. Door Closed = Closed. Gotta love the simplicity.

Door Open = Open. Door Closed = Closed. Gotta love the simplicity.

Ray’s is located on North King St in Honolulu in a very local neighbourhood with no parking. It’s a hole in the wall with humongous portions sizes. The menu on the wall boasts the best of diner fare: greasy breakfast plates, steaks, ribs, burgers, ahi tuna steaks, a lobster special, and of course – fried chicken. There were options for family-sized buckets, but we opted for a single serving.

The Specials all sounded wonderful and looked filling.

The Specials all sounded wonderful and looked filling.

For the family.

For the family.

We opted for the small portion - without the Hamburger Steak.

We opted for the small portion – without the Hamburger Steak.

While waiting for the main, we received a bowl of fresh, crisp lettuce and a squeeze bottle of ranch dressing. The Chick was thrilled as it satisfied her craving for green foods.

American version of a salad - we skipped the bottle of ranch dressing, and found the lettuce was crisp and refreshing.

American version of a salad – we skipped the bottle of ranch dressing, and found the lettuce was crisp and refreshing.

While waiting we saw plates of ahi tuna steaks and macaroni salad (Hawaiian specialty) go by and watched a man dig into a huge steak with classic crinkle fries in a basket. The chicken can be paired with steak, but our order of fried chicken consisted of 3 big, very hot, thigh pieces with two mounds of white rice. The chicken was single coated and very crispy, almost no breading, but the skin was perfectly fried. It was so hot that we had to let it rest for a bit to cool down. We struggled between burning fingers and the desire to bite in, and in the end had to use a fork. Extra points for truly fresh cooking, it was worth the wait. We added a bit of tabasco sauce to get a bit of kick, but the chicken was tasty on its own. Overall the pieces were big, juicy, and steamy and we enjoyed our experience at Ray’s. Hollywood has his eyes set on the Ray’s ribs and cheeseburgers for the next visit.

The rice was perfect - and the chicken was finger burning fresh.

The rice was perfect – and the chicken was finger burning fresh.

The chicken was so hot we had to resort to a fork - the chicken came off a bit stringy, but didn't taste dry.

The chicken was so hot we had to resort to a fork – the chicken came off a bit stringy, but didn’t taste dry.

The skin was not overly spiced, so a little hot sauce kicked it up a notch.

The skin was not overly spiced, so a little hot sauce kicked it up a notch.

Plenty of hot chicken and very crispy skin.

Plenty of hot chicken and very crispy skin.

Ray’s is like a Classic American greasy spoon with Hawaiian and Asian touches which all made for a unique culinary experience. Certainly worth a trip off the beach, but beware, you may lose your beach-ready bod along the way.

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Miss Katie’s Crab Shack, Needs Some Shaking Up

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Hollywood and the gang went to check out Miss Katie’s Crab Shack and see how she ranks in the Melbourne Fried Chicken scene. Miss Katie’s was formerly known as Dr Juicy Jay’s. Dr. Juicy Jay’s did rank well when the chicken scene hit it up for a review the first time so we were very eager to see if Katie could do better than the Doctor.

We ordered a whole bunch food consisting of the buffalo wings which were on special, the bucket of prawns, the crab, and the fried chicken. The wings were really good however seemed to be overpriced standing at 16$ for 6 full wing pieces, seriously, what the falafel?!

We were turned off by the prawns being cold and they no longer were served in the chili lemon sauce that the doctor perfected. The crab boil was ok for what it is, but moving on it was the chicken we were here to cluck.

The chicken no longer came as a sea of tender pieces but rather 6 pieces of chicken on the bone. The spices were good however Hollywood was majorly disappointed to find out that the drumstick wasn’t properly cooked all the way. Parts of it were on the raw side and very chewy. This was a first for the chicken scene.

Conclusion: Out of all the places we reviewed so far none have served us uncooked chicken. Miss Katie, you need to shape up because the magic the Juicy Dr had going for the crab shack seems to have disappeared!

Hollywood’s Rating: 1.5/10 Clucks

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Miss Katie's Crab Shack on Urbanspoon

Mr. Miyagi – Do MFC

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The cluckaholics were told about Mr. Miyagi’s from a couple of good friends and has been on the cluck list for a while now. We finally managed to tee up a time to try out another Melbourne Fried Chicken contender labelled as MFC (Miyagi’s Fried Chicken)

Mr M. menus each came with different pop culture icons on the back.

Mr M. menus each came with different pop culture icons on the back.

Mr Miyagi is Chapel street’s response to Asian fusion style restaurants like Chin Chin and Miss Chu. Its style can be categorized as modern Japanese. The place is funky and stylish with more tapas size servings. It also boasts a modern bar atmosphere with its fancy cocktails and fun stylish artsy decorations.

A great barman who wears a Japanese bandana and sports tattoos on bulging arms serves up good drinks to complement the meal. Including some pricy Japanese whiskeys

A great barman who wears a Japanese bandana and sports tattoos on bulging arms serves up good drinks to complement the meal. Including some pricy Japanese whiskeys

We arrived and immediately ordered drinks plus a few starters to get us going while we waited for our comrades. The starters were a serve of Edamame with dehydrated shiso salt, spicy pickles (kim chi) and some sweet potato crisps accompanied with an eggplant dip which sat well with all of us.

Chips, Edamame, Kim Chi - served up with a unique style

Chips, Edamame, Kim Chi – served up with a unique style

The Chick ordered a Hello Kitty Sour (Lychee and Vodka) drink which was topped with egg white and served in a funky glass. Not too sour, but a tasty beverage.

Hello Kitty Sour - it was pink and given a cute name, too hard to resist

Hello Kitty Sour – it was pink and given a cute name, too hard to resist

For our mains we went for two orders of the 6 piece MFC (Miyagi Fried Chicken), Black Pig Gyoza, and mushroom skewers. The mushrooms were juicy and full of good flavours. The black pig gyoza had a more meaty texture than typical gyozas which we all enjoyed. The Chick beat back the competition and claimed the fifth black pig on the plate.

Mushroom skewers were nicely done

Mushroom skewers were nicely done

The MFC came in a take away container for extra character and consisted of 6 small wingettes and drummettes. It was cooked fresh, hot and steamy but wasn’t spiced at all, bummer! MFC came with a side of japanese style mayo which did a bit more flavour but certainly made the chicken heavier and a touch sweet. The serve was on the smallish side which didn’t sit well with the Cluckmaster.

MFC makes its appearance in a unique serving dish

MFC makes its appearance in a unique serving dish

We still felt hungry so we went for a large order of Nigri and Sashimi combo which was more shashimi than sushi (only 3 on rice). But overall was good and the Japanese kingfish was very fresh – the only one that gave the Chick flashbacks to Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.

Round 3

Round 3

We finished off the night by ordering Miyagi’s apple pie made with granny and fuji apples, nashi pear and creme fraiche ice cream and the Kabocha pumpkin toast which was a white chocolate and pumpkin ganache, honeycomb, yoghurt sorbet and pumpkin ice cream. Both desserts were really good especially the Kabocha pumpkin toast which offered a tantalizing array of rich pumpkin flavors. The Chick was in heaven with the flavors of autumn dessert that reminds her of Thanksgiving.

Round 4 - Finish Him!

Round 4 – Finish Him!

Overall, Mr. Miyagi’s is a cool joint to hang out at however it’s chicken is not the best in Melbourne by our standards. It is worth it if your an in the area and are feeling a funky atmosphere. Having said that we still think that there are better options in that hood that can provide a crispier, and most importantly, spicier experience. You can find them on our Wall Of Clucks.

Wise words from Mr. M

Wise words from Mr. M

Hollywood’s Rating: 5/10 Clucks

The Chick’s Rating: 6.5/10 Clucks

Mr. Miyagi on Urbanspoon

Hot Star – Where the Chicken is the Hero

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Hollywood (A.K.A Cluckmaster) had been aware of a new Melbourne Fried Chicken clucker that is to be reckoned with calling itself the Hot Star. He has been talking up the potential of this contender to the Chick who was wary of the fast food style and what it might imply about the quality.

Thankfully, Hot Star surprised and delighted with a new take on a favorite food. Apparently our reputation as Melbourne Fried Chicken connisours preceded us, so after snapping a few photos out the front we were invited into the kitchen to see how the magic was made.

The chicken is marinated for a day before being coated in, wait for it, tapioca flour! Apparently this is all the rage in Taiwan, and the Swanston  location is the first outlet of the franchise in Australia. It sounded a bit odd, but after a bite, it was clear to the chick that a new style had been invented that was worth note. It is not as crispy as Southern Fried Chicken, the tapioca gives it a bit of a spongier/sweeter note. But they are coming out with a crispierr version that sounds worth a second visit.

The chicken is a single breast piece, cut by dedicated professionals to get the maximum surface area. You’ll know what I mean when you are handed your breast in a bag that seems  bigger than your head. There are the occasional bones left in for flavor, but otherwise it is a smooth piece of breading and chicken. The Chick isn’t a big fan of fast food, but this was fast, fresh and full of  flavor.

The frying is done in real time from fresh (not frozen) chicken, so there’s a bit of a wait after you order, but it is worth it. The chicken comes out steamy, not too greasy and the unique tapioca breading a perfect golden color. The original version comes coated in salt and pepper, there is also a spicy version with a bit of  chilli powder sprinkled on top, a hint of flavor, easy to swallow for those who can’t handle their spice. The Chick preferred the original but dipped in chilli sauce found next door at Rice Paper.

The sweet potato fries are not always available because they are made with a wet batter and take longer, but they are worth it. And if the other wet batter items coming (crispy chicken, mushrooms) are anything like the potatoes, then we’ll be back.

Conclusion:  Even if you tend to avoid fast food joints, but love fresh fried food, Hot Star is for you. $9 a bag makes this one of the best cost/flavor combo we’ve found in Melbourne. It also sat well with the cluckmaster as a great on-the-go meal. Thumbs up!

Hollywood’s Rating: 7/10 Clucks

The Chick’s Rating: 8/10 Clucks

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Hot Star Large Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

The Collection fails to Cluck

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Our Christmas break was full of sunshine and good food. We had a free evening and hoped to discover another great Melbourne Fried Chicken place close to home, but we ended up with good atmosphere and disappointing fare at The Collection in Richmond.

The Collection Signage

The space is the right size and the decorations and long bar made The collection a good place to hang out. The noise level was high from all the fellow patrons, giving the place a bit of a buzz. The waiter was attentive and quick with the drink menu. The Chick ordered a Side Car after being told the bartender could do anything. It came with sugar on the rim and everything!

Long Bar @ Collection

Well stocked bar

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Mac and Cheese Coquettes

Louisiana Fried Chicken

Louisiana Fried Chicken

Our food order consisted of Louisiana Fried Chicken (main), fried Mac n’ Cheese (entree), and the pulled pork sliders (main).

The Mac n’ Cheese and sliders came first. There were 4 rectangles or fried cheesiness and they were sadly a bit over fried and dry. They weren’t nearly cheesy flavored enough, but there was a chipotle mayo on the side that gave them a bit of flavor. The sliders were pretty good, the buns were a bit too dry, but each came with a mini onion ring for an extra crunch and the sauce on the pork was sweet and tasty. These were the Chick’s favorite of the dishes.

Mac and Cheese Croquettes, a bit too crisp.

Mac and Cheese Croquettes, a bit too crisp. Good spicy sauce.

Macaroni inside the fried croquettes.

Macaroni inside the fried croquettes.

Pork sliders with a mini onion ring!

Pork sliders with a mini onion ring!

The Louisiana Fried Chicken order came shortly after the entrees but was a sad little chicken breast. Before we could complain, the waiter offered his apologies for the serving size and explained that a second serving was in the making to compensate.

The chicken certainly doesn't dominate the plate. A very wimpy "main"

The chicken certainly doesn’t dominate the plate. A very wimpy “main”

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A bit of chicken dipped in blue cheese sauce. Hit the spot for Hollywood, didn’t work for the Chick.

The first serve was fresh, but too thin, the breading had a good spice, but not that crunchy and seemed a bit dry because the chicken was so thin. It had clearly just came out of the frier, so it was nicely hot. The beans on the side were good, mostly kidney beans, a little bit of ham hock, with a thick sauce on the sweet side. There was a blue cheese sauce that Hollywood enjoyed, but the Chick felt that it was the wrong side for a low spice dish. The hot sauces on the table – especially the Habenero offered a nice kick.

Homemade hot sauces gave a much needed kick. The Habenero was very edible, not a chili challenge.

Homemade hot sauces gave a much needed kick. The Habenero was very edible, not a chili challenge.

The second order was hot, dry, and more salty than spicy. It was a thicker piece of breast, but still not big enough to be a proper main dish. The first one had more flavor and the second order seemed to have been thrown together rather than a showcase of their best fried chicken. The Chick and Hollywood used the hot sauce to make it through.

Second order, thicker breast, but lacking in the spices the first order had

Second order, thicker breast, but lacking in the spices the first order had

In summary, the food is certainly edible, but only worth it if you are going for the drinks or because you’re in the neighborhood.

Hollywood rating – 4.5/10 Clucks

Chick rating – 4/10 Clucks, 8/10 for the cocktails

The Collection on Urbanspoon