The Chick had a work trip scheduled to Sydney, so the decision was made see how Melbourne Fried Chicken compares to Sydney’s. We did an online search and found that a good contender would be Jazz City Diner. We discovered that the diner was closed to add authentic BBQ capability, but thankfully the sister branch Milk Bar was open and serving the essential menu items.
It took a bit of effort to find the place (google maps lead us a stray). The Jazz City Milk Bar is on Palmer Lane, Darlinghurst, in a little square with other hopping dining establishments and no signage. It was a small popular place that has most of its seating outside on white plastic furniture. It would have been good to see their main location at Jazz City Diner as it seats more people. Be sure to a make a reservation if you want to sit, especially for the weekend.
We were lucky to have two good friends (from the USA) joining us so we could order more than our normal two dishes. The menu boasted many exciting options. After a long discussion amongst ourselves and heaps of consultations from our friendly waiter we ordered the Ultimate Texas chili cheese burger with tortilla crisps, the southern fried chicken burger with creole fries, the macoroni & cheese as a side, and the southern fried chicken and waffle. We were on the verge of ordering the Jamaican jerk BBQ wings, with onion rings but held off.
The Ultimate Texas chili cheese burger had Texas style spicy beef chili, a beef patty, cheese lettuce, mayo, pickle, relish, guacamole, jalapeño chilies, fried tortilla crisps, and cumin mayo; All the ingredients to make it a sloppy burger that hit the spot.
Hollywood felt that the southern fried chicken burger lacked the taste of the chicken breading. The chicken itself was well cooked, not too dry or greasy and was covered in a tasty tobasco mayo. The bun did seem to overwhelm the chicken burger a bit, so maybe a bigger slice of chicken wouldve been better. The Chick isn’t usually a chicken burger fan but found this one above average. Still it was not her favorite item on the menu because of the fluffy bun.
The macaroni & cheese was extremely good. It was just a side, but was packed with classic cheesy goodness. It didn’t have a thick top crust, but rather a sprinkle of breadcrumbs that was given a quick bake.
Finally, the main event: The chicken and waffle consisted of two big pieces of chicken which were a thigh/drumstick and breast. The waffle was large and thick and came in a traditional round shape with maple syrup in the perfect little pitcher. The chicken was tender, hot, double coated and had the right crispy crunch. The coating was spicy, but not overly so, Hollywood felt it needed more spice. The Chick embraced the sweet/savory experience and merged the waffle, syrup and chicken bites so she didn’t notice the lack of spice. Since the serving was split 4 ways, we each got only about 3 bites. After the plates were cleared, the flavors were so good, we all craved another taste, and the order of wings we avoided at the beginning was put in.
The Jamaican jerk BBQ wings came with onion rings and were delivered personally by the friendly owner. The Chick reckons these were the best rings she has had since coming to Australia. Not too greasy, just the right amount of breading to onion ratio. We were so excited to dive in that we forgot to take a photo, and we were so engrossed in the spicy flavor we didn’t stop till only bones and crumbs were left.
Finally our friend ordered a shake which he had been craving for months and hadn’t found a proper experience in Sydney yet. Jazz City delivered, but the straw was too small and no spoons were available takeaway.
The surprising thing was not feeling to full after a sizable spread. The Chick felt the portions were perfect – not really American sized, but that’s a good thing. The prices were Australian sized, $24 for a plate of chicken and waffles. But since it was better than your average diner, we have to say it was worth it.
We were full of joy when the owner mentioned that a Melbourne expansion was on his mind. Bring it on, Melbourne needs more diners of this caliber!
Hollywood Rating: 8.5/10 Clucks
The Chick Rating: 9/10 Clucks