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

Lo-Lo’s Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles

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Hollywood and The Chick’s epic US trip ended with a stop at Phoenix Arizona’s well reviewed Lo-Lo’s Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles. We picked this place to see how Melbourne Fried Chicken compared to the real southern deal (Arizona is close enough, right?).

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We arrived in the middle of a scorching summer day and found that the place was packed. We accepted outdoor seating, and we were the only ones brave enough to eat without air conditioning. Hollywood ordered 3 pieces of southern fried chicken, with sides of mac n cheese, collared greens, and corn bread with whipped butter. Drinks came in large canning jars with plenty of ice. The Chick decided to share rather than face an American portion solo.

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The food arrived fast. The chicken was cooked well but wasn’t spiced enough and resembled more fast food style fried chicken (KFC). It was hot and steamy and well coated. The breast piece was a bit dry which confirmed our theories of fast food style of cooking. The mac n cheese was creamy but the macaroni was a bit overcooked. The Chick reckons the collard greens were average and the cornbread was too dry and not spicy enough. Perhaps the Waffles are where it’s at, but we may never know.

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The wait staff moved us inside for dessert and finished off our experience with a slice of Red Velvet Cake, which was proudly advertised out front. The cake was a bit dry but the nutty frosting left the Chick’s sweet tooth satisfied, if not impressed.

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Overall much better than Route 66, but still nothing compared to foodie experiences back home.

Rating: 5.5/10 Clucks