Hold onto your hats, fried chicken lovers! Patrick Friesen of Papi Chulo fame is heading up the new fried chicken and noodle popup at Work In Progress (50 King Street, Sydney) for the duration of March into Merivale and it is all kinds of amazing!
The pop up is inspired by Patrick’s fave late night eats with a menu that is short and sweet and split into 3 sections- Snacks & Veg, Noodles and Fried Chicken. There’s no desserts but word on the street is that his Aunt Helen’s cinnamon buns might appear one day in the not too distant future!
There’s 3 types of fried chicken on the menu which can be ordered by the half serve or the whole chook. Isaac and I snuck out of work to meet Raff for lunch last Thursday and after much deliberation we ordered the Halfies ($30)- half of the Ginger Ninja and half of the Chilli Nuts.
The Ginger Ninja was awesome and pretty much my idea of the perfect fried chicken with a gnarled, rubbly batter and each piece that I ate was super juicy with a light gingery flavour and was just finger licking, lip smackingly delicious. The Chilli Nuts was pretty tame on the spice factor which was awesome for me because I could eat more of the peanut covered chicken. We were also brought a plate of kimchi, pickled daikon and garlic cucumber which I believe you get with each order of fried chicken.
Keen for something nourishing we ordered the Supreme Wonton ($16)- egg noodles with pork & prawn wonton in supreme broth. The noodles are springy, the wontons are fat and juicy and the broth is rich and comforting for the soul. What makes it supreme? Could it be the supreme tastiness of the broth? Or the feeling of supreme happiness after just one spoon? Google tells me a supreme broth is “when chopped meat is added into an already clarified clear stock and further simmered on low heat.” Whatever, cue Iron Chef trumpets theme song: this wonton soup is perfect and reigns supreme!
The Sichuan duck & tofu lo mein ($16) is higher up on the spice charts but the noodles are hearty with fat cubes of tofu and morsels of duck. The sauce is garlicky and peppery and yes spicy, and I couldn’t resist setting my lips a-tingle by slurping the noodles as ladylike as I possibly could.
And then Pat sent us the Fly High ($24)- Pnomh Penh wings with lime and white pepper and with just one bite I was torn between my love of this and the Ginger Ninja! I heart white pepper in pretty much anything and lime just tastes like summers by the beach so yeah this combo totally worked for me. The batter wasn’t as earth shattering as the Ginger Ninja but the flavour was just off the chain and ridiculously addictive.
On a return visit with Helen, Sarah and Viv we try the Agedashi’ish Tofu ($14), the cubes of silken tofu have a crisp batter and are covered in curls upon curls of dried bonito flakes that wave as they make their way towards me.
I would have liked a bit more shallots in the Shallot Pancake ($6) mainly because shallots are awesome but the pancake was still tasty and super crispy.
The Crab Noodles ($16) are pretty as a picture with plump snow crab flesh, neon orange tobiko and a drizzle of shellfish oil over the noodles.
Each table held cutlery and wet towels in recycled coconut milk cans and that hot sauce was pretty spicy but the pain level was bearable even for me, the weakest nub in all the lands.
Hey Pat! Thanks for the tasty eats!
The countdown is on until the popup closes at the end of March so get in quick! WIP is open Mon-Fri: 12pm-3pm and 6-10pm but is closed on the weekends.