It’s been more than a year in the making, but finally the latest and most unlikely outlet in Justin Hemmes’ Merivale restaurant empire, a takeaway chicken shop, opens on Australia Day.
The generically titled “The Chicken Shop” is the Oxford Street brainchild of uber–chef Ben Greeno, who runs the adjacent pub The Paddington.
Greeno, who’s worked in some of the world’s best restaurants, from Noma to Sydney fine diner Momofuku Seiobo, stepped away from fine dining in 2015 to join the Merivale team and opened The Paddington, which has been selling more than 200 rotisserie–roasted chickens a day.
Aside from being the nation’s favourite meat -– Australians now eat around 43kg of chicken annually and that figure is expected to climb to an astonishing 50kg in the next few years -– a number of top chefs have turned their hand to opening chicken outlets, from Luke Mangan’s plans for a chicken burger chain to Belles Hot Chicken.
Greeno promises a little more from his take-away only shop, from sandwiches to rotisserie meats to salads that mean you can get dinner sorted on the way home.
“Sometimes you want nothing more than to grab some takeaway and have an easy night,” he says.
Alongside chook, he’ll be roasting meats and seafood that change daily – ocean trout, pork belly, lamb and beef rumps, and glazed ham.
For lunch it will work as a sandwich bar with combinations such as chicken, jalapeno and pickled carrot, or fish fingers with crushed edamame and yuzu.
“I’ve actually wanted to do a sandwich place for a while,” says Greeno.
Over the past 14 months, Merivale has created its own enclave in Paddington, starting with Greeno’s eatery, which was joined by one of 2016’s hottest openings, Fred’s, un by former Chez Panisse chef Danielle Alvarez, two doors down, with Charlie Parker’s bar in the basement.
The Chicken Shop at 382 Oxford St, Paddington, is the last piece of the puzzle. It will be open from noon to 9.30pm daily.
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