Saturday, January 7, 2017

Meat Candy - simple yet superb "Southern Comfort" food!

Meat Candy, located at 465 William Street (corner of William Street and Brisbane Street in Northbridge, Western Australia) is a compelling place.

Having heard about it from a friend and then reading Max Veenhuyzen's write-up about it in Broadsheet, I jumped at the first opportunity to check it out, which was its first night of trading for the year on 7 January 2017; I thought it would be the perfect early (and quick) dinner before I headed over to the Ellington Jazz Club to listen to Perth saxophonist Jamie Oehlers play some old jazz favourites.

The Broadsheet article mentioned that one of the owners, Ben Atkinson, used to be the chef at The Old Crow, whose simple yet delicious food I have thoroughly enjoyed on many occasions!

The place was well staffed and nobody waited to be served - in keeping with the American diner feel of the bar/entrance area, the staff were efficient and polite but not overly solicitous, which is how I like it.  Dining solo, I sat at the front bar, which sported a stack of moscow mule copper cups, hipster hairstyles (mullets and male hair-buns) and an UberEats back awaiting collection.

What I love about this place is that it doesn't try to be all things to everyone - it's about "Southern Comfort" food (ironically, that's the one thing you won't find on the drinks list, although they have a range of seriously good rye whiskey), and the food menu only occupies one-half of an A4-size menu, with the remainder (and the reverse side) taken up by the drinks list.

The fried chicken beckoned to me, so I ordered it hot (it comes in 3 heat choices: southern, medium or hot - no half measures for me).  The Broadsheet article reported that there is a fourth secret "you're an idiot" heat level, but I decided to save that experience for next time.
 I'm not one for fruit drinks, but since I didn't feel like a beer and wine or spirits didn't feel right with a chicken, I went for the house-made watermelon soda spiked with a shot of vodka.  Refreshing indeed!

The fried chicken was a sight to behold - a glistening, crunchy looking chicken haunch (well that's what it is isn't it?) served on a super-thick slab of white bread (which I understand as baked on-premise) and topped with three generous slices of pickled cucumber, impaled together by a bamboo skewer in the fashion of a hipster burger.

The first thing I have to say is that the skin on this thing was utterly perfect.  No soggy bits, with every bite yielding a crisply satisfying crunchiness.

The chilli coating was indeed hot (I detected the tang of habanero?) albeit not hot enough to bring beads of sweat to my forehead (I'll have to see how heat level 4 measures up ...), and delightfully savoury.

The meat beneath was tender and juicy, with the "real chicken" flavour of a chook that only had one bad day in its life.

As if that wasn't enough, the verde aioli was light, flavoursome and so delicious that on my first taste, I mentally vowed to wipe the saucer clean.

Since the slice of bread was drenched in the delicious hot sauce, the only right thing to do was to bid goodbye to my slow-carb dietary ambitions and save some meat and a pickle to make a chicken sandwich dressed with the remainder of the aioli.  Delicious!  Finger lickin' good indeed.

There will definitely be another visit in the near future, although I will have a scrounge around for a few friends to join me so that we can order all the other things on the menu.


  1. I love restaurants like these, and feel the same way about Southern food. I wish I would've been able to visit this one, but I might just find something like this in my town. Great review though!

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