Essendon Charcoal Chicken, 6 Napier Street, Essendon. Phone: 9078 3270
Consider The Sauce is told that business at Essendon Charcoal Chicken is way down ever since a certain AFL club uprooted and moved its training activities elsewhere.
That’s a shame, as right here on Napier Street and around the corner on Fletcher there’s a number eating establishment that look well worthy of exploration.
As is it is, I’m waylaid by Essendon Charcoal Chicken as I’m ostensibly on my way to lunch at an A1 place right across the road.
At first glance, this looks very much like just another charcoal chicken shop, right down to potato cakes in the bain marie.
Look just a little closer, though … and it’s clear there’s much more going on.
Lilydale free range chooks, for starters.
A salad lineup that a whole heap more attractive than the gloopy coleslaw usually found in chicken shops.
Roast spuds looking gorgeous and scented with rosemary and salt.
Some great looking lamb going round and round above the charcoal, sharing that space with the poultry.
And – finally – the chooks themselves, looking sensational and crusted with herbs.
My superb-looking lunch (pictured at top) of half a chicken, roast spuds and salad costs a very fine $12.90.
The chicken tastes just as good as it looks, though in truth the guts of the breast meat is dry.
Some gravy or condiments are needed here.
If anything, my sides are the highlight.
The spud chunks and divine and fall-apart tender.
The fresh, crunchy salad of all sorts of things is wonderfully dressed.