Nene Chicken, Highpoint. Phone: 9318 2843
It’s clear that western suburbs have bought massively into Melbourne’s mania for burgers.
The fried chicken thing isn’t quite as manic and our western neighbourhoods have mostly not risen to it charms.
There’s invariably fried chook on hand at charcoal chicken shops, such as the newish Manok, but it often seems like an after-thought. We are never tempted.
But as for any joints specialising in fried chicken of the American, or southern American, tradition … well, nope.
Not so far as we know.
Nene is Korean, too, but we wonder on the drive to it if maybe it’ll constitute a western suburbs fried chicken hot-spot.
The utter folly of going to Highpoint on a 40-degree weekend day less than a week before Christmas proves to be of pleasingly little consequence.
The parking situation is intense.
But once we’re inside, things in general and all the people are surprisingly cool and civilised.
The Nene menu comes with so many variables, it takes us a while to work out what we think will work for us.
Here’s how, in the end, we order:
Kimchi chicken burger (9.95 – on a milk bun with salad, onion, dressing and kimchi with bulgogi sauce.
Regular original fried chicken ($10.94) – four pieces with coleslaw and pickled radish; upsized ($4.95) with chips and a drink.
Extra drink ($3.70).
This all pans out to $29.95 for a satisfactorily sized meal for Bennie and I.
Bennie’s kimchi burger is probably our repast’s highlight – it’s a refreshing change from the many kinds of beef and chook burgers we’ve had this year.
He gives it seven out of 10.
The chicken turns out to be five pieces rather than four – though it must be stated these are very small pieces.
It’s good and non-greasy without being in any way notable.
Despite the small sizes, I am happy for Bennie to have a couple.
His burger was good but it lasted all of a minute.
The cubed and sweetly pickled radish is nice; the coleslaw is rubbish – dry and tasteless.
The chips are fine and there’s plenty for both of us.
Nene Chicken strikes us as being just OK – and a long way short of fried chicken nirvana.
And there are several better options close by in the new Highpoint food precinct.
But it’s still better than the usual Kind of fried chicken grease-fests Found at such shopping Centres.