Pier Street Charcoal Chicken, 73 Pier Street, Altona. Phone: 9398 6119
According to some people, charcoal chicken is about to “return”.
I concur to the extent of considering charcoal chicken goes unacknowledged for its central role in Australian life – I even think it’s a strong contender for our national dish.
But in other ways, to speak of a “return” is silly – as even the author of the above story admits – as charcoal chicken has nowhere from which to return.
On the downside, I find such ruminations a little disturbing as they conjure up visions of hipsterised charcoal poultry with fussy, over-priced side dishes and a food genre stripped of the spunk that makes it such a favourite.
Never mind – there will always be places that do it right.
Places such as Pier Street Charcoal Chicken.
Everything about this place is old school – the furniture, the salad line-up, the menu, the locals coming and going at a rapid rate.
The food, too, is old school – and very, very good.
This is peak charcoal chicken.
The coleslaw is fine and chopped more finely chopped than is often the case.
The chips are fresh out of the frier and beaut.
The tub of steaming hot gravy is wonderful for chip dipping.
I envisaged that the gravy would super, too, for dipping the dry breast meat.
This proves to be a pleasurable truth – but one that is completely unnecessary.
Here, the breast meat is moist and tender.
Yes – tender!
This is very unusual and to be wildly applauded.
The rest of chicken is equally fine.
The above meal, including a soft drink, costs me a handful of cents above $14.
AND it has been served on real crockery attended by metal cutlery.