Bird & Burger, 9 Napier Street, Essendon. Phone: 9090 7265
Bird & Burger lives in a premises long previously occupied by a similar operation with different management.
But this new lot are doing more than maintaining the location’s chicken shop tradition – they’re doing so splendidly.
Here be fast food that really is fresh and delicious.
The interior is mostly black and white, with eat-in seating options down to stools and a bench on one wall and a handful of snazzy ottomans facing the front window and another bench.
There are, however, tall tables and more stools outside.
My heart sinks a little when I see the plastic cutlery atop one of counters, fearing these useless tool may be served with my chicken.
Not only am I supplied with metal cutlery, my meal is presented on a black platter, with chips and coleslaw in similarly angular bowls.
It all looks marvellous.
Tastes that way, too.
The chips ($3.95) are hot, liberally salted and fine.
The admission price of $6.50 for my coleslaw seems, at first blush, a little steep for what I’m thinking is just a side dish to a chicken meal.
But here’s the thing – it is worth every cent.
In fact, I’ll call it right here and now – this is quite possibly the best coleslaw I’ve ever had in a chook shop.
Made mostly of red cabbage, and boasting subtle whiffs of tarragon and dill, it is well dressed without being sopping, has crunch yet is pliable – and is 100 per cent wonderful.
My chicken falls into the “Yes, It Can Be Done” category.
That’s right – even the very heart of the breast meat is as juicy as the rest of it.
My half bird ($10.50) is marinated in the mild chilli sauce that is chosen from a list that also includes lemon and herbs, crunchy creamed peanut and outback BBQ.
All is beaut and succulent.
The classic beef burger ($12.50) comes from a menu that includes two other beef burgers, five chicken burgers and a lamb edition.
Our burger’s lettuce, tomato, red onion, tomato relish and herb aioli are joined – upon request – by excellent bacon for which no charge is levied.
The beef patty is nicely charry and superbly seasoned with – I’m guessing here, as the staff mumble something about “top secret” when quizzed – oregano and other goodies.
Every aspect of this burger is an outright winner.
If CTS used points, I’d deduct one for the fact that this burger is such a gloriously messy handful that I resort, in the end, to eating it with a knife and fork.
But in this case, I care not because everything is just so damn tasty.
Bird & Burger is a fine establishment.
CTS metaphorically clicks its heels as it saunters back to the car.