The red plastic baskets of Belles Hot Chicken look delicious, and are flying out from behind the steel shutters of this Wulugul Pop Up outlet.
This Melbourne-originating foodie drawcard is designed to lure us down to Barangaroo, and neatly forget any objections to yet another casino seemingly exempt from Liberal Party Lockout Laws.
And on appearance alone, the Really Hot Wings ($16.00) served with Fries ($5.00) dusted red with Old Bay seasoning, quietly filling up your Instagram feed, are likely to achieve just that – acceptance by stealth.
In the eating however, the plump wings stay blisteringly hot from the crisply sealed coating, and tend to feel a bit slimy inside. The fries are a salt-bath, so I’d suggest taking up Almost Arnold’s Beans ($5.00) or the mayo. heavy Coleslaw ($5.00) as your free side.
Mixed Pickles ($5.00) turned yellow by turmeric are useful to cut all the fat, but would benefit from a smidgen of balancing sweetness.
If you’ve chosen to dine from the hotter end of the menu board, you’re going to want Belle’s Ranch ($2.00) or Blue Cheese Dressing ($2.00) to take the sting out – the heat is legitimate and a real creeper, so consider yourself amply warned.
Belle’s Chicken Ribs ($13) with scallions and peach BBQ sauce summon distant memories of sweet and sour suburban Chinese, doubling up on nostalgia by being served on a juice-catching slice of processed white bread.
Though this long-term pop up (finishes August 2016) is unlicensed, it’s perfectly placed to enjoy with appropriately fruit-rich cocktails from Gin & It next door.
Belles Hot Chicken
Wulugul Walk, The Streets of Barangaroo, Sydney