Kickin’ it old school, it was a mailbox menu flyer that alerted me to the presence of Chicken and Sons at my local pub, the Orange Grove Hotel. Playing around with the items offered up in a standard Aussie chook shop, chef Adam Spencer has honed his menu by popping up in different pubs across numerous Sydney suburbs.
While the bird is the word at this expanding pub grub provider, you’ll also find a popular Angus beef Sunday Roast ($24) with duck fat potatoes, roast veggies, gravy and a Yorkshire pudding that pays homage to the founder’s British heritage.
Tonight we’re here to eat chicken, so we kick off with Peanut Butter and Jelly Wings ($14), which, if I’m honest, I could take or leave. The sauce in particular was a bit satay meets sweet weirdness. I’m not convinced it really went with chicken - I suspect I’d like it more on smoky pulled pig.
I’m more impressed with the Chicken & Sons Signature Buttermilk Fried Chicken Burger ($18). The oil is clean, the bird is crispy, the accompaniments – Cheddar, red cabbage ‘slaw, chipotle aioli and house pickles – are good quality and mostly in balance. Yeah okay, they probably could pull back on the dripping avalanche of red sauce - but if you can’t get your hands sticky in a working class suburban pub, where can you?
Against a bargain six-buck schooner of 4 Pines American Pale Ale, and some fat cut chips, it’s a filling pub dinner.
The Mother Butter Burger ($19) ups the fried buttermilk chicken burger ante using bacon, Cheddar, lettuce, tomato and a tortilla crumble, dousing it all in motherclucker hot sauce.
This is a great hot sauce that says habanero to me. It’s hot. It’s tasty. It’s great on chips; but you might need a bracing Glenlivet ($8.50) and soothing creamy spoonful of Truffle Mac’n’Cheese ($9) to put out the fire in your hole.
While I can't say they’re the best chicken burgers I’ve ever eaten (I like juicier bird) the serves are generous, the cooking is clean, the setting is informal and relaxed, and the booze is cheap.
It wasn't a grease-fest either, so I’m likely to return one day to smash that Sunday roast. Not a bad food operator collaboration for my suburban local, which last attracted my business in 2011.
Chicken & Sons
Orange Grove Hotel
312 Balmain Road, Lilyfield
Ph: (02) 9810 2835