Eating lunch in the heart of the CBD can be an expensive business. Popping up at the corner of Market Street and Clarence Street just over a month ago, Gami Chicken & Beer, seem set to change all that with their thirteen-buck lunch menu.
Spicy Chicken Fried Rice ($13) arrives as a steaming mound of red rice on a cast iron pan with a small piece of chicken katsu drizzled in a likeable Bulldog-style katsu sauce. The rice is sparse on actual chicken, but I like the slowly building spice level, easily tamed by the accompanying (slightly overdressed) mixed leaf salad.
Up here at the big end of town, Gami Chicken & Beer’s décor is slightly fancier, with a soaring entry and green wall under the skylights that let you view the tower above. A communal table sits under dangling repurposed wood and a cluster of naked Edison bulbs. The rest of the space has the trademark blue and yellow corrugated iron and a long street-art style mural by Brolga that continues up onto the ceiling.
Even when seated in the lower-ceiling rear, the whole effect is bright, airy and colourful, aided by a sunny young floor team who seem genuinely interested when they ask if you liked your meal.
While I suggest following the name and sinking a sneaky, on-tap Murray’s Whale Ale ($6/300ml) with your chicken lunch, there are also a cheap range of Korean juices. Crushed Pear ($2.80) tastes just like it sounds: juicy, crushed, creamy sweet pears.
While it’s slightly too sweet on its own for me, it’s great against spice, like the Tteokbokki ($14) cooked in gochujang from the regular menu. Under stretchy Mozzarella Cheese (+$2) the mix of stir-fried chewy Korean rice cakes, thin tofu-like fish cake, vegetables and noodles, belies its size with a stick-to-your-ribs satisfaction that will see you right through afternoon snack o’clock.
The only dish that I was so-so about was their Gami Chicken Burger & Chips ($15.50). It arrived a good ten minutes after my dining companion’s meal and lacked any zingy appeal. The crispy chicken thigh fillet was sandwiched between lightly toasted buns, dressed with a virtually tasteless cheese sauce and a scattering of cabbage and apple ‘slaw. The accompanying handful of thick cut wedges were fractionally undercooked and thus more work than pleasure. This burger certainly didn’t look (or taste) as visually delicious as their advertising made out it would be.
Gami Chicken & Beer
Shop 3, 44 Market Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9262 3000