Fried chicken is nothing new to Melbourne: we’ve got the spicy Nashville variety, Southern fried buttermilk chicken, thin-skinned Korean wings and a lot more. Thankfully, this hasn’t deterred Raph Rashid. The man who has given us All Day Donuts, Beatbox Kitchen and Taco Truck has opened Juanita Peaches – a chicken and burros joint tucked away inside All Day Donuts.
Juanita Peaches doesn’t try too hard in the décor department – a few well-placed plants here and there, light blue laminex and ’80s pink napkins that recall scenes from Sixteen Candles. The service is polite and unfussy; this, combined with a small but buzzy crowd and an old-school hip-hop soundtrack, makes for cheery dining.
A pared-back menu reflects the no-frills mentality Rashid has built up during his years in the food truck business. Alongside the chicken, there is a selection of burros (a smaller cousin of the burrito, which sees fresh, crunchy slaw, spiced black beans, cheese and grilled onions wrapped in soft, warm flatbread) and Rashid’s renowned doughnuts and Jocks ice cream for dessert. Drinks offerings are simple: Rockies lemonade, a few wines described on the menu as ‘white’, ‘other white’ and ‘red’, and two types of tinnies: Melbourne Bitter and Mornington Pale.
But really, you’re coming here for the chicken: crisp on the outside, tender and tangy on the inside. Try it with horseradish cream and chilli vinegar, but make sure you save some as a dipping sauce for the obligatory side of fries and slaw. You’ll leave barely having spent $20 – so why not take some doughnuts home for later?