Where else can you go in Sydney to get Champagne and fancy kicks with a side of fried chicken?
When you name a restaurant after most people’s favourite ingredient (ok, this person’s favourite ingredient), you’re making a statement of intent. Does this mean that butter is in every dish? Will butter replace aioli? Will there be a trough of it for us to have a brief little bath in, if we so wish?
New Surry Hills restaurant, Butter, does not offer butter in which to frolic. In fact nothing we eat actually tastes particularly buttery at all. It’s a venture backed by the folks behind Eat Art Truck and Glebe's epic new age Lebanese restaurant Thievery, with ex-Nomad chef Julian Cincotta on food, but this place is all about fried chicken paired with, uhhh, Champagne. And it also moonlights as a sneaker store.
Despite the ‘street’ references, this combo does not feel Straight Outta Compton.
The ‘3 Pac’ for one seems like the obvious order – fried chicken in the form of one thigh and two tenders plus a side of coleslaw. The meat is tender, if a little under-seasoned, and the coating is thin and fragile rather than thick and dry like you get in the US. A choice of four sticky hot sauces determines your heat levels (the top two are serious stuff) but sadly make the batter soggy – we’d prefer to see those spices tossed through the batter itself. You get a mammoth serve of super creamy coleslaw on the side, but we say order crunchy house pickles for freshness and a little dipper of buttermilk ranch (you don’t get either with the ‘3 pac’ which feels mean).
The chicken sandwich is better. It’s a big piece of fried chook on a dashi-butter soaked roll paired with pickles: simple, but damn tasty, and there’s none of that hot sauce to overwhelm the flavours of the meat (which we’re told is free range, by the way – nice one Butter).
So how does Champagne work with all of this? It doesn’t. Sorry. We try the only kind they have by the glass – Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial – and its delicate, earthy tones are totally overwhelmed by the fat and chilli. It’s like drinking sparkling water. Better to go for the more robust flavours of the fruity, hoppy Brooklyn East IPA instead. Or they do boozy slushies – try the cherry coke and Henny if you like your drinks super-sweet, or the pineapple and spiced rum if you’re after something a lil’bit tropical.
Soft serve is on offer for pud but we’d skip them altogether. The flavours change but our chocolate with pecans is lacking in any depth of flavour, and why is the peanut butter soft-serve white? Better to walk up the road to Messina instead.
As for the shoes, those decorating the window aren’t for immediate sale; it’s an order and receive sort of thing. The rest of the fit-out is predominantly neon and black, with pictures of underwear-clad women sensually eating fried chicken on the ceiling (it’s a collaboration with artist Sarah Bahbah, but it’s hard not to read it as painfully sexist). But then the venue’s full by 6pm. Sarah Simmons already knows chicken with Champagne is a thing. We guess the only thing missing for full-blown meme status was sneakers.
6 Hunt St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu 11.30am-10pm; Fri, Sat 11.30am-11.30pm|