Crown Street is now home to a Lebanese charcoal chicken shop but they've made it a little bit fancy. Henrietta is a casual offering from the team behind schmick Middle Eastern diner Nour, serving up Middle Eastern-style birds with the bronzed, blistered skin known to bring siblings to blows, plus bread, dips, pickles and salads. The zippy freshness of tabbouleh and fattoush's juicy crunch are both on the menu, but if you like a bit of fast-food fusion there are also chicken tawook spring rolls, lamb kibbeh san choy bow, and beef brisket shawarma tacos. For dessert they're mixing up the classics with a baklava sundae, or you can get a chocolate mousse with a gentle Lebanese accent care of honeycomb and rose pistachios.
The infusion of so many Middle Eastern flourishes into what is ostensibly a fast-casual menu is done with a playful wink. Take for example the sumac chicken salt that seasons the house fries – a knowing nod to the late-night chicken joint's luminous seasoning of choice. There’s a similar balancing act between sophisticated and rough-n-ready in the restaurant’s decor. Polished terrazzo juxtaposes unfinished concrete. Soft, carefully placed pendant lights hang besides the glare of Henrietta’s neon logo. The messaging is clear: expect high calibre cuisine without the airs and graces.
In Surry Hills it doesn't need to be a weekend to warrant a sneaky bevvie so they've gone and filled the drinks list with some cheeky, boozy fun like a spicy passionfruit Margarita, a slushie Martini, and a lychee Cosmopolitan served like a bubble tea.
And if you've gotten used to mostly dining in the comfort of your own home, take advantage of the takeaway window where a whole chicken is a steal at $18. They've even taken a leaf out of the classic café playbook and offer every tenth chicken free to loyalty card holders.