Good Korean fried chicken restaurants in Sydney are pretty much just that. They deliver juicy, crunchy, battered chooks and maybe some decent pickles, too. But that’s about it. For the most part, Red Pepper is one of the few exceptions.
First, the fried chicken is the best of its kind in Sydney – consistently juicy, generously seasoned with all the spicy, garlicky saucy flavours without being drenched, and coated in a medium-thick batter that’s never starchy or flaccid.
Deciding what, if anything, to have with it is a bit tricker. Since the Sports Club that houses Red Pepper renovated, the menu has expanded into almost ten pages of chaos: hot pots, noodles, Chinese-Korean, Western fusion (why not try a carbonara soup with rice cakes?), RSL meals, bibimbaps, spicy red-sauce stir-fries and old-school Korean soups. The most reliable bets are the pancakes and the pork-bone hot pot.
Thanks to the renovations, the dining room doesn’t have the same no-frills charm it once did (the stained carpets and flimsy furniture are gone, the sound of balls flying into nets remains) but it still feels oddly like an RSL, just one of the flashier, well-funded ones.