At Master, not everything is as it seems. ‘A roasted potato’ looks like its namesake and smells like a doughnut, but it’s actually ice cream flavoured with steeped potato skins, deep-fried in tempura batter and dusted with freeze-dried black vinegar. The filling is thick, starchy and very creamy, balanced by a bitter bed of caramelised muscovado crumble with caramelised white chocolate. Don't even think about it. Order it.
Thirsty Bird is from the guys behind Mr Crackles on Oxford Street, so these folks know how to do late night food. And boy, do they know how to fry a chicken. The coating is plentiful, dry and crisp without being greasy, and the chicken meat within is tender and juicy. It's tenderness that only comes from meat that's spent a good, long sabbatical in brine (24-hours followed by an air-dry for a further 24-hours before battering, to be precise). We’d go as far to say this is better than Belle's, so screw you Melbourne.
Hold the phones and put down that cronut. The deep-fried Golden Gaytime – everybody’s favourite deep-fried ice-cream on a stick – has landed on the menu at the Oxford Tavern. The dessert was a mainstay of the Abercrombie (RIP), and a big favourite at Time Out Towers.
Here at Smalltown in Avalon, doughnuts are freshly made, soft and yeasty, with a crackling exterior. The chefs come up with a new variety daily, and the morning we visit it’s Earl Grey and poppy seed. The dough is savoury and chewy – almost like a Dutch oliebol – and the tea-infused glaze is harmonising and sweet. These might even be the best doughnuts in Sydney right now.
Yeah, there's the degustation, but what we really want to tell you to do is visit the Bentley for white wine and hot chips. Those chips we’re so eager for are deeply golden, super-crisp, creamy and fluffy on the inside and crusted in sea salt.
They’re masters of the fryer here. Order the cinnamon-heavy kibbeh – deep-fried pucks of lamb mince – and crunchy, creamy falafels with tahini (which, BTW, they do at brekkie for an extra $1.50 a piece. Yeah!).
Check out the tempura saltbush. Whole branches of the scrubby plant are deep-fried and served with a cheek of lemon. Pluck the tender velvety leaves and run them through a side of spicy mayo.
At heart, it’s all about the five star gelato here on this sleepy street corner. But try a fist-sized arancino filled with Nutella. Woof.
You’re going to want some elbow-room when you order the crunchy, tender fried chicken. Get your birds half, whole or Larry (that’s two chooks broken down and deep fried in their enormous pressure fryer).