Sneakers. Fried Chicken. Put them together and you have just described a big part of my life. Tucked away in the quieter streets of Surry Hills (and coincidentally just a 10 minute walk from the I Ate My Way Through office) lies Sydney’s newest and original eatery fusing together a restaurant, a bar and a sneaker store somewhere in between. The brains behind bringing this new concept to life are Julian Cincotta, formerly of Rockpool and Nomad and Mo Moubayed and Paul Flynn of Thievery. Now, with a name such as ‘Butter’ it does not at all give anything away, so being the foodies that we are; our curiosity and stomachs led us towards the new establishment.
As Tinashe would say, we were “All Hands on Deck” bringing along a few of the contributors from the team to see if Surry Hill’s ‘New Kid on the Block’ was living up to it’s hype.
It sure did.
On only it’s second day of trading (albeit first lunch service), there was already a line outside the door — almost like a crowd lining up to get their hands on the next pair of Yeezys (OK not that crazy).
The size 13’s ($60 for 4 thigh pieces, 9 tenders, 2 sides of pickles, 2 sides of slaw and 3 sauces) is what all the fuss is about. It’s simply fried chicken served in a shoebox. This is what I personally loved about Butter; it’s how the team put the euphoric joy you feel from opening a new box of sneakers together with the experience of enjoying crispy Fried Chicken. I thought I was the only one who felt the same way.
The fried chicken was one of the best I have ever had. The chicken was brined in buttermilk (hence the name ‘Butter’) and then heavily battered making a crunchy exterior that locked all the moisture inside. I was so surprised at how juicy each piece was as everybody knows that meat on the bone is much more succulent than a boneless piece, but this definitely proved that theory wrong.
With four levels of spice (Naked, OG, Fire and Hot AF); I’m not going to lie, I do have a low tolerance to spice and opting for the OG sauce was just enough to tickle my taste buds with a little kick. It definitely was a developing heat, which is just the way I like it as you slowly get to enjoy the complexity of the burning sensation with all the spices melding together. Jen on the other hand (who has been known to enjoy the heat of Belles Hot Chicken’s Really F**kin Hot), was not fazed at all.
I found the sauce to be a mixture of American style fried chicken which puts spices within the batter and a Korean style Fried Chicken (my personal favourite) which coats each piece in a sticky, sweet and spicy sauce. This way, it adds flavour in every stage of the process, making for a more tasty and flavourful piece of chicken.
The Chicken Sandwich ($16), which is fried chicken with pickles and a smear of dashi butter in a bun was another favourite. The milk bun was very soft and buttery and brought a slight sweetness to every bite. However, the real winner in this is definitely the dashi butter. The fragrance of the dashi is the first thing you’ll experience, with its scents of the sea and certain nuttiness from the dried bonito flakes and kombu. The fishy undertones did shine through and the butter just added extra richness to an already flavoursome sandwich.
For the vegetarians, the Tofu Nuggets ($13) doesn’t let them miss out on the fun. With the same crunchy batter and spicy sauce, it will make any meatlover enjoy this in the same way. The tofu is a firmer variation, which gives the feeling of a hearty and meaty meal. I for one will stick to the chicken though.
In regards to sides, the pickles ($4) and slaw ($5) were great palate cleansers and ways to cut through the spice in between the meal, giving your taste buds a little sourness and creaminess here and there. If I could make one adjustment it would be to put less dressing in the slaw as I felt the mixture was rather drowning in the creamy sauce, lacking the freshness it could have.
If you want to hear some killer tracks with an underground hip-hop-meets-hipster vibe, gaze at dope kicks whilst feasting on some crispy fried chicken and sipping on some Dom Peŕignon, I guess Butter is the only place in Sydney you can do that.
6 Hunt Street, Surry Hills, NSW
Phone: (02) 8283 9146
Web: Butter Sydney
Photography by Jennifer Lam