Opening last year, Meat Candy brought to Perth Nashville-style fried chicken – and aimed to fill a void the market was calling out for. After heading up the kitchen at Cantina 663 and The Old Crow, Chef Ben Atkinson has now find a new niche, serving up juicy cuts of bird and smoked meats: all with some hot sauce to accompany.
Outside of the standard Northbridge hub, Meat Candy is located on Brisbane Street opposite Tra Vinh, one of the suburb’s most popular Vietnamese offerings. There’s definitely nothing like it in the vicinity – or even close to. The fit out has a retro feel to it, and it’s complete with a small courtyard which will be perfect for outdoor summer dinners.
On my first visit (within a couple of days of opening because I needed a fried chicken fix), I ate some incredible bbq piggy croquettes with apple tartare. When I returned on my second visit, the croquettes were sadly gone from the menu! Damn… hopefully they come back soon.
Since I couldn’t order those croquettes on my return, I chose the cauliflower cheese hush puppies with chipotle mayo.
My oh my. Yup, these were so damn good. I would run back to Northbridge for these in an instant. Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside – and generously seasoned which is my kind of dish. The mayo was a great accompaniment, a little kick to it but more so just well flavoured and elevated the taste of the hush puppies.
The smoked pork belly with kimchi and sour cream was well received, and plentiful in sauce. I liked the intensity of the smoked flavour, and the slices of pork had a great fat to meat ratio.
This is the kind of dish that reminds me of when I first tried food at The Old Crow. Bold, brash and unapologetic in it’s use of different ingredients and fusing flavours. Really punchy. Really tasty.
Ordering the fried free range chicken the first time around it came with sliced white bread, pickles, sauce and a side of choice. However on return it looks like they’ve rejigged it slightly and sides are an optional add on at a cost instead.
The fried chicken comes in Southern, medium or hot, plus there’s the XXX sauce on the table to add for all you chilli fiends. I’ve tried the medium which has a kick of it’s own, so next time I think I’ll have to go the hot instead.
The chicken is great. Crispy skinned, teeming with juice, and steaming hot. I like the addition of the sandwich bread slice, which allows you to wrap up the meat or you can mop up anything left on the plate after.
And just like that… Perth has their very own southern hospitality venue. Fried chicken, hot sauce and the works. There’s a lot to like about Meat Candy.
I only hope those magical croquettes make their way back on the menu next time I’m there!