Juicy Lucy

Scott Wallace
28th Feb 2016

It's a given that just about everyone will have memories of their local chicken shop - of the great piles of colourful salads and the juicy chickens half-hidden behind steamy glass. Walking into Juicy Lucy, a new establishment on a rather busy strip of Elizabeth Street, the same feeling is there, but with a slight twist thanks to the bright yellow decor, the playful food names and the sweet and spicy aromas of South East Asian street food.

It's those flavours that permeate the menu and really set it apart from just about every other chicken shop you're likely to visit. The distinctive and playful flavour combinations are, apparently, the result of extensive experimentation before Juicy Lucy opened, when just about anything and everything had its own go through the rotisserie. Two kinds of roast are proudly on display at the counter, succulent, slow roasted whole chooks are rested overnight in a brine of Sichuan pepper, cloves, cassia bark and coriander seeds before being stuffed with fried rice. Tai Gai Yang is butterflied and prepped with garlic, coriander, white pepper and fresh turmeric. 

Even the humble wrap, a chicken shop staple, is transformed. Stuffed with rice and veggies, as well as tender and crispy fried chicken, the Big Bang wrap is filling and flavoursome, rippling with the strong tastes of ginger and coriander. Juicy Lucy's playful flavours extend even to the fat, crinkle cut chips. The seasoning, contains a Sichuan salt and pepper mix, star anise, and some more, but part of the fun is trying to guess what's in the tantalising concoction. It's the ultimate palette test.

The Lil Kim burger (named, we were told, after the Supreme Leader of North Korea and not the pint-sized rapper) is a daring and fun take on the classic chicken burger. The star is still the crispy, brown, battered fried chicken, but with kimchee and Korean BBQ sauce, it's an original and adventurous choice. Plus, it's a big, generous burger of the kind you may remember.

The absolute star of the menu are the sticky wings. Battered and deep-fried to dark brown perfection, and coated in a sweet and spicy caramel glaze, they're terrific and oozing with flavour on their own, or even better with a special chilli vinegar provided at each table, or with an in-house chilli sauce that is tingling with heat and flavour. The sticky wings feel like Juicy Lucy's specialty, and perfectly exemplify the care and dedication that has gone into making the shop more than just an average takeaway.

Nothing on the menu is more than $12, unless you want to grab a classic chips-and-drink combo, which is $16, so Juicy Lucy is accessible and generous. Be sure to have cash with you, though, as you won't be able to pay with your card. 

Juicy Lucy is not a flashy place, but that's often exactly what you want. Whether you want to sit in the little but comfy shop, or have your food to go, it feels like an authentic and satisfying flavour experience. It's not pretending to be real South East Asian street food, but it's bringing those beautiful flavours and succulent textures to a recognisable and friendly food format, and in doing so, Juicy Lucy is doing its bit to break away from the monotony of takeaway food. 


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232A Elizabeth Street
(02) 9281 1788

Mon-Wed 11am – 10pm

Thurs-Sat 11am – 11pm