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Belle’s Hot Chicken Fitzroy is yet another new place to eat at that’s opened in this part of town with a lot of hype. Owner/chefs Aaron Turner (formerly of Loam) and Morgan McGlone (formerly of Husk in Nashville) said goodbye to the world of fine dining a little while back to spend some time in Nashville discovering how fried chicken is done in that part of the world. Fast forward to the second half of 2014 and they’ve opened Belle’s Hot Chicken which brings what they learned to the table – namely spicy fried chicken.

The interior will be familiar to anybody who visited Belle’s in its prior incarnation as American Diner themed Belle’s Diner. Very little has changed, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing – the place still has a diner vibe, the big “DINER” sign is still there and the whole space feels themed but not tacky.

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

I’d heard that the wait for a table when Belle’s Hot Chicken first opened were quite long but it appears that things have settled down. I arrived as part of a group of 4 at 7:30 on a Friday night and we only spent about 20 minutes at the bar enjoying a drink before we were seated at a table.

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

The drinks menu is quite surprising. There are the expected American beers like Pabst Blue Ribbon and Brooklyn Lager but, what’s unexpected is the wine list, which contains a focused selection of “natural” wines from Australia and abroad. My friends and I shared a bottle of the Paski Campana Coda Di Volpe 2012 “Orange” which was very drinkable and really complimented the food.

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

Things are kept simple on the food front. You choose your meat – wings, tenders, dark meat, fish or mushrooms and then choose the level of heat you want – southern, medium, hot, really hot, or really f**kin hot’. Add some sides and your sauce(s) of choice and you’ve got yourself a meal.

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

Fried Oysters ($18.00)

I’ve never had fried oysters before but had heard good things about this “off menu” item (there’s always a special or two on offer). They had a dill sauce and were really creamy – very tasty.

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

“Baller Bucket” ($60.00)

The Baller Bucket is a great option for anyone visiting Belle’s. You get 16 wings and your choice of 4 sides and 2 sauces. We got the chicken “50/50” with 8 medium wings and 8 hot wings. For sides we got mac & cheese, “almost Arnold’s beans” and coleslaw. For sauce we went for the “Mississippi Comeback” and “Belle’s Blue Cheese”. Pickles and some sliced bread at the bottom of the bucket come as standard.

The chicken was really tasty. It wasn’t oily at all and the coating was very crispy and unexpectedly powdery. The flavour was really nice on both but the general consensus was that the hot (which uses Scotch Bonnet chillies) was the best – the balance between flavour and heat was just right.

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

The mac & cheese was very good, but not as creamy as I generally like. The coleslaw was light on mayo but strong on flavour – just the way I like it. The beans were one of the unexpected highlights of the night – slow cooked and purposefully soggy, the flavour and texture just works – really tasty stuff.

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

The “old bay fries” are sprinkled with paprika and, like the beans, purposefully slightly soggy. Usually this is a no-no in my book. On their own they were merely ok but dunked in one of the sauces they were a lot better.

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

Chicken Tenders ($16.00)

The $16 meat option comes with a side and we went for the potato salad which, along with the beans was my equal favourite side of the night – it was creamy with a generous amount of dill and some meat (pancetta or bacon perhaps – I wasn’t too sure) mixed in amongst it.

We couldn’t leave without testing ourselves so went for the “Really F**kin’ Hot”. Let’s just say that it has this name for a reason – Habenero chillies with the seeds kept in form the basis of this coating and it shows. After the first bite my reaction was “oh this isn’t too bad”, followed by my friends and wife laughing at the fact that I was starting to turn red followed by a simple statement from me of “oh, there it is” followed by the occasional “wow”. This is one that builds and builds and after about a minute the intensity is all there. One of my friends actually started tearing up and couldn’t do more than a bite!

I managed to eat my entire tender and the general consensus from the table was that it was too extreme for us. Whereas the hot had a kick to it but still had loads of flavour coming through, the “Really F**kin’ Hot” didn’t really have any flavour at all as the heat overpowered everything. I’m glad I tried it, but going back it won’t be something I order again. If you do try it (and I know you will), make sure you have some of the “Belle’s Blue Cheese” dressing handy to temper some of the heat.

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

Soft Serve ($6.00)

We were extremely full by this stage of the night and one soft serve was enough for all 4 of us. This was a really nice way to finish off the night – creamy soft serve with Oreo crumbs and caramel sauce swirled throughout it. Simple and delicious, and very much in tune with everything else on the menu.

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

belle's hot chicken fitzroy review

I’d heard a lot of good things about Belle’s Hot Chicken before I visited and I’m glad to say that they hype was completely justified. The food is delicious and, given that a “Baller Bucket” can easily feed 3 on its own, it’s pretty good value too. Service is efficient and friendly and the food comes out hot and fast. The only complaint I have is that the chickens aren’t free range which is surprising given the pedigree of the chefs and the general attitude towards this sort of thing amongst diners in this day and age.

Belle’s Hot Chicken

150 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy
Victoria 3065
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9077 0788
Email: info@belleshotchicken.com
Website: http://belleshotchicken.com/

Open
Mon – Thu: 12:00pm to 10:00pm
Fri – Sat: 12:00pm to 11:00pm
Sun: 12:00pm to 9:00pm

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