The names Patrick Friesen and Papi Chulo Manly is really all I need for this introduction. But for those who don't know Chef Patrick, he is the other half (along with co-head chef Christopher Hogarth) behind the successful smokehouse and grill Merivale joint, Papi Chulo. A place where magical meat-ups happen.
As part of "March into Merivale" this year, Patrick takes over the Work in Progress bar with his Fried Chicken and Noodle pop-up bar. It is inspired by his passion for Asian cuisine and his late supper shenanigans with other chefs. Work In Progress is a hipster meets pop-art themed small bar. As seen on his Instagram account over the last few months, he's been perfecting the art of fried chicken. After they announced Patrick's pop-up bar, all those instagram posts made sense. So being the sensible people that we are, Chocolatesuze, Mista iFat and I planned a lunch meet-up at Work In Progress. Well, as we would normally say "Because fried chicken yo!" Here's what went down:
The supreme wonton mein ($16) was delicious and nostalgic! It took me back to my trips to Hong Kong. It consists of egg noodles, morsels of pork & prawn wonton, and supreme broth. The egg noodles was nice and springy while the pork and prawn wonton was as legit as it gets. The broth tasted like a chicken blend but with some garlic punch.
Then there's the Sichuan duck and tofu lo mein ($16). It was a scrumptious egg noodle dish with a Sichuan-style sauce, duck and tofu. I would've liked a little bit more duck but the sauce was off the hook! It was bold with sweet, chilli and garlicky flavours.
The Fried Chicken
We literally ate ALL the fried chicken! First up was a halfies ($16) of ginger ninja and the chilli nuts fried chicken. It came with nuoc cham sauce and some Korean banchan-type sides: pickled daikon, kimchi and cucumber pieces
The ginger ninja straight up had an amazing sexy rippled crunchy coating! The meat was juicy and flavoursome from the ginger-based marination. It was quite similar to Red Pepper's and Sparrow's Mill's original Korean Fried Chicken. Basically, it was awesome!
The chilli nuts fried chicken was also delicious. It was coated in a beautiful sticky sweet and chilli sauce. It was also topped with nuts and sesame seeds.
Then Patrick nicely gave us a complimentary plate of the fly high ($16) Pnomh Penh fried wings. It's a Cambodian inspired fried chicken dish with an addictive lime white pepper sauce. The chicken's batter was lighter with garlicky, salt and pepper flavours. The lime pepper sauce gives the fried chicken a nice balance by cutting through the richness of the chicken.
Between the awesome hip-hop playlist, the chill out vibe and authentic scrumptious food, there is no doubt that Patrick’s pop-up rocks! Check it out before March ends. I'm definitely going back for more!
Work In Progress
50 King Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Monday to Friday 12pm to 3pm, then 6pm to 10pm
Bar hours: 12pm till late