Love fried chicken? Then you’ll want to head to Kingsland’s new Chicka fried chicken restaurant.
If you haven’t been to Kingsland lately, then you will be surprised by the boom in the number of Asian fusion restaurants. The latest addition to this group is Chicka, a Korean fried chicken bar and restaurant, brought by the owner of Po’ Brothers in Ponsonby and Bangkok, also in Kingsland.
Chicka is based on Korea’s fried chicken craze, which took off the in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The ’80’s is also the inspiration for the pop art decor.
Our family set off to experience Chicka on a week night and we were rewarded with a parking spot on a side street.
Chicka is a long and narrow space, with a small patio area in the front to sip your beer and watch the passing parade (or smoke a cigarette as some patrons were doing).
We settled into a table and checked out the menu, which really is all about the chicken. You can have the original version with three sauces on the side (which we ordered), or other variations on a theme. The honey and garlic sauce version had already sold out. There are also versions with spicy Korean yangnyeom sauce, larb, Thai curry sauce, marinated Thai style and grilled with Korean BBQ sauce.
The pricing is very straightforward: $16 gives you the choice of 8 wings, 6 drumsticks, five boneless thighs, or a mix of wings and drums. We opted for five pieces of thighs of the original crunchy fried chicken with three sauces on the side.
There are other dishes on the menu – some familiar, others not so much. Saucy pork ribs with cheesy fondue ($20) anyone? We decided that the deconstructed Kimchi fried rice looked interesting ($20). Our daughter liked the sound of Korean BBQ pork, described as Korean hot and spicy pork served on a sizzling hot plate ($18.50). We also ordered handmade dumplings ($12) to start.
Korean Orion beer is on tap ($8). There are other beers, cider, soju, juices, wine and spirits. We ordered soft drinks ($4/can), but ours were poured out of plastic bottles and were semi-flat.
Our fried dumplings arrived quickly which was a good thing as we were hungry. They were filled with pork, vegetables and vermicelli, and had a chewy dumpling pastry and helped fill the gap.
The Korean BBQ pork arrived, which was not quite as expected. Basically it is a pork stir-fry with lots of onions in a spicy sauce. The deconstructed kimchi fried rice was presented on a board with the components lined up: a bowl of BBQ pork and kimchi fried rice, a stack of seaweed sheets and a bowl of kimchi. I used the seaweed sheets as a wrapping for the rice and kimchi.
The star of the evening was the chicken – five pieces of juicy chicken in a crunchy coating, not unlike a cornflake crust. These were accompanied by small bowls of a dark soy and onion sauce, a chili sauce and a sauce with a curry flavour.
Chicka describes itself as “Asian fried chicken and beer” and this is its strength. A great place in the Kingsland restaurant strip to stop for your fried chicken fix and wash it down with Orion draft beer.