Butter

Fried chicken sandwich, with miso corn.
Fried chicken sandwich, with miso corn. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer/Fairfax Media

6 Hunt Street Surry Hills, New South Wales 2010

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Opening hours Mon-Thu 11.30am-10pm; Fri-Sat 11.30am-11.30pm
Features Licensed
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)

We need to discuss the butter-shaped elephant in the room. And that's the pictures all over this chicken shack/sneaker store/bar's website. I guess they're a sort of ode to US fashion snapper Terry Richardson, minus Lindsay Lohan​, plus fried snacks.

The raunchy pics are splattered all over the site – pretty young girls pose in Victoria's Secret underwear, eating fried chicken.

But there's something about one particular image that shows a girl shot from the waist down in nothing but a pair of cotton knickers, pulling the skin back from her bikini line with one hand, holding a piece of fried chicken with the other. It's kinda like snuff for junk food enthusiasts.

If you buy 13 pieces of chicken, it comes nestled in a shoebox.
If you buy 13 pieces of chicken, it comes nestled in a shoebox. Photo: Janie Barrett

So where are the dudes, Butter? And more importantly, why? 

Maybe I'm the wrong demographic (read: not a teenage boy), but does it make you want to order fried chicken? Wear sneakers? Both? According to the site it's an artistic "collab" between Butter and Australian photographer Sarah Bahbah​, inspired by her series Sex and Takeout. Bahbah's original series is kind of hilarious and irreverent. The pics on the Butter site? Not so much.

Anyway, off the soapbox and into the shoebox.

Slushies come with Hennessy and cherry Coke, or as a non-alcoholic version.
Slushies come with Hennessy and cherry Coke, or as a non-alcoholic version. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer/Fairfax Media

You'll find Butter on the old Ko & Co site just down from the Hollywood Hotel. The game here is fried chicken and sneakers, which are sold on consignment and are on display in a giant glass tower in the front window. You can't try them on, though. These are display kicks only.

With that in mind, I'm guessing the queue out the front is more for the fried chicken than the shoes. With good reason when it comes to the chicken burger – a soft, sweet bun spread with dashi butter and a piece of excellent fried chicken served with a side of coleslaw (sadly, under-seasoned and too creamy by half).

We probably wouldn't be stopping by for the tofu bites either, which are kinda rubbery and blah. But vegos, if you've been dragged here kicking and screaming, order a serve of that juicy corn slathered in miso butter.

You can buy browse for sneakers at Butter, but not try them on.
You can buy browse for sneakers at Butter, but not try them on. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer/Fairfax Media

This is a second project from the team that brought you Thievery – there's a similar playful vibe here, though it's a totally different concept from the modern Lebanese at their Glebe digs. Here, it's all about the chicken. Much in the vein of Belles Hot Chicken, it comes in varying degrees of spicy spice.

Rather than the heat coming from the rub, here the pain's delivered via a series of hot sauces. You can start with naked, and then move to OG (pretty spicy still, BTW) to Hot AF (it actually really is – I'm shallow-breathing and seeing through time for about 10 minutes after dunking a super-crisp, perfectly seasoned bit of juicy thigh into that murky puddle of death sauce).

If this sounds like your kind of a good time, may I suggest ordering a Hennessy and cherry Coke slushie on the side? Pure sweet pain relief with a cherry on top.

Driving? They also do a watermelon and cinnamon version sans booze that tastes just like a cup of crushed up Warheads lollies.

Oh, and did I mention if you order 13 pieces of that chicken it comes served in a shoebox? What do I have to do, I wonder, to get my chicken in an actual shoe?

THE LOWDOWN
Pro tip:
Put off by the "art"? Don't look up. But rather, check the most excellent blue neon stick of slightly melting butter in the corner.
Try this: The fried chicken sandwich is worth crossing town for.
Like this? Juicy Lucy just opened down the road offering some serious-looking competition, 232a Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills.

http://buttersydney.com.au/