Chicko’s – Wollongong NSW Restaurant Review

Chicko’s is a Wollongong icon. It is an institution, forged through its prime position near the beach and the local stadium, and its reputation for consistent fast food and good economy. While knowledge of the restaurant appears to be ubiquitous within Illawarra, I approach Chicko’s from the perspective of an outsider, free from the shackles of local culture and custom.

The Portuguese Wing Pieces (10 for $7.90) were a little on the dry side, with a predominantly salty flavour and not much or really any perceptible spice to explain the Portuguese moniker.

The medium chips ($6.65) were pretty fresh and crunchy. I liked the option to add salt and vinegar for free, and while I only optioned for two lots of this addition I know now I should’ve added as much as the computer ordering system would let me.

The small gravy($3.65) was alright. Pretty good with chips. A bit darker and denser than what you get from the Colonel. There is currently some spilled in a corner at the back of my fridge.

The large scallopini burger ($11.45 with a can of drink) really was large. Pictured here alongside it is my hand. I wear size 8 gloves. It’s really a huge bread roll with two crumbed chicken schnitzels inside side by side, topped with a mushroom sauce. I must admit that I got bored of the bread after chomping through this monstrosity, and discarded the bottom (unsauced) half bun.

Wow, a single piece of fish for $2.85. Pretty good!

Chicko’s Fried Chicken ($13.60 for 5 pieces) kind of amounts of a whole fried bird. The pieces were incredibly varied in terms of size, but all shared the common characteristic of being incredibly juicy and moist, even the half-breast piece. My partner, a fried chicken fanatic, is a fan.

The roast pork meal ($14.99) with crumbed roast potato, peas and gravy, was a tasty and varied pub-style meal. I enjoyed the roast pork, which was moist but with its own layer of crispy skin, though my partner, a lover of potato, didn’t have such strong feelings about this particular potato.

I cannot leave a review for the Greek salad that I paid for as we didn’t receive it.

I think the real headline of this story should be that we spent very little money between the two of us for enough food to feed four people. Service was reasonably quick, and while there is no internal seating there is plenty of beach to go around. I can definitely see the appeal for Wollongong locals, but taking into account the vast amounts of deep frying going on and my general desire to live past forty I will probably have to never go back.

Chicko’s Wollongong
13 Crown St, Wollongong NSW 2500
(02) 4225 3888

American Café

Happyfield – Haberfield NSW Restaurant Review

I loved the bright, energetic yellow colour scheme of Happyfield, Haberfield’s latest American-style diner, but nice colours don’t stand just on their own. Happyfield’s menu is also a force to be reckoned with.

This Savoury Stack ($21) was amazing. The best pancakes I have ever had, even better than the sourdough pancakes that DTC made for HMB and me in his own home. These pancakes were just so light, creamy, and fluffy on the inside. The maple syrup was not too sweet, and added rather than subtracted from the experience. Pepe Saya’s butter, one of the best widely available Australian artisanal butters, was a worthy splurge by the restauranteurs, as it kept up the delicious and premium theme. The bacon was well cooked, with just the right amount of softness and crispiness without venturing into hardened territory. The two fried eggs, sunny side up, had perfectly runny yolks that mixed in with the maple syrup and butter to form a umami sauce. Perhaps best of all was the slightly spiced, slightly sweet brown powder on top, which may have been cinnamon (this is not confirmed). The child on the table next to us hated it (his mother asked their waiter what it was, but she didn’t get a straight answer), but to be fair children generally have limited palates. Said child didn’t finish his breakfast. Perhaps when he grows into adulthood he will come back and experience this pancake dish for the masterpiece that it is. The best pancakes I’ve ever had.

The Drippy Eggs with Salmon Roe ($18) was well-loved by my girlfriend. She’s always been a big potato fan, and the pomme puree with horseradish was no exception. The mashed potato was silky smooth, and the addition of codded eggs and a bit of salmon roe (for an extra $3) added good and varied flavours. I wasn’t a huge fan of the focaccia sliders (bread for bread’s sake), but I did like the dill in the salad. I don’t think this was as good or as special as the pancakes, but she liked it so I am duty bound to tell you.

The McLovin Muffin ($13) is a McDonald’s style breakfast muffin filled with folded eggs, cheddar cheese, and two chicken sausage patties. I enjoyed the light, slightly herby flavour of the housemade chicken patties, as well as the softness and runniness of the eggs. It is a sign of culinary expertise when the eggs and the cheese of a dish mixes into one, and even though they were discrete layers in this muffin I do feel like they had an omelette-vibe to them. I have been thinking about this muffin for some time. I can’t wait to have another.

Even the baked beans ($5) were good. I have tried to avoid cafe baked beans, ever since I had some very average ones at Grounds of Alexandria in February 2020. It is surprising, therefore, that Happyfield with its Grounds alum has such nice beans on offer.

Happyfield lives up to its name, inspiring happiness through its bright yellow fitout, pleasant service, and delicious food. I can’t wait to go back.

96 Ramsay St, Haberfield NSW 2045
(02) 9716 5168


Harvey’s Hot Sandwiches – Parramatta NSW Restaurant Review

Part of the Parramatta Square redevelopment, Harvey’s Hot Sandwiches promises to bring American-style submarine sandwiches to the rapidly gentrifying slums of Western Sydney.

The Beef Dip Sub ($16) was one of the more unique subs on the menu, featuring a submarine sandwich of heavy onion, beef fillet, horseradish mayo, and lots of provolone cheese served with a small tub of dipping gravy. The sandwich itself was reminiscent of a backyard barbeque, with strong onion flavours and tender beef. The gravy was thin and salty, and though I was keen to try a sandwich dipped in gravy I must admit not many of my bites were dipped. It didn’t add much.

The Nashville Hot Chicken Sub ($16) was the better of the two subs that we had. The chicken was freshly fried and juicy, with good moistness maintained throughout the sub thanks to a healthy smattering of vinegar slaw, pickles, and sauce. We had the medium spicy option (damn hot), which we felt was not very spicy at all, though your tastebuds may vary. Though a good sandwich overall, I am still more partial to the hot chicken sandwiches at Belle’s Hot Chicken (though this is a good Western Sydney alternative).

My girlfriend has never walked past a potato and not eaten it, and so for us Harvey’s Salt and Vinegar Potato Salad ($4) was just destiny. Though we are usually fans of salt and vinegar on potatoes, we felt that this offering was really only okay. The flavouring was actually a bit mild for us, though we did appreciate the dill scattered on top which added an additional layer of flavour.

The Creaming Soda Float ($7) with house made vanilla ice cream was great. I always appreciate when a restaurant’s menu says house made rather than home made (unless the food is being made in a home).

Not bad, a bit more fancy than your local Subway, but it’s going to be a tough sell getting your general Western Sydney guys to spend $16 on a sandwich. That said, there are still a few that I want to eat.

Harvey’s Hot Sandwiches
Parramatta Square Shop 4, 05/12 Darcy St, Parramatta NSW 2150
(02) 9169 0838


Lenny Briskets – Botany NSW Restaurant Review

I lived in Botany for an entire year, but it was six months after I had left that Lenny Briskets set up shop in their Botany warehouse location, and another six months of mouth-wateringly looking at Instagram posts before I was able to go and see what all the fuss was about for myself.

The strengths and weaknesses of the food truck business model are centred, unsurprisingly, around its mobility. While having your restaurant on wheels might mean that you’re able to service geographically diverse populations and get your product in front of more hungry eyes and mouths, the itinerant lifestyle also means that it’s difficult to establish a home base with a loyal local following and reliable opening times. It’s the balancing act that’s birthed a million SWOT analyses – but eventually we took ourselves to Botany and got our mouths around that beef.

This Pastrami on Martin’s ($17) was perfection. The meat was so incredibly juicy, tender, and flavourful, not to mention generous, absolutely overflowing the soft, tumeric-coloured potato buns. The yellow theme was continued with just a bit of French’s classic yellow mustard, enough to add a second degree of flavour interest, without being overpowering. The three simple flavours of smoked meat, a bit of mustard, and the sweet bun all worked in perfect harmony, so much so that I found the included side pickle (happily not too salty, but ultimately not needed). While Lenny’s offers a similar sandwich with 500g of pastrami, I think the bread to filling ratio of just the regular one (I think it might be 250g?) is the sweet spot.

The New Amsterdam ($18) of BBQ brisket, American cheese, sweet red peppers and Russian dressing, again on a Martin’s potato bun was my second favourite, but still good. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, though I thought that the red capsicum made it just a bit too wet and sweet for my liking. The flavours of the pastrami sandwich just hit the right spot for me. The cheese was nice, and I wonder if it could be added to the original pastrami sandwich.

This samoyed, known as Bibi, is hyper friendly and super soft, and though we ate our meal with our hands we could not resist giving Lenny’s mascot some well-enjoyed pets.

Good. Catch them if you can.

Lenny Briskets
9 Margate St, Botany NSW 2019
+61 492 907 215


Little Weiner – Homebush West Restaurant Review

I’ve driven past Little Weiner’s playful, multicoloured sign many times on my way home from an extra-Western Sydney feed, and each time up until now I’ve been too full to stop. It’s taken, therefore, an actual plan and effort for us to finally cross this Western Sydney food truck off the list.

Service on this rainy Thursday night was brisk. There’s a tiny amount of awning to the food truck, but otherwise Little Weiner’s seating is fully uncovered, and we decided to eat our meals in the car.

Little Weiner’s signature Weiner Roll ($8) is served with your choice of halal certified beef, chicken, lamb, kransky, and lamb chorizo sausages, each freshly cooked to order. We chose the chorizo, listed elsewhere on their menu as their signature sausage. The sandwich was otherwise loaded with garlic, onion, and our choice of sauce and cheese. I thought this was a very adequate sausage sandwich, with all the requisite flavours and textures. My only regret is not adding an additional sausage for $4 to optimise the meat to filling to bread ratio.

Little Weiner’s beef burger ($10) was even better than their weiner roll. The patty, again freshly cooked to order, was extremely succulent and tender, whilst retaining a good, meaty flavour. The fillings were essentially the same as the weiner roll, except for the addition of fresh lettuce, which added a much welcome degree of wetness and freshness. If you can only order one item from this food truck, both my girlfriend and I would recommend you order this one.

It’s heart warming that the two guys at Little Weiner have taken their little weiners and made them work for them. Their weiner inspired food truck is a good, though quite unhealthy halal-friendly option that’s open late into the night. I don’t have any plans to go back, but if I did I make their snack pack with loaded fries my next target.

Little Weiner
199 Parramatta Rd, Homebush West NSW 2140