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

Asian Fusion Café Chinese

Coffee Trad3rs – Castle Hill NSW Restaurant Review

Another weekend, another brunch. This week’s victim was Coffee Trad3rs, a large, family friendly cafe with plenty of interior decoration and a pan-Asian inspired food menu.

This short rib burger was pretty good, if simple. The beef rib was tender and plentiful, though without much variety in flavour throughout the dish I did get a bit bored towards the end. The chips were freshly fried and good.

This miso salmon soba salad is the latest in a string of recent miso salmons for me. Excitingly, this was served with soba and a light salad rather than the standard rice. While the salmon didn’t do that much for me (I thought that the miso-ness of it was a bit too subtle), I really enjoyed the fresh salad and the cool soba, which had a great slippery mouthfeel.

Not one to say no to fried chicken, my girlfriend had to order the Taiwanese fried chicken cubes. This was similar in concept to large fried chicken but served in bite sized pieces, I imagine to fit the needs of the various children around the place.

Some kind of white drink.

I thought about not including a review for this item due to not having a very good photo for it, but I just have to mention the milk tea swiss roll cake. The flavour of this creamy swiss roll perfectly simulated that of a pearl milk tea, with the light and delicate sponge melting into the mouth almost as if it were liquid. It is a top tier dessert, to be sure.

I think that most of the food at Coffee Trad3rs is quite reasonable, and there is a certainly a broad Asian-fusion menu with constantly evolving specials on offer. If you’re in the area I’d definitely recommend giving them a go – if you’re far away though, I wouldn’t necessarily say drive across the city for it. Overall good. Avoid if you hate families and kids.

Coffee Trad3rs Castle Hill
1/8 Victoria Ave, Castle Hill NSW 2154
(02) 9894 7876

Asian Fusion Café Korean

CNR58 – Concord NSW Restaurant Review

Brunch that is slightly Asian is my favourite kind of brunch, and CNR58 brought the slightly Korean goods to the table this mother’s day just passed.

The Miso Salmon Eggs Benedict was a commination of things that I generally like, but don’t necessarily go together. This particular miso salmon was my third or fourth in recent times, and compared to its competitors in the Western Sydney sphere I found the salmon to be cooked well, but underflavoured. The miso on offer was really just a hint, and I feel that a stronger flavour could’ve added a lot, especially in view of the similarly low-taste pile of sliced cucumber. The eggs benedict side of the dish, on the other hand, were faultless. Arranged in two separate toast islands for the couple that loves to share, the eggs were poached to a runny perfection often sought but rarely seen. A dish half good half middling (does that make it three quarters good?)

The Chicken & Waffles was a very surprising dish. Having seen all the Korean staff manning the restaurant I had expected some combination of Korean fried chicken and waffle. What I got instead was chicken in more of a tempura batter than the classic Korean fried chicken batter, with a sweet maple-tabasco sauce that made the entire meal highly reminiscent of Chinese restaurant honey chicken. Apart from the unexpected sweetness of the dish the bacon was well cooked, and the waffle had a far nicer texture and flavour than my other most recent waffle experience at 3 Ronin.

I thought the Chicken Sausages were uninspiring.

We actually went to CNR58 in seek of their lunch menu, only to find out that it only starts at 11AM (nowhere online is this suggested to be the case). The dishes I had for breakfast were in the grand scheme of things only OK, but I would still go back to try their promising looking lunch and dinner offerings.

Asian Fusion Café Japanese

Devon – Surry Hills NSW Restaurant Review

My partner and I are big fans of Dopa – Devon’s offshoot donburi restaurant in Darling Square. We’ve been going regularly over the past few months, however it had been a long time since we had dined at the mothership in Surry Hills.

We went suckered in by pictures of uni laden foods on instagram, and I made my partner promise me that she would let us leave and eat somewhere else if they had run out (as is often the case at Dopa, I’m sick of being baited and switched).

We dined on a Sunday morning in an empty restaurant, much different to how it was like when we had last dined in 2019. As predicted, they were out of uni, however a craving for a pork katsu sandwich prevented us from leaving.

My partner had a matcha latte while I, as an inferior Asian, had an iced matcha soy latte. While I can’t speak for my partner’s drink, I can say that my iced matcha soy latte was not as good as the one that I had at 101kissa. There was just something so powdery and nice about the iced matcha soy lattte from 101kissa, whereas this one was a weird blend of sweet and bitter that didn’t tickle my tastebuds in quite the right way.

Devon’s pork katsu sando ($16) is cut into two portions and served in a cardboard box. The sauce is spread evenly through the sandwich, which is a selling point, however this is where the compliments end. I felt that the pork itself was not as juicy or tender as in the pork katsu sandwich I had at Cafe Kentaro. I also felt that the sandwich was overbreaded, with the bread to filling ratio too great, adding an unneeded and unwanted blandness to the taste. The size and construction of the sandwich halves were also inferior to the three pieces at Kentaro, and made the sandwich difficult to eat.

While Devon’s pork katsu sando probably stands fine on its own to a person who has never had a good pork katsu sando, it fails in comparison to that at Kentaro, a few kilometres away.

I didn’t enjoy the salted egg yolk cheesy curly fries ($13). Perhaps it’s because we’ve had just so much salted egg yolk foods in the past few weeks that I’m sick of it, but I think the more likely reason is that these chips were oily but dry. Their thinness did not help, as the higher surface area to volume ratio increased the radiative heat loss from the food, making them too cool and yucky too quickly.

My partner ordered the omurice with salmon sashimi in ponzu sauce. We were quite surprised to find that the omurice was served separately to the salmon. The salmon was cold but the omurice was warm. While the omurice itself was quite delicious with its mushroomy gravy, I don’t think it really worked as a combination. I wonder if it’s the responsibility of the wait staff to sway you away from bad choices. Either way, that was not what happened here. What happened here was a thoroughly noncohesive dish.

I’m sad to say that I didn’t really enjoy our trip to Devon. While I love their rice bowls at their Haymarket offshoot Dopa, our trip back to the mothership was disappointing.

Devon Cafe
76 Devonshire St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9211 8777


Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken – Liverpool St, Sydney CBD NSW Review

My first ever experience of Taiwanese Fried Chicken Steak was at the now defunct 3Q Fried Chicken on George St many many years ago (or was it at Hot Star in Melbourne 2013 ? I can’t remember but I don’t want to lie to you, and especially not to myself). Since then I’ve had many different styles of Taiwanese fried chicken, at many different places. The sheer ubiquity of the Hot-Star brand, and the generally dependable quality of its food make them one of my go-tos.

While I’ve eaten at Hot-Star on Liverpool St many times, most of which have been late at night, I only have this single, poorly mosaiced photo to share. Hot-Star, for the uninitiated, specialises in large fried chicken, basically breast that has been butterflied and beaten into flat submission, battered, fried, and offered with either regular or spicy seasoning.

The result is delicious and always fresh. While no doubt offensive to the cardiovascular system, they are quite appealing to the senses.

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken – Liverpool St
96 Liverpool St, Sydney NSW 2000