“You can touch it, smell it, taste it so sweet”
One of the more annoying things about being in a music store is when someone jumps on the piano and starts playing the outro to Faith No More’s Epic. This always used to happen a few doors down from where 4 Fingers is located. So when The Dear Luncher commenced marauding down Bourke Street with an appetite for fried chicken, he was indeed hoping for an epic experience, and not some pale imitation or cover version.
4 Fingers has quite a presence in Asia already, boasting stores in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. The original store opened up in Singapore back in 2009. Since then this particular chicken franchise has exploded all over Singapore. In Australia – there’s one shop each in all of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. So let’s see what the fuss is all about, shall we?
From the outside, the 4 Fingers outlet on Bourke St looks a tad unappealing. It looks very fast-food. The Dear Luncher is not a snob, let’s be clear. This description is not meant to be pejorative. However, when it comes to fried chicken dispensaries, there are those you eat at when you are off your tits, and then those you select when you’re having a civilised lunch. This visit was for the latter. Do not let the pedestrian feel from Bourke Street fool you, the interior is more than adequate. Decorated quite nicely and with quite a few seating options – The Dear Luncher perched on a four-seater at precisely 11:55am. A sound tactic to ensure one is seated just before shit gets way to hectic. There is no table service. So this is where the fast-food aspect takes hold. One must approach the counter and order. By 12:15pm the venue was pumping. Tables fully occupied and several take-away lurkers anxiously waiting for their parcels.
With one fellow Luncher arriving, beers (Stella Artois – $8) were ordered. Surveying the scene The Dear Luncher took note of the chicken-brushing activities in the kitchen, intriguing. Hand-brushed this chicken, each and every square inch of the chicken you’re eating gets the brush treatment. When the rest of the crowd arrived, serious business commenced.
Perusing the menu, one is confronted by wave after wave of chicken dishes. To be at one with the chicken, one must think like a chicken. However, who the fuck knows what a chicken thinks? So The Dear Luncher’s advice is to just order a bit of everything. This approach was taken at the counter. Sadly (lulz) there were no salad or moderately healthy side options on offer (despite being listed on the menu). Apparently this particular outlet just didn’t have those offerings ready yet. The Dear Luncher explained to his entourage that there was good news, and then there was good news. The good news is, they don’t have any salad. The other good news: Your Dear Luncher ordered more chicken instead. 18 pieces of “mixed” chicken ($21) was the first part of the order. This package includes wingettes and drumettes. Mixed means you get a combination of soy/garlic flavoured chicken and hot chicken. In addition, three drumsticks ($10) were ordered of the garlic and soy variety – just to ensure there was enough chicken for three blokes to smash down. Gluttons.
The best detail about the chicken is that it is easy to consume. Wings can be messy. 4 Fingers chicken is relatively easy to smash down. Delightfully soft inside and wholesome. The hot wings were fairly tame for the spice merchants out there. The soy and garlic were sticky-sweet with a nice tang to them. There is a noticeable crunch with each bite, the flavours are distinct but not too overpowering. The fries were decent, but excessively salty. A good two hours after consumption The Dear Luncher is still suffering from dry mouth syndrome. Disappointingly, no form of refresher towels on offer. The Dear Luncher has come to expect this at certain eateries of this kind and whilst it’s not a deal-breaker, it’s nice to be able to wipe down your hands, fingers and mouth with some form of moist, disposable refreshment towel.
Assessing the experience in its entirety – The Dear Luncher felt that this was a worthwhile experience. However, if you are a fried chicken fanatic, you will most certainly prefer the more traditional Korean stylings of this particular fare. That being said, the burgers on offer at 4 Fingers did look rather appealing and as such provide justification for future visits. Not Epic by any stretch, but this brand of fried chicken will appeal to many Melburnians.
“It’s in your face but you can’t grab it”
Location: 189 Bourke Street, Melbourne.
Cuisine: Fast Food, Asian, Malaysian.