Trend spotting: Bird is the word

Bennelong's Friday lunch roast chicken

Bennelong's Friday lunch roast chicken

Could there be a chicken in every pot? Judging by the number of roast chooks appearing on menus around the country right now, it seems a real possibility. And Scott Pickett is running with it. This month the Estelle Bistro and ESP chef opened Pickett's Deli & Rôtisserie - a casual European-style eatery and wine bar in Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market. "Most chefs love simple food done well and nothing beats a perfectly roasted chicken," he says. Pickett's Deli is open seven days from 7am until 11pm, serving the roast bird in a sandwich to go, or for dining-in with the likes of tarragon mayo and pickles. "The most difficult things to cook are often the simplest dishes," he says. "We clean the bird, brine it, rinse, stuff, truss, dry, season and roast it. That's a two- or three-day process before it's ready for the rôtisserie - and it makes all the difference.

Across town, Paul Wilson is set to open Wilson & Merchant, a luxed-up chicken shop and restaurant at Prahran Market, while chooks are also being miso-glazed at Belleville, and cooked by Philippe Mouchel at his newish bistro, Philippe.

In Sydney, chicken stars in a fricassée at Hubert, and is wood-fired at No 1 Bent Street, the breast dressed with roasting juices, the wing and leg tossed with green beans, hazelnuts and tarragon vinaigrette. It also swims in cream sauce at Bar Brosé, flies off rôtisseries at Mercado and The Paddington, and now even makes a cameo at the Opera House at Bennelong during Friday lunch - stuffed with lemon thyme and served with sautéed cauliflower, chestnut chips and sugar snap peas, and roasted Jerusalem artichokes with sheep's milk feta.

"It's thrown around a little bit, but it's comfort food," says Pickett. "We love it for those memories of Mum's roast chook, or, in my case, my old man's beer-can chicken on the Weber - before they were cool."

Pickett's Deli & Rôtisserie, 503 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9382 3213,


Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
David Chang’s Ugly Delicious is about to make you very hungry
Lee Tran Lam on her obsession with podcasts
Australia’s top-ranked cheeses announced
SBS to screen four top food documentaries in February
Josh Niland to open a seafood shop in Sydney
Sydney Fish Market: now delivering
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

New ways to roast chicken

Switch up your go-to recipe for a golden roasted bird with t...

Italian poultry recipes

Love Italian-style poultry? Then our recipe slideshow will h...

The ultimate burger collection

You could go to the pub for a burger, or you could perfect t...

Fowl play

Fergus Henderson takes a look at our changing relationship t...

What are sot-l’y-laisse?

They’re overlooked by many, but savoured by enthusiasts for ...

New ways to roast chicken

Switch up your go-to recipe for a golden roasted bird with t...