The seasonal-regional mantra commonly heard in restaurant kitchens now seems to apply equally to pop-ups, several of which are sprouting in regional Victoria this summer. One of these, opening in Queenscliff on December 19 and running until Easter, is Henrietta's Chicken Shop & Bar. Owned by husband and wife team Stuart Brookshaw and Ruth Giffney (both formerly of Albert Street Food & Wine), chef Daniel Morgan (previously at The Fat Duck) and restaurateur Tim Hocks, Henrietta's will be operating from the verandah of Queenscliff's Esplanade Hotel, which, according to Brookshaw, is "untouched, original and has the best view in town".
Henrietta's main focus is coal-roasted chicken - brined and dry-rubbed free-range birds cooked over chemical-free charcoal - but the menu also runs to the currently obligatory deep-fried buttermilk chicken, and the likes of lobster or salt and pepper calamari rolls, crinkle-cut chips, sweetcorn, pickles and a range of salads.
There are also jugs of cocktails, alcoholic slushies, homemade lemonade and a straightforward list of wine, with everything on it available by the glass and bottle.
The Henrietta's pop-up is also a preview of sorts. The team plan to open a permanent Henrietta's in Melbourne by the middle of 2015 that will have a similar offering to the pop-up, but will also head off the usual charcoal-chicken path.
"Our core range of chicken is Bannockburn free-range but in the permanent shop we'll have a changing roster of rare-breed and heirloom chicken available as a special," says Brookshaw. "There's an increasing range of options in Australia for us to do this and it's a good way to show people how regionality is reflected in the flavour of the chicken."
Henrietta's will not be abandoning its pop-up roots when it settles down in the city - an alpine version is due to open at Mount Hotham during the ski season. Seasonal and regional indeed.
Henrietta's Chicken Shop & Bar, Esplanade Hotel, 2 Gellibrand St, Queenscliff, Vic