Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations
list an event      1 million Australian readers every month      facebook

Belle's Hot Chicken

Home > Melbourne > Restaurants | Lunch | Food and Wine | Dinner
by H. Clare Callow (subscribe)
A die-hard Melburnian who keeps being drawn away by luscious food and drinks. Be a pal and click the 'like' link below if you enjoy my article.
Published January 27th 2015
Real southern-fried chicken, not the way the Colonel made it
belle's hot chicken, belle's diner fitzroy, fitzroy restaurnants, fitzroy lunch, southern soul food melbourne
Belle's hot chicken.
My heart sinks when I see the menu on the wall. Not only because it's a menu on a wall although I am a little snobby about that but because it's going to cost me at least $16 to eat here. For a fried chicken place, that seems a little pricey.

'Have you eaten here before?' the waitress asks, and I admit that no, I'm a newbie. She gives me the rundown and my heart is revived a little. This place is a chicken joint, but they do chicken the way they do it in the south in the US. Home-fried chicken. It's still not going to be worth the price, I believe, but I'm too entrenched now to get up and leave.

I order the chicken 'hot', which sits on the middle of their scales, with a side of potato salad and extra pickle. I trudge my number back to my table and wait.

For a fried chicken restaurant, the diner is experiencing a lunchtime rush that must be satisfying to the owners. It's a Friday, a day when most of the people in the hip offices around this part of Fitzroy would be heading to the pub, but the tables are almost completely full. There's a decent turnover, too: it's obvious that people aren't here for the atmosphere, but for the food, although the four guys with the jug of beer behind me might argue that point.

belle's hot chicken, belle's diner fitzroy, fitzroy restaurnants, fitzroy lunch, southern soul food melbourne
The menu.
The chicken arrives at my table, still sizzling in its basket. A slab of white bread acts as a sponge for the red oil juices that trickle down. I have to admit I'm impressed. I ordered tenders, and they certainly haven't skimped, with a pyramid of chicken stacked in front of me.

Knife, cut, first bite. Guys, my reservations about this place were entirely wrong. They shouldn't be charging just $16 for this ambrosial meal in front of me. The chicken is, as promised, tender, the meat light and fluffy. The batter, too, is light, with just enough heaviness to bring it this side of tempura. It's the spices, though, that take this meal to another level: as my teeth enclose each new piece of chicken my tongue is taken on a tour of the spice aisle, with paprika providing a forefront and leading me through cayenne and hot peppers.

I find I'm glad I went for medium heat. Even though it's only the mid level it's hot enough to bring me out in a sweat. I shovel down forkfuls of potato salad to act as a counterpoint. (The salad is worth mentioning on its own, with shards of green apple and cornichons that give it a nice crunch.)

By the time I'm down to my last strip of chicken I am more than pleasantly full, and I can't help but wonder at my earlier worries. This place dished up a hearty meal and there was no need for extras.

I force the last few forkfuls into my mouth, unwilling to let any of this delightfully spicy delicacy behind. As I wipe my hands and sneak out the door, I'm aware of a feeling of embarrassment. Belle's, I almost passed you by. Missing out on such a journey through southern soul food would have been my well-deserved reward.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  39
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Real southern-fried chicken.
When: 12pm-10pm Mon-Thurs; 12pm-11pm Fri, Sat; 12pm-9pm Sun
Phone: (03) 9077 0788
Where: 150-156 Gertrude St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Cost: $16
Your Comment
More Melbourne articles
Articles from other cities
Featured
Foodi Photoh Classie
Related
by Alexander on 02/10/2016
Top Events
Popular Articles
Categories
Lists
Questions