Everybody loves fried chicken. There’s something irresistible about that crispy, textured coating, hiding the juicy and tender chicken meat. Warm, savory, and delicious. It burns your tongue when you first bite it, but there’s no way you possess the self-control to wait while it cools down. Yet, Oslo’s dining scene is missing a proper fried-chicken-shack. Sure, you can get a really good fried chicken with a Belgian waffle at Way Down South, and even Lucky Bird is serving some decent hot wings – but both of these are BBQ joints. I’m talking about a place dedicated to the bird. Something similar to Belles Hot Chicken in Australia. Luckily, right now, there’s a tiny pop-up shack in Prindsen Hage called Fly Chicken. In my previous story, I was rooting for the Venezuelan arepas to become a permanent resident of Oslo. Now, I would like to see a place that does really good fried chicken sandwiches!
Prindsen Hage – A Cultural Oasis in the City Center
A few weeks ago, I visited Prindsen Hage in Oslo with my friend Marianne. This lovely oasis in the middle of the city center actually opened last summer. However, due to construction issues, they didn’t start to serve food and drinks until late August and then closed again as soon as September. Unfortunately, I was busy traveling at the time, and unable to pop by the 4000 m2 backyard filled with cultural activities. At last, we were here, and the first challenge was to find the damn place. I had walked past a few times prior, but never noticed the separate gate, located on Storgata 36. It’s just before Gaasa and Misfornøyelsesbar – if you arrive from the main railway station.
This summer they have been screening the World Championship football matches on a big projector canvas in the garden. Luckily, we came a few hours before the game started and avoided the big crowd. I’m probably the least football-interested person you’ll meet, and besides, we were here for the food! But first, we got a big bottle of Biokult Pet’ Nat’ Rosé from the bar.
Belles Hot Chicken – How I Fell in Love With Fried Chicken
Belles Hot Chicken originated in Melbourne, Australia, where they now have three restaurants, in addition to three more in Sydney. I fell in love with their concept – hot chicken and natural wine – when I visited this continent for the very first (and so far only) time in my life to dine at Noma Australia. One of the Sydney branches was located right next to the Danish pop-up and quickly became a favorite of the Noma staffers. We shared a staff meal from Belles with the guys after our dinner, got hooked, and ended up re-visiting several of the chicken shops in both Sydney and Melbourne during the trip. Later on, the chef and founder, Morgan McGlone, has been in Copenhagen several times to do pop-ups together with Noma. You may have seen me in a t-shirt with a big red B (I have several). That’s their logo, and now you know where my love for fried chicken stems from.
Fly Chicken – Bringing the Fried Chicken Sandwich to Oslo
Back to Oslo, and Fly Chicken, which is one of the pop-up food stalls in Prindsen Hage. A concept that was started by Amanda Kausland, Carl Fredrik Norberg Schjøtt, and Marcus Gillespie. Amanda has done the design and visual profile, while the other two are the chicken chefs. Schjøtt has his experience from several French fine dining restaurants, including Mirazur in Menton (currently ranked no. 3 on the World’s 50 Best-list), and Gillespie from La Palme d’Or in Cannes (two Michelin-stars). Apparently, both guys must have grown tired of plating perfection and reducing sauces, because now they aim for fast food excellence instead. I don’t know if Fly Chicken was inspired by Belles Hot Chicken, but the chefs did compliment the t-shirt which I wore this day.
From a relatively short menu, we ordered the most tempting item – the Fly Sandwich. Stuck between two buttery brioche buns were pieces of fried chicken, bacon, coleslaw, and melted cheddar cheese. Soft meets crispy. The buns have just enough fluff to soak up all the juices, without getting wet or falling apart. It’s messy, but you can (and should) definitely eat it with your hands. It also comes in a Superfly and Megafly version, with more toppings, but just as with burgers and pizzas, I tend to prefer the simpler options.
We loved the sandwich so much that we wanted to order another one straight away, but fortunately had the common sense to check out something else on the menu instead. Specifically, a bucket of crispy, boneless chicken legs (I prefer that to wings), paired with hot sauce and truffle mayo. We skipped the loaded fries as I find most potato chips tend to get soggy when you pour stuff over them, but I might be tempted to give them a try next time. Maybe it was the sunny weather and the 30°C, perhaps we can blame the juicy rosé, but that bucket of chicken (and the bottle) went down faster than you could say natural wine.
Once again, I wish these guys luck in establishing something permanent in Oslo and I hope they succeed. I only have one request: toss the birds in a spicy coating (yes I noticed the hot wings on the menu, but I want my chicken legs and sandwich to burn too). Stop by Prindsen Hage and see if you agree with me.
How do you like your fried chicken? Leave a comment below and let me know.