CHE - Melbourne's New Next Level Chicken Shop
CHE taps into the Australian chicken shop dream and The World Loves Melbourne was invited to sample some of the menu at the launch. We love the name - sounds like the name of a revolutionary (and it is a revolution) - but CHE stands for Chicken/ Heledos/ Empanadas as well as "mate" in Spanish (clever). CHE has a modern fit out and is in the heart of Fitzroy on the corner of Johnston St and Brunswick St (look for the neon letters in the windows at night).
Is it fair to say many Aussies love a good chicken shop? Let the fine diners not get too precious. Yes we love to visit hatted restaurants across Melbourne. But we also have our favourite pizza joints, burger houses and chicken shops, as well as fish and chips and souvlaki and kebabs! Some of us can even be seen in the odd drive through - was that you I spotted the other day?
Alejandro hard at work at the charcoal oven.
The chicken shop has a revered place in Australian culture but with a plethora of options around, this humble icon has been under threat. Enter CHE by Alejandro Saravia, a chef of note at fine dining champion Pastuso, along with the team that supports him and also owns San Telmo.
CHE is a next level chicken shop with an attractive street style fit out with an attractive mural on the wall, as well as exposed brick. How about the best empanadas you've ever tasted? Both chicken and beef. Or 48 hour marinated chicken slow cooked in a charcoal oven? Or top notch salads? And alcohol options in a chicken shop? Of course no chicken shop ticks the boxes unless the chips are amazing - and CHE delivers! We discussed whether the chips had been twice or thrice cooked - they were so crispy - but Alejandro tells us only once.
Salads are top notch.
Are these the perfect large empanadas? The golden pastry casing is crispy and the inner meat filling delicious, including traditional beef, with other options of Corn & Cheese, Smoked Beef and Smoked Chicken. I still dream of them. At $5 each I want two, having enjoyed both the traditional beef and chicken!
Melbourne has seen a renaissance in chicken rolls and the Pollo Rollo delivers big time. This is CHE's signature roast chicken roll featuring grilled chicken with apple, red cabbage and coriander, slaw, pickled cucumber and fermented chilli sauce. The flavours are full, and with grilled chicken, it seems kind of healthy.
While chicken and chips is the main attraction, these other items are compelling.
I'm not sure about empanada etiquette - but I'd rather break an empanada apart in my hands than grab a knife and fork.
Grilled and so rewarding.
How do you like your chicken and chips? How about with Peruvian spices and slowly cooked in a charcoal oven. With super crispy hand cut chips.
We sampled the chicken and chips at our event. Order a whole chicken for $26 - we think great value - or a half chicken for $15 and 1/4 chicken for $8.
You can add condiments such chimichurri, spicy mayo, housemade chicken salt and smoked chilli and rosemary salt. And wonderfully, you can down it all with a beer!
Helados (ice cream) is another attraction with Dulce De Leche Soft Serve Cone - and you can add Roasted Macadamias or Malbec and Blueberry Jam.
Check out the empanada door handle!
CHE touches on nostalgia and adds something to the Aussie chicken shop dream - chicken shop reimagined. Highly recommended.