Restaurant review: The Roundhouse Chicken + Beer, Wan Chai - Southern-fried style
Chef Austin Fry’s hometown Texas recipe produces juicy chicken in a crispy batter. The buttermilk biscuit it’s served with is moreish, and there’s a big choice of craft beer, including a house brew
Unlike its sister outlet in Central, which boasts authentic Texas barbecue, The Roundhouse Chicken + Beer in Wan Chai specialises in Southern-style deep-fried chicken to contend with the ubiquitous Korean versions.
For the venture, head chef Austin Fry flew back to Texas and brought back his hometown recipe, for which the bird is marinated in sweet tea (for sweetness) and buttermilk (for tenderness), before it’s deep-fried in palm oil. This produces pieces of juicy meat encased in a crispy shell, no matter if it’s the chicken leg or thigh (HK$58 for two pieces; HK$68 for three, HK$78 for four) or chicken tenderloin (HK$58 for four pieces).
Each chicken basket comes with spicy pickles and a lovely buttermilk biscuit, served slightly warm and drizzled with local honey, and so good we were very tempted to order a second piece (HK$15). Instead, we had a catfish sandwich (HK$68), which featured smooth fish in a light crust.
Sides such as collard greens (HK$55) and corn on the cob (HK$35) are overpriced and not very impressive, but the zingy lemon bar (HK$55) is enjoyable with layers of textures. Do share it among a few friends, though, as if you eat it by yourself, it can get cloyingly sweet.
The beer selection is a big draw at The Roundhouse, as it is at its Central counterpoint. From an iPad, diners can choose from 33 craft beers, including Smoky Baby V2 (HK$50 for 6oz; HK$85 for 12oz), a house beer brewed locally with jalapenos, grapefruit peel and smoked grains.
We went on a Saturday night and had to go to the upstairs part of the two-storey restaurant to escape the crowd and loud music. But that also means service is slow. The server wanted to take our order as soon as we sat down, but didn’t come back after we chased our orders towards the end of our meal. Our lemon tart took forever to come and we ended up taking it away as we had a show to dash to.
The Roundhouse – Chicken + Beer, 29 Amoy Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2866 3330. Open: noon-midnight