Portuguese Food Report

Food, humankind has been eating for centuries. The staple diet of those who aren't starving, food provides us with essential nutrients and also tastes good if it is not shit. And that my friends is the key, for food to not taste shit. That is where we can help you. Long have the Portugese basted their chickens in secret sauces and spices. Long have Australians flocked to these Portuguese style chicken shops only to disenchanted by the mundane flavours experienced as the chicken goes into a decline that is ever present with franchises. But now, we have discovered a less well known, a chain which has been franchised to a lesser extent....OLE ! - introduction by mendoza!

On Anzac Parade in Kensington, just a few kilometres south east of Sydney's bustling central business district lies, rather inconspicuously, perhaps Sydney's, no, the world's best portuguese chicken shop. Cleverly (or not so) camouflaged by the slightly more known O'galo's portuguese chicken shop just a few doors down, OLE chicken and burgers cooks delicious burgers, rolls, salads, chips and of course whole chickens with masterful spices and tantalising chilli. With the skill of a romulan and the tenacity of a klingon in battle the staff here create a pure taste sensation, I can't recommend this place enough. I'm not sure what they do to the crispy chicken strips but these are in a class of their own, amazingly moist and fresh the flavour they exhume can only be likened to the words of Kramer from Seinfeld "It's like an orgiastic feast of the senses". Make no mistake about this, the chicken produced from OLE far surpasses the now heavily commercialised oporto's and o'galos. TRY THEIR CHICKEN!!!

However for the sake of being fair, I will force myself to try other burgers, subjecting my tastebuds to inferior quality and flavour, just for you, so be grateful, and enjoy the write up, each picture is clickable for a hi-res version.

** Best so far - OLE's Chicken Burger **

Posted 24.05.2007

Middle Eastern Portuguese - The Rotisserie - Dubai

2570 days since the last Portuguese chicken burger review and sadly this update is more of a downdate. As long as its been since the last review of one of these beauts I wish it was longer. One of the few establishments around town that claim to do a genuine Portuguese chicken burger with Peri Peri I thought trying this was a must. My first attempt to try this failed, there was no one there to cook, only to take orders, after I told them I wanted food they started to call someone to come in. I of course walked away.

On my second attempt a few weeks later there was a little more activity, the kitchen lights were on and it looked busier. After ordering the meal and being told it would take twenty minutes my expectations were pretty high. As often happens with high expectations, they came crashing down when my order was up. The burger looked pathetic, ill even, small and dry. The bun was cold and not toasted, there was tomato and raw onion on it, which I like normally, but it's not supposed to be on a true Portuguese chicken burger. The chicken was moderately warm and covered in the wet marinade. Despite ordering the 'Extra Hot' version this hardly created a fizzle in my mouth, I've had hotter chocolate. The mayo was a non event. To be perfectly honest, even though the chicken was only warm and the marinade still wet, it didn't taste that bad, however it was so dismal in size, even the small bun used was much larger, leaving you with extremely boring areas of salad, bun and mayo to eat. A very disappointing, bland entry that will not be experienced again.

Chicken - 4 | Bun - 2 | Chilli - 2 | Sauce - 3 | Salad - 3 | Overall - 3

Posted 29.10.2014

Coogee Corner - Pollo Rico - Coogee - Coogee Bay Road (beach end)

Seems like every man and his dog is having a go at the Portuguese style chicken burgers. This one's from Pollo Rico in Coogee, a few moments stroll from the beach, and my advice would be to stay at the beach. If you ever wanted to taste the most unexciting, bland and boring attempt at a portuguese chicken burger this is the place to go.

Let's start with the chicken, pretty important ingredient, the good part was it was lean, so lean it was completely tasteless, now this might be easy to hide if your chilli sauce is kick arse, on the flip side it's also going to be blatantly obvious if your chilli sauce is crap, and of course, Pollo Rico is firmly in the latter on this stage too, I don't know how much actual chilli is in the sauce but i'm guessing it's ranging from around 0 - 0.5.

We're at the point now that nothing can save this burger, I mean who ever heard of a bun or lettuce coming in to save the day when it comes to these babies? Both are standard anyway, even the mayo was below par, it was too runny and was kind of annoying. All in all a very disappointing affair that will definitely not be visited again any time soon... or more likely, ever!

Chicken - 3 | Bun - 4 | Chilli - 2 | Sauce - 3 | Salad - 4 | Overall - 3

Posted 16.10.2007

Copy Cat - Portogali - Kensington - A few doors down from OLE

A Portuguese chicken shop just a few doors down from OLE... how can they compete? You may ask, well you see, this was the old OLE. I noticed a while back that OLE had a sign saying they were moving a few shops up, and sure enough, suddenly one day, they had packed up and moved, just three shops up, I thought this may have been to get a bigger, brighter store, but when I visited them it was actually a bit smaller than the older one. A few days later I notice, another, differently named Portuguese chicken shop open on the very premises that OLE had just vacated! Anyway after some investigation I have been told that the landlord didn't want to renew the lease with OLE, and it's quite obvious why, he had his own Portuguese ambitions. Now, if true, this is dispicable, and out of principle I would never go there, however, if I'm going to review even the Portuguese chicken burger from a bar I have to try the one from here.

The shop was noticeably empty when I walked in, admittedly it was a cold rainy night, however I did see that OLE had a few tables taken. As I stood at the counter I wondered how long I would be standing there till the girl, washing dishes with her back to me, was going to notice I was there, after about 30 seconds, she turns around and bounced across to the counter. With a warm smile she took my order which was the standard meal with no cheese. I took a seat and hoped no one from OLE would walk past and see me. Watching her cook my chicken and get my burger ready I couldn't help but worry a little that such a young girl, she must have been 17 at most, was cooking my burger, I'm used to the big fellas at OLE work their magic. $9.50 later I walked away, quickly. Once in the comfort of home I started the testing. First impressions of the burger were surprising, it was quite big and looked nice, infact it did look a little like the OLE, they probably stole alot of the secrets! There was one secret I was certain they hadn't stolen from the first bite, that was taste. Don't get me wrong, this burger is pretty good on it's one right, better than an oporto's job, however, in the taste and content department it cannot compare with OLE. I'm not just saying this, the chicken didn't taste as good, and the mayo had a strange, almost yogurty flavour to it, I think it's quite clear that they don't use Ionica chickens like OLE.

I did enjoy the burger however the sour taste of deceit was too overpowering, it was even stronger than the sufficient chilli. I think without knowing the history I would quite like this burger, until you try the one a few doors up, there's really no reason to have this burger from Portogali, a better one, that actually costs less is a just a few steps away, it's mainly for this reason I don't really recommend it. One would have thought they would have done something different, offering a slight twist on the burger or have more chicken or be cheaper, but no, they are just trying to work on the immense popularity that OLE had, little did they know OLE would be fortunate enough to get a shop so close. Umm, back to the food, the chips were decent but not as crisp as they could have been, despite being cooked fresh for me, I wanted to get an extra to feature for the review however the salads looked terrible and the other hot extra's looked worse, they had some chicken souvlaki sticks that honestly looked like they had been there since they opened and the baked? vegetables were so dry they could be used to wipe up spills, so I opted to pass on the extra.

Chicken - 6 | Bun - 5 | Chilli - 6 | Sauce - 4 | Salad - 6 | Overall - 6

Posted 19.06.2007

Doesn't Add Up - Equilibrium - World Square Complex Sydney CBD

Friday lunch at Equilibrium, all I can say is go early, ordering here any time after 12:30pm is like pricking yourself with rusty blunt darts. Anyway after seeing a 'Portuguese Chicken Burger' on the menu with Peri Peri or lemon and herb sauce I instantly decided what I was going to have. I chose the Peri Peri one of course and parted with $15 for the meal. I was delightfully surprised to see that it had arrived after about only seven minutes of waiting. My first thoughts were 'this is a Portuguese Chicken burger?' First the good, the bun was a big proper bread roll, I thought this was great, there was alot of chicken, and it had fresh lettuce, not shredded and this burger also had tomato. In addition to this there was caramalised onions on the burger as well, interesting for a Portugese chicken burger.

Now while the chicken was plentiful, it was just a standard piece of grilled chicken breast with no particular or discernible flavours, the peri peri, just wasn't peri peri, it was a runny mayo that had been mixed with something, but it wasn't peri peri, it had no chilli taste or spice to it at all, this made the burger rather bland and boring, even the O'Galo burger was tastier than this, infact it was so boring I never ended up finishing it. How they can call this a Portuguese Chicken burger is beyond me, there's no Peri Peri or other portuguese spices, there's onions and tomatoes on it, also a weird and runny mayo. The only thing I would recommend about this burger is removing the word 'Portuguese' from it, far too expensive for a bland and tasteless entry. My advice for when at Equilibrium.... stick with the beer battered fish.

Chicken - 2 | Bun - 7 | Chilli - 1 | Sauce - 1 | Salad - 6 | Overall - 2

Posted 02.06.2007

OhNo Galo - O'Galo Portuguese Style Chicken and Burgers

When I first bit into this burger a quote from Homer Simpson popped into my head "A bland timid entry, suitable perhaps for patients recovering from surgery". However someone at the Sydney Morning Herald definitely disagrees, according to the flyer I got with my meal, it has mystifyingly been labelled as 'Sydney's Best Chicken burger' clearly the food reviewers there need to broaden their testing criteria or perhaps they were just lucky on that day. Upon opening the burger you see bun, bun and a bit more bun, I took it out to get a better look, and while from one angle it does look like there's a serious chicken journey ahead, other angles tell a very different, and in my findings, a much more realistic story of chicken content. Despite the first pic of the burger, I'd easily be comfortable with saying this burger had the least amount of chicken than any other (Portugese or not) chicken burger I have had, ever. This of course makes it a possible candidate for the farce food section as the burgers pictured on their website and on the menu boards are nothin short of massive, with huge chicken pieces, however that's another story.

The overall flavour of the chicken burger wasn't too bad, but in short, I felt that even the standard Oporto's burger was better, however one thing I found interesting in the flavour was the mayo, it tasted like it had a hint of tahini in it, perhaps it wasn't the mayo, but something had a distinct tahiniish taste to it, I quite liked this rather unexpected flavour and I felt it complimented the chilli quite well. As you'll be able to see from the pics not only isn't there much chicken but the chicken pieces are also the thinnest I have seen. I'm really critising the chicken I know, but when compared with the others on this page, it's just a dismal effort really.

The bun was standard, fresh, soft and warm, the lettuce was also the standard shredded variety and well, was just lettuce I guess. The one thing that I felt saved the meal were the chips. OMG the chips, they were sensational and easily the best out of all the Portuguese chicken establishments I have tried, they were crisp and crunchy on the outside and had warm soft potatoey goodness on the inside, they come with just the right amount of chicken salt and are fried very well as there was no visible oil on them, nor did any oil leak onto the bag. While this was good it doesn't take away from the very ordinary chicken burger, which is a pity, a big pity considering it would be a relatively easy fix, simply match the amount of chicken to what others have, or even a bit more, spice the chilli up and voila! The store layout and menu, having stuff like the chicken burger with avacado, has promise, offering other things like hot dogs and ice cream also is great, let's hope I either had a poor one, or they fix the burger!

Chicken - 4 | Bun - 5 | Chilli - 3 | Sauce - 7 | Salad - 4 | Overall - 4

Posted 31.05.2007

King OLE! - OLE Chicken and Burgers - 142 Anzac Pde Kensington 2033 (02) 9697 9003

This was the burger that inspired me to start reviewing food, before I even had a food section dedicated to reviews this burger was on the rants page, I simply had to write about it. Since the first time I tried it I couldn't believe how much better this chicken burger was from any other Portuguese chicken burger I have had, anywhere. It reminded me of how I felt when I first tried Oporto's from Bondi all those years ago, but the great thing about OLE is that you feel that way each and every time you get one. It really is amazing that the best so far for both beef and portuguese chicken burgers is held by the same establishment, I guess this says alot about their commitment to quality and consistency. They also proudly display a sign boasting they use Ionica organic chickens only, and well, I'm not saying I'm an expert with organic vs. non-organic but the chicken from OLE certainly tastes fresh, clean and lean.

What do you expect me to say about this chicken burger, it's superb, one thing in particular I love about this burger is that it doesn't suffer from a problem a alot of grilled chicken burgers do, over cooked chicken, this chicken is cooked so well, its still moist on the inside and out, and there's also more of it, this burger had the most chicken in it of all Portuguese chicken burgers tried to date. Further to this the chilli is also the best, it's the tastiest while being very hot as well, not quite as hot as the hottest Peri Peri from Nando's but definitely hot enough. The mayo is the perfect amount, in every bite without being intrusive, and the bun is soft and warm to hold and toasted ever so lightly on the inside, and of course there's plenty of chicken poking out the sides. You must try this burger, no matter where you are, make the trip, it truly is worth it.

Another item worth mentioning that OLE does is the crispy chicken strips, I'm not sure what they do to these tender pieces of chicken breast, but they are divine. The coating is delicious with a subtle hint of lime or lemon flavour, which somehow makes it's way all through the chicken flesh which is moist and juicy, however if these have been sitting under the heat lamps for a long time they can be dry, this has happened to me once, all other times they were great, they don't cook a huge number of these so there's usually a fresh batch that's either just been done or on the way.

Chicken - 8 | Bun - 7 | Chilli - 8 | Sauce - 7 | Salad - 6 | Overall - 9

Posted 24.05.2007

The Nando Fix - Nando's

You must have seen the recent advertising campaign put on by Nando's lately. They really are pitching their product hard at the moment. Their ads are pretty funny, with the Nando fix gum and Nando patch designed to get you through your Nando cravings at times you can't get to a Nando's. I thought this was an obvious addition to the portuguese chicken war so the other day I headed off to the nearest Nando's which is conveniently located at World Square. Before I say anything else I have to mention the cost, it is ridiculously high, a chicken burger with chips and a drink that is NOT upsized cost $13.20, how they can justify charging that much is beyond me. Anyhow I was somewhat prepared for the price as I have been to here a couple of times, just never had the burger yet, this was the first time. After opening the box you discover a huge seasme seed bun. Not really being able to see the chicken at this tage is a little worrying, particularly considering the cost. This burger also had the most amount of lettuce I have ever had in a chicken burger, it's not a bad thing but the chicken lettuce ratio was a quite bad when compared with other burgers.

I had to sneak a peek under the bun just to make sure there was some chicken there, and well sure enough there was a breast piece, covered in Nando's Peri Peri sauce, and of course I went for the extra hot type. Picking up the burger revealed the bun was soft and fresh, and still warm, which is interesting as a couple of times when I have had the corn from this particular Nando's it has been completely cold, cooked but cold. The first bite proved very uninteresting as I hit but lettuce and touch of sauce, I didn't manage to make contact with the chicken, i'm thinking $13.20 here. I eagerly took my second bite and managed to get a big bit of chicken in this one, and to be frank, it was pretty ordinary, I would definitely say that the Oporto's and even the Zappolo's chicken burger are tastier, which really shocked me, particularly the latter being better. There's really not much else to say, the rest of the burger was rather uneventful and sadly didn't get much better. I wouldn't say it was a bad burger but it certainly is not worth that much money. Unfortunately the chips were unable to save the day, they were, just, well, ordinary, I must say I was very pleased I didn't upsize the meal, I would have wasted close to $15.00 then..

There is another item on the menu that is worth mentioning and that's the chicken Espatada, succulent pieces of chicken breast, basted in your choice of sauces that are grilled then served to you with onions and capsicum, also roasted, and a side, I usually get the corn, as the rice is very bland and the chips are meh... The Espatada is very tasty but also very expensive and as you may well know this page is about burgers, and the Nando's chicken burger simply doesn't make the cut amongst the other heavyweights in this division. In this writer's opinion, get yourself some Nando gum and save the cash for OLE!

Chicken - 4 | Bun - 5 | Chilli - 7 | Sauce - 5 | Salad - 6 | Overall - 5

Posted 18.05.2007

Bondi's Best - Oporto

Recognised by most as the original player in the Australian Portuguese chicken market they started in Bondi several years ago, slowly and solidly building a reputation for some of the tastiest chicken burgers around. I remember when I was first introduced to it, back in the mid 90's and remember getting told by my mates to expect something unlike I had ever tasted before, well sure enough after that first bite I was hooked. As I said earlier, I believe the true portuguese chicken burger is meant to be enjoyed without cheese. Just the chicken, the mayo and chilli sauce with lettuce on a bun. I feel the cheese masks the flavour of the chilli and other portuguese spices, many ppl, including Oporto's disagrees as there is no cheeseless burger, you just ask for no cheese on whatever burger you want.

The Bondi burger above, as expected is very tasty, the chicken seemed fresh and moist, the mayo wasn't dripping everywhere and the bun was soft and warm. I think it could have done with more chilli, I guess that's just a simple matter of asking for more when ordering, but perhaps having degrees of chilli would be an idea to adopt. the chicken also wasn't oily, and I guess you would expect that as they are very clear on it being grilled not fried. My only 'beef' with this burger is that it could do with a bit more chicken you can of course order the triple chicken but let's face it, it doesn't look anything like picture that's used to sell it. In case you're wondering, because the burger didn't actually look to bad I felt it didn't qualify for my farce food section. There are also the die hard fans of Oporto's that swear the burgers from the original store in Bondi still are the best, and that even those have changed from when the burger was only sold at that one store. I'd imagine there is some truth to that, particularly the latter part. I only went to the original store a few times so I can't really remember to be honest.

But by far my favourite thing from Oporto's is the chicken strips, they are skinless pieces of breast chicken that are marinated in some spices and grilled to perfection, these strips are so delicious and I highly recommend you try them if you haven't already. The chips were average, I don't know what it is about some places, if they just put a bit of effort behind their chips, the oil they use and stuff, they would make a much tastier potato chip. I'm so over ordinary chips, I didn't eat more than 5 at the most. Anyway, I won't bother asking you to try Oporto's because if you are even remotely interested in Portuguese chicken burgers and there is one in reasonable distance of you, you would have definitely already tried them.

Chicken - 6 | Bun - 5 | Chilli - 4 | Sauce - 5 | Salad - 4 | Overall - 6

Posted 22.04.2007

Portuguese / Turkish Chicken Burger - Zappolo - 59 Goulburn Street Sydney 2000

This little cafe located in 59 Goulburn street Sydney does some incredible coffee, it's what initially attracted me to it. The lifts in this building are particularly bad so getting a coffee while the queue for the lifts shortens is a great option. The lunch menu available from here changes on a rotation basis, however there are some items available all the time, and one of them is their chicken burger. I know the owner in that i'm a regular, and one day she convinced me to try it saying it was just like an oporto's burger, at that point I wasn't sure if she was bagging it out or trying to say it was good, this in itself was enough reason to try it, so I did, the very next day. The short is, it's not bad, it's not mind blowing though.

The burger itself is quite a good size, however this may have alot to do with the fact that they use turkish bread, which generally has a larger circumference than a standard seasme seed bun. There wasn't a great deal of chicken inside but the flavour was good enough with the portuguese spicies definitely identifiable. The mayo was good and not overly done. It has cheese but I prefer my chicken burgers without cheese. All in all the burger was very enjoyable, I think 50% more chicken would have made the burger alot better. It's hard to say that this burger is a 'must try' due to it's close proximity to both Nando's and Oporto's, but if you're ever in the building and you don't feel like venturing too far for a bite, and you feel like a portuguese style burger give this one a go! Or just have a coffee here, it's excellent.

Chicken - 5 | Bun - 2 | Chilli - 2 | Sauce - 4 | Salad - 5 | Overall - 4

Posted 15.04.2007

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