A good spicy challenge strikes a balance between flavour and fear. – Alan Richman
Belle’s Hot Chicken is a testimony to Southern Fried Chicken done dead-on. Situated on the increasingly gentrified Gertrude St, Belle’s does one thing and it does it right – hot chicken. The interior is diner-esque, with large booths by the window and stools by the bar. Large red neon lights behind the bar read “Wine”, one of my favourite words.
Belle’s is serious about their chicken and has 6 levels of spiciness to choose from for those daring enough, though we treated our first visit with trepidation and opted for Hot. Other options include, in least to most ring-of-fire inducing; Southern, Medium, Hot, Really Hot and F**king Hot. The hot was surprisingly hot and my dining partner and I am tempted to revisit to sadistically attempt the F**king Hot which I am told may have dire consequences.
The chicken wings are reminiscent of those stripped from primordial birds – colossal. The crusty, fiery coating reveals a succulent white meat that pleasantly balances out the hot crumbing. This is a meal where you have to be devote your hands and mouth to the gnawing, sucking act to reduce the large wings to a pile of cleanly licked bones. I opted for a side of pickles, which included pickled cauliflower, tomato, jalapenos and chillies. The vinegar acidity of the pickles cleansed the mouth between the 4 large chicken wings.
The service at Belle’s is superb. Quick to be seated, despite being a very busy weekday lunch. Our chicken wings were plonked down promptly after ordering and service was continuously attentive. Belle’s is liquor licensed and the crispy wings, selection of sides definitely lends itself to being prime drinking accompaniment. I had a lovely Tempranillo and my dining companions opted for crisp cider and a pale ale.
The price may seem sort of steep at $16 for 4 wings, however, we couldn’t finish our meals, despite being vivacious eaters. Belle’s pushes the best wings around and you’ll leave feeling brim-filled of fire and the most delicious chicken.