Bird is the Word: Free Range Local Chicken
Matt Golinski discovers his favourite flavours from around the world are now just around the corner.
My memories of visits to France include shuffling through plenty of old churches, museums, castles and monuments, eating in quaint little bistros and drinking my way from one vineyard to the next.
But none of those experiences stick in my mind so vividly as the daily trips to the local village market to stock up on snacks and absorb a genuine feel of whatever region I happened to be passing through at the time.
I never needed to use my feeble language skills to try and ask someone where it was, I could just turn my nose to the breeze and follow the scent of the market beacon, the rotisserie stall.
After stocking up on far more charcuterie, furry white cheese and crunchy bread than any human could possibly consume in one day, the aromas coming from those glistening golden chickens spinning on their sword-like metal skewers was almost always impossible to resist.
Needless to say, I learned to ask for ‘Un poulet, s’il vous plaît’ quite confidently by the end of my travels through the country. And ‘un kilo de pomme de terre’ was an equally important phrase to go with it. Ah, international travel. Remember that?
Not much chance of getting near a bona fide French bouillabaisse anytime soon, but Noosa now has a solution for those Franco-rotisserie blues.
‘Bird’ is one of the latest additions to the seemingly endless gastronomic offerings of Noosa Junction, a suburb which over the past few years has transformed from a mostly business and services precinct to one of the coolest collections of small restaurants and bars in Australia.
Peter and Chrissie Degotardi have created a ‘hole in the wall’ space in Arcadia Street which makes the most of every square inch of the tiny area they have to work with.
A shiny black wood-fired rotisserie which the couple imported from Spain takes pride of place in the middle of the shop, stoked carefully by Peter with mangrove and ironbark charcoal to ensure the free-range Elgin Valley chickens he has slowly turning inside get all the heat and smoke they need to cook to crispy, succulent perfection.
Big trays of baby potatoes sizzle away in the bottom of the big oven, basted by the juices dripping from the poultry above them.
In a small prep kitchen out the back, Chrissie prepares the chickens with a home-made spice mix and trusses them ready for roasting, and makes the chicken stock that becomes rich gravy and wintery soups. She makes salads from Noosa Reds burstingly ripe tomatoes and other local produce, and fills Tanglewood Bakery baguettes with roast chicken and proper mayonnaise.
You’d imagine by this description that these are two seasoned food professionals with years of experience in the chicken roasting game, but the reality is they’ve both worked most of their lives in the fashion world, and just decided one day it was time to throw themselves head-first into a new life challenge.
And everything from the clean, slick fit-out to the simple but thoughtful menu speaks of the passion they have for this new adventure, and the attention to detail they have brought from their previous working lives.
To be sure you don’t miss out, it’s best to call and reserve a bird and all its accompaniments in advance. At this stage it’s a purely takeaway venue, with plans to have a few seats available soon so customers can sit and enjoy a chicken and gravy roll in the funky atmosphere of Arcadia Street.
So it’s finally ‘adieu’ to those wretched supermarket roast chooks, and a big ‘bienvenue’ to the latest kitchen team in Noosa who are now a part of a flourishing ethical food community.