Adelaide officially has its very own, very first, 70s strip club-inspired chicken-shop-cum-restaurant. If that sounds like a joke, well, it isn’t, and we all have Chicco Palms owners Peter De Marco and Phillip Tropeano to thank for the idea. They’ve been planning their new venue, Extra Chicken Salt (ECS), for the past two years.
You’ll find this sexy new chicken joint in an abandoned convenience store on the corner of Currie and Peel Sts in the central city. It’s a location De Marco describes as “one of the ugliest buildings in Adelaide.” But, with the help of architects Black Rabbit, it’s becoming something entirely unique.
On first glance, the space will be a simple re-hash of the classic 70s takeaway shop; all retro vinyl countertops, white tiled splash-backs and an enormous walk in chiller. So far, so boring. That is, until you discover that the chiller is actually a secret electric door allowing guests into the sit-down restaurant, almost entirely hidden from road-view.
And that’s where the party starts.
De Marco has reimagined this drab space as a scene pulled straight out of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. ECS will be a psychedelic trip of colours, patterns, texture and light designed to create a jarring, party vibe which De Marco hopes will run late into every night. An outdoor dining area will amplify this, spilling out onto the street in the summer months.
From the tan leather and wood-panelled banquettes, to the custom tiger print carpet and stripper pole, ECS will be the perfect kind of tacky. DeMarco is zealous about his detailed design, unashamedly proud of every custom light, chair and balustrade.
“This light fitting was buried in manure for 10 days and then dug up and polished. It was the only way to get the unique look we were after,” he beams, showing Glam Adelaide around the unfinished space. He plucks things off the floor and out of cupboards as he goes. “This balustrade weighs like 100 tonne.”
To counterbalance the riotous fitout, De Marco and Tropeano have devised a (deceptively) simple menu. It leans heavily on 70’s French bistro technique fused with takeaway shop charm, to evoke a sense of nostalgia. De Marco plays this down, emphatic that the menu’s “just simple food for everyone to enjoy.” It reads more like technique-heavy bistro stalwarts, reimagined for the modern palate.
At the heart of all this is the chicken, and the owners have gone to great lengths to ensure the quality of their chicken is the best. They’ve been working with Riverton poultry farmers Matthew and Cathryn Greenslade on rearing organic, corn-fed hens especially for the restaurant. Chooks will see a six-hour brine before a turn on De Marco’s $70,000 French rotisserie.
Then there’s the hand cut chips, made to a rigorously tested recipe, ensuring each golden nugget packs big crunch. There will be gravy, infused with all the good fatty bits from the rotisserie drip tray. Potato fritters – or scallops depending which side of the debate you land on – will be jazzed up with celeriac remoulade and caviar.
So what else can you expect from the venue with owners who seem incredibly eager to shock and surprise? Guest DJs, for one, playing disco tunes on weekends. Booze, of course. And probably a lot of debaucherous behaviour.
ECS has officially opened and can be found on the corner of Peel Street and Currie Street.