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When someone at a table brings up Australia, one can often stereotypically imagine sepia-tinted views of the scorched barren panorama, surfers riding the high tides in slow-motion, the kangaroo mafia clad in boxing gloves and palm-sized tarantulas at every corner. In the secluded chambers of my skull where genius meets insanity, I’m just thinking of Coffin Bay oysters, John Dory by the ocean and Margot Robbie.
And then there is Oporto, hailing from Bondi Beach, Sydney as a Portuguese flame grilled chicken chain. In my heart of hearts, I have always been one for franchised poultry restaurants as comfort food for the guilty soul. So when I first discovered the outlet bustling at the epicentre of the village, I had to try it.
The classic African-Portuguese chicken can be characterised by its piquant flavours, commonly achieved by marinating the chicken with piri-piri (Swahilian for ‘pepper’) chilis and other spices. Oporto offers their signature Portuguese Flame Grilled Chicken ($6.90/$11.90/$21.90) with a brush-basting finish of either Chilli or Lemon & Herb Sauce. Maybe my expectations of an off-the-grill chicken drumstick that glistened in its own juices were driven higher by a growing appetite, but the swift anti-climax of a dry, under-seasoned chicken left me surprised to say the least. The kick of the piri-piri chilis was apparent on the surface. However beyond the first discernible layer of flesh on the bone, it was seemingly missing from the equation.
Their famous Bondi Burger ($5.90/$7.90/$9.90) came with a thin and rather dry chicken fillet, with an additional $2 for a supplementary fillet. For an established chain restaurant that prides itself on its chicken and its Bondi Burger, evidence points to the contrary when it comes to succulent and flavourful poultry. For a burger that claims to be legendary in nature, it presents itself as a lack thereof.

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