Updated 19th Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com
I had always wanted to go to Fuel and it was just for one thing. People had been raving about their fried chicken which they served only on Fridays. It is not that I like fried chicken a lot. I just want to find out what the big deal is and how Fuel could charge $21 for just three pieces of chicken.
Back then, the name of this West 4th Ave was Fuel. It had recently been renamed to Refuel. They closed for a few days for some renovation and reopened again as a lower priced establishment. And guess what. Fuel/Refuel retained their star fried chicken dish and serves this everyday now … and at a lower price too.
That’s a good thing. No matter how good the fried chicken are, I don’t think one can sustain justifying it at $21. Some things are not meant to cost that much no matter how good it is. Just like Taiwanese Beef Noodles are not meant to cost $11 no matter how good it is, if you know what I mean.
Talking about TBNs … Gosh, I don’t know what it is with Chef Hung. Until today we are getting tons of traffic and is the #1 restaurant review of all time on chowtimes. The long lines are still there even today after all the bad reviews they had been getting. They must be doing something right somewhere.
Sorry, I digressed. Back to Refuel.
The loud music, warmth and aroma from the cooking hit us the moment we walked in. It was not ear drum splitting loud but was very noticeable having walked in from the quiet of the street outside. It’s kind of like walking in from another world.
They have an open kitchen which you could see the action if you are seated by the bar. It was only later after we had very much settled down that it occurred to us that it might be better to have a seat by the bar. We did not bother to switch since we were all setup already.
Refuel tagged themselves as the neighborhood restaurant and bar. Never been here and with thoughts of $21 fried chickens, I thought it would be like a place you hang out with friends … you know, kids unfriendly kind of place.
We were surprised to see there were families with kids and babies at two other tables.
Service was good as I well expected. Our server was cheerful and came by really quickly. It is our usual Friday date night and we took our sweet time to settle down. I decided to order the Vancouver Island Brewery. It is a dark beer, well balanced and smooth. Suanne just had water.
Their menu is small. It is just a 1-pager. There are only seven items on the Mains section with the rest of the menu dominated by snacks and starters. Go ahead and click on the menu above to show it in extra large size.
Our server explained that they have specials which are not on the menu. There were two specials that night which are sharing plates. The first is a Whole Confit Duck meant for 2-3 people and the other is an 18oz Steak for Two. We were so tempted to get the Whole Confit Duck but decided otherwise because it would mean us not ordering the fried chicken.
We stayed the course. The Confit Duck will have to be for another visit.
Refuel also had something called Whipped Lard in the snacks section of the menu. We did not order that but I thought it sounded kind of interesting.
Instead we had Piggy Puffs. That is $5 and is deep fried pork skin. It was interestingly served in a brown paper bag. We looked around for the tell tale oil stain on the paper bag. There wasn’t any. I only assumed that for $5, this is made fresh.
The Piggy Puffs were very crispy and crunchy but some part is very hard and impossible to chew through. For the most part it was good — just that it was not perfect all round.
The white Vinegar with Thai chili above is for drizzling onto the piggy puffs. It added a different flavour dimension to the snack which I thought was very nice.
Talking about Piggy Puffs. We have a pack of this at home too. This one is $1.50 and this actually tastes better. LOL!
So this is it … the famed Buttermilk Fried Polderside Chicken. It came with Jalapeno Biscuits, AJ’s Gravy and Coleslaw.
It is no longer $21. It is cheaper. It is now … (more…)