I’m far from perfect.
I always forget to untie my shoes when I get home from work and glare at myself in the mirror the following morning. I’m pretty much impossible to contact after 8:30pm (homies know that the boy likes to sleep early). I’m the worst disciplinarian of all time (I also double as the best uncle cause I still act like the boy with my nephews even though I’m the man).
As you can see, I’m a work in progress.
Speaking of, I recently visited the pop up being held at Work in Progress in the CBD by Patrick Friesen of Papi Chulo.
With March into Merivale underway, they’ve taken over what is normally an unassuming bar serving Thai food and remixed it to the point in which it’s almost unrecognisable. It’s like what Hippie Sabotage did to Tove Lo’s Stay High, who even knows what the unremixed version of the song sounds like? This song will only be playing for the next month so I knew I had to get in quick.
Accompanied by Chocolatesuze and Ramenraff, we braved the busy city traffic to get our hands and mouths in and around delicious noodles, crunchy fried chicken and whatever else was on offer.
Let’s start with the wonton noodle soup (whoop):
The addition of scallions was a stroke of genius with this bowl of wonton soup. Normally served with spring onions or without any greens at all, it added a nice bite to the bowl of goodness. The noodles were soft but not to the point in which you feel they were boiled down for seniors or for people with sensitive teeth. The pork and prawn wonton was quite fat and bursting with flavour.
The soup was extremely light and pleasant. It’s the type of noodle soup that can be enjoyed during a brisk winter’s day or even the most sizzling summer afternoon. It’s legendaily, because I’d be happy to have this every day.
The duck lo mein was awesome.
It wasn’t spicy to me but it would definitely be medium-kinda hot to people who weren’t born with a pepper in their mouths (I just wish I had salt to go with me instead of sitting alone on the spice rack for over two decades). The egg noodles were smothered in the sauce and slurping them down was super satisfying (also probably quite a disgusting sight to witness if you were sitting opposite me). It reminded me of the days in which my diet consisted of nothing but mi goreng and V energy drinks.
Ahhh to be young and with no need for nutrients again.
In terms of chicken, we decided to opt for the half and half also known as the “halfies” option (tangent: once upon a time I drew up a checklist featuring qualities that my perfect woman would possess and one of them was that she would be a halfie. I gave up as soon as I realised that my celebrity doppelganger was a taller Ken Jeong).
All the fried chicken on the menu draws from a different corner of Asia. The Ginger Ninja variation channels the deep frying methodology of Korea along with the Nuoc Cham dipping sauce originating from Vietnam.
The Chilli Nuts version drew even heavier from my friends in Hanguk. The chilli flavour was very reminiscent of Gochujang Korean chilli paste) and I loved the addition of peanuts to an already crunch batter. I gorged on chicken because:
You’re gone and I’ve gotta stay fried, all the time, to keep you off my mind…
…sorry, I haven’t been to karaoke in a while. Let’s go with some more fried stuff before I burst into another off-tune solo:
One more time because I love Tove Lo?
“You’re gone and I’ve gotta fly high, all the time. Because I love to rhyme ooh ooh”
The lime and white pepper sprinkled across the tender chicken encased in light & crispy batter was amazing. I switched into scientist mode to fully gauge how much I enjoyed these wings. I snatched three from the grasps of a hungry Suze and Raff and they watched horrified as I researched my hypothesis that involved trying to figure out how much I enjoyed these wings.
The results appear to be conclusive (they were f*cking delicious) but I may have to try them again…you know, just to make sure.
Here’s the TL; DR for everyone else who hasn’t given up on their new year’s resolutions just yet (mine was to improve my Chinese):
– Can I please have a ton of wontons?
– You can never be too lo with some duck lo mein
– I love the feeling that frydays invoke which is why I treat everyday like it’s fryday (this is why I keep buying new jeans as well)
– Pat’s pop up will only be at Work in Progress for five weeks from the 26th of February. Y’all gotta go. Hit me up if you want company
Work in Progress (Patrick Friesen Pop Up), CBD
50 King Street (near the Grace Hotel)
Open Monday to Friday:
Kitchen: 12pm-3pm, 6-10pm
Bar: 12pm- late
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