JUMP FOR JOY
First ADAM LISTON lit up Adelaide with Shobosho, now comes JoyBird, an ode to the Aussie chicken shop, with a menu that brings inspiration from abroad to bear on old favourites.
First Adam Liston lit up Adelaide with Shobosho, now comes JoyBird, an ode to the Aussie chicken shop.
You could measure Adam Liston’s childhood by the number of visits he made to his local chicken shop in Goodwood, Adelaide. His family would make weekly pilgrimages for the grilled chicken and chips (which they’d eat at home, with the mandatory salad or steamed vegies, to maintain the idea they were actually being healthy). Decades later, the Shobosho chef still regularly visits the same takeaway joint – and while the company has changed, the charcoal chicken hasn’t. “I take my daughter religiously every week,” he says, “and we have the same thing.” Chips and gravy for her, yiros and chicken for him.
It’s an experience he wants to recreate – albeit on a more ambitious scale – at JoyBird in Hyde Park, his new 110-seat restaurant with Simon Kardachi
(his business partner in Shobosho). “We wanted to stick with the concept of working with fire, which Shobosho is known for,” Liston says. Unlike his yakitori restaurant, which diners might save for special occasions, JoyBird is intended to be accessible and budget-friendly. Even if the charcoal chicken comes off a custom rôtisserie grill that costs a cool $50,000.
Such a high-stakes commitment shouldn’t be a surprise – JoyBird isn’t your typical chicken shop.
It’s inspired by trips from Kazakhstan to Indonesia, and the birds (ethically sourced from Hazeldene’s Chicken Farm) are brined overnight in three different styles: there’s a traditional salt brine, a teriyaki
version using soy and seaweed, and a Balinese version that uses yellow curry paste and coconut cream.
At JoyBird, the elaborate grill allows the chef to butterfly the chickens and cook them over coal and wood-smoke, three dozen at a time, while char siu chicken spins on a nearby vertical spit. As that rotates, he sprays the chicken in sake to hold the flavour in. Shavings of char siu chicken end up in Liston’s take on banh mi, while his version of a Chiko Roll is encrusted in Japanese panko crumbs and served, Vietnamese-style, in layers of fresh lettuce and herbs. Eggplant is cooked whole over fire, flavoured with tahini and plenty of lime zest, and served with roti from Chinatown. And the chicken katsu melt, inspired by Liston’s trips to Japan, is set to become a JoyBird classic.
To get the menu right, has Liston enlisted his daughter Nina for her thoughts, given her credentials as a chicken-shop veteran?
“Yeah!” he says. “But she’s not even two, so she’s not the best judge.”
With plans to expand JoyBird across Adelaide and then Australia (“the vision would be to get it into Asia,” he adds), there’ll be plenty of ageappropriate diners who can give Liston their verdict. The ultimate tribute, of course, would be JoyBird excursions that – like Liston’s weekly chickenshop visits – last for generations to come.
JoyBird, 164 King William Road, Hyde Park,
Below: JoyBird manager Linh-Chi Nguyen (from left), director Simon Kardachi, development chef Yumi Nagaya, executive chef Adam Liston, drinks curator Ollie Margan, Chris Woodcock and head chef Dexter Kim.