Chook zone

IMAGINE a fifth dimension, between Nandos and KFC, as tasty as the Milky Way and timeless as roast chicken – you’ve just entered the Oporto Zone.

Yes, Oporto does seem to exist in the twilight zone between other fast food joints with its flame grilled Portuguese-style chicken, but for me its vastly superior to the rest and something that Rod Serling might have enjoyed in-between cigarettes and Talky Tina.

Normally the Voice doesn’t review fast food joints, but we’ve made an exception for Oporto.

Three reasons – they don’t have many outlets in Greater Perth, their food is pretty damn good, and it can be reasonably healthy if you select the right options.

The nearest Oporto outlet for Voice readers is in South Perth on the Canning Highway, just beside the ubiquitous Golden Arches.

You can sit in, but I’d get take-away and then make the short drive to the South Perth foreshore car park where you can enjoy lovely views of the Swan River and the city skyline.

Hopefully there’s no dogging going on in the carpark – it does look that sort of place – but it’s especially pretty at dusk when the lights from the skyscrapers reflect off the dark, glassy water.

Oporto basically does Portuguese flame-grilled chicken on its own or in a burger, wrap or salad. 

If you’re going there for the first time I’d skip the burgers and go straight for the half chicken box ($17.25).

Here’s the fun part – you can choose your own basting from chilli, extremo picante or lemon and herb.

You can have it with chips or go healthy with a lovely range of two sides including spicy rice, crunchy slaw, Portuguese tomato salad or grilled corn.

I went for the spicy rice and Portuguese tomato salad.

The chicken never disappoints at Oporto, it is always perfectly cooked – juicy and succulent in the middle with a lovely flame-grilled skin.

The chook had a lovely smoky taste, and the lemon and herb basting was spot on with a slightly sweet refrain.

I don’t know how they do their basting sauces, but they taste amazing and not like the primeordial gunk you get in other fast food places.

The meal also comes with a choice of dips – garlic, picante, lemon and herb, prego and mayo.

The chilli dip tasted great when I dunked it in the accompanying pita bread, which was lovely and soft, and the rice was spot on too and not dry.

Again the pita was really good quality and tasted fresh, and the dips were superior for this type of meal.

If you’re more of a burger person, there are a good range of doubles and triples (the chicken fillets are quite thinly sliced so get a double). I went for my favourite – the halloumi and chicken burger ($12.45).

Wow, that tomato and capsicum relish really went well with the slabs of grilled halloumi cheese and chicken fillets.

A really tasty burger. Again the sauces were good quality and although it is fast food, didn’t taste mass produced, like those squirts of radioactive-looking chilli you get in other places.

The woman behind the till up-sold me on a side of spicy chicken bolas ($4  basically popcorn chicken).

They were the only letdown and didn’t taste like much and were a bit rubbery.

I’d stick to the chicken on its own and the burger/wraps.

With the weather starting to turn and the windows steaming up on other vehicles in the car park, it was time to make a move and get out of there with my dignity and britches intact.

So yes, Oporto does lie between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his tastebuds, and is a good twilight zone option for food during the school holidays.

Oporto (South Perth)
Corner of Canning Highway and Beriwck Street, South Perth

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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