I have passed by this 24 hour fast food, chicken restaurant several times before, and have never thought to go in. That was until it became my responsibility to do so, as one of Vancouver Foodster’s judges for his chicken wing challenge.
“Hi Five” has a couple of locations, but this one on Marine Drive is their busiest. During our visit there was a steady stream of delivery people coming and going, and a handful of individuals coming in and taking out. Despite the moving traffic, there is plenty of tables and counter space for dinung in. Although with its fluorescent lights, quick turn over, and tables that don’t get bussed in between; this isn’t the sort of place you make yourself comfortable at.
I was here to try their classic fried chicken, but made a point to sample their baked version as well; especially considering they made mention of it on their awning.
We had a drum and a thigh in both their classic and spicy breading. Between our two servings the sizes of each piece was inconsistent, one of which was half the size of my face. And as exciting as that was, it made the other pieces look small by comparison.
We were told the chicken came to us fresh from the fryer, despite our clear view of the tray of stacked parts, under a heat lamp. Although our chicken’s crispiness did speak to it. Extra crunchy with its thick breading, it gave you an audible confirmation, when you sunk your teeth in. No doubt it had a fresh fry, but the stagnant oil used gave things an acrid tinge. Luckily it came seasoned with more than just salt and pepper, and the additional spices helped to mask the above. As for the spicy version, it didn’t look any different. You were only able to tell it from the regular thanks to its slow to grow, creeping heat.
We also liked their baked chicken just as much. This was comfort eating, juicy chicken with a nice char and some good fat. All that was missing was a starchy base it enjoy it with, like some seasoned Mexican-style rice.
Instead, they have their own homemade slaw as a side. Creamy and tangy, it offered a nice break from the grease of the deep fry. My guest liked it so much that he had two servings of it.
The potato wedges were pretty standard. I wanted a crispier fry and a more firm centre. Altogether, a texture that better paralleled the slaw and the chicken.
Similarly, the gravy wasn’t memorable. We both thought it tasted like a packet mix, despite the manager stating that everything is house made from scratch.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
My guest liked both versions of their a lot, claiming that “Hi Five” was like “Churches Chicken”, but better. I wasn’t as enamoured, but do consider it a great option for after drinking eats. Who doesn’t like fried chicken in all its forms? Don’t deny your cravings.
203 SE Marine Drive, Vancouver BC