You can’t live your formative years in the boundless suburbs of a major city without feeling like you’re missing out. Growing up, I spent more time hanging in basements of my friends’ parents than I did painting the town any shade of red. We had to get creative and invent things to do for fun because you’d seldom find anything open past 9. And if you had a little money in your pocket and you wanted fine dining? Then you’d better hope you had wheels unless you wanted the same frozen food from the same family chains all over town.
There was little to write home about eating out in the ‘burbs… that is until places like Union Chicken started showing up!
Union Chicken — The Best Thing to Come Out of Etobicoke in a While!
Nestled in Cadillac Fairview Sherway Gardens’ south-west corner, Union Chicken‘s the brainchild of four owners—Yannick Bigourdan, Adam Teolis, Michael Angeloni and Dan Kennedy. Between the four of them, you get a huge range of insights and approaches to restaurant culture, with lessons learned from places like Splendido, Grand Electric, nationwide chains, and—most notably—The Carbon Bar coming together to build Union Chicken‘s mystique.
Though smaller in stature than some independents who try to be any- and everything to all people, Union Chicken uses its compact square footage, a focused menu and straightforward ambience to get you focusing on one thing and one thing alone—enjoying delicious food!
After conning my best friends into watching the boys, Sarah and I made the crosstown trip to Union, where Adam promptly greeted us, introduced us to Mike (and the Robs) in the kitchen, and Dan, a fellow Dad from the east side who joined us later in the night. (I assumed Yannick was busy doling out deliciousness at The Carbon Bar where the food’s well worth the price, but I digress.) Our seats were a food photographer’s dream: two very comfortable raised seats overlooking the front kitchen, where I took in the simmering rotisserie chicken and food prep with ease.
But the team made sure taking photos was the last thing on my mind—it was time to try the savoury treats Union Chicken had to offer!
A Look at What Union Chicken Has to Offer, Dish by Dish!
So the Union Chicken team started us off right with some selections from their beverage list—the Lavender Mule for me, and a Ginger Julep for Sarah! I’m a guy who likes his citrus—and loves a good ginger beer—so the Mule’s combination of Beefeater Gin, lemon, ginger beer… and obviously lavender… was right up my alley!
But wait—it gets better!
We weren’t leaving Union Chicken without knowing the diverse tastes the menu has to offer, so our Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Fried Chicken Sandwich were just the beginning!
Let me tell you about everything we stuffed to our faces and why it’s totally worth your time!
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
We need to remember I’m the son of a chicken restaurateur, so trust me—I know good chicken. And this chicken was moist, tender and flavourful—fast food fried needs a page from their cookbook! The dash of hot sauce they used only did this dish some delicious favours—I can’t wait ’til I’m back to try the rotisserie!
White Cheddar Biscuits
You won’t hear me bad mouth Union Chicken much, but the only thing I didn’t enjoy that night were the White Cheddar Biscuits. They’re alright but dense—I’m about the soft and fluffy biscuits; they just weren’t doing it for me. Good thing it’s just an optional side dish, right?
Triple Cooked Fries
No lie—a restaurant can boast whatever it wants on its menu, but I judge their worth based on their fries. Great fries are what keep me coming back! And man—if Union Chicken were my local, I’d just live off of it! The Triple Cooked Fries are russet potatoes with some sea salt and a side of piri piri mayo, which sounds simple, but they are on point. Want a classier take on the classic French fry recipe? Do not miss out on these!
Charred Broccoli Salad
Will admit—I’m not the best role model for my boys to eat their vegetables. I usually baulk at the thought of a salad, thinking them best at the side of a nice hunk of meat.
But the Charred Broccoli Salad was different, combining the vegetable I’ve grown to love with clever garnishes like red onion, pecorino, and a garlic parsley dressing to make the entire process of eating one’s greens… actually enjoyable.
Knowing my Lavender Mule wouldn’t last the meal (and that Sarah was driving us home), the Union Chicken team offered a second drink combining Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade and rum into an off-menu summery cocktail that hit the spot.
I wasn’t complaining!
It took a while to make our way through our meal (for Union Chicken does not skimp on portion size), but got strict instructions to leave room for dessert, for while Union Chicken is indeed a poultry establishment, they keep the menu small as a means of quality control, and their desserts are no joke.
Sarah’s more into the sweet while I’m all about the savoury, so I got a slice of their Sugar “Crack” Pie while Sarah tried their Sticky Toffee Pudding. I know Sarah enjoyed hers, but when I tried the buttermilk-based cake offset by whipped sour cream and a garnish of raspberry, I knew I’d made the right choice. And washing it down with a Fentiman’s Wild English Elderflower was the perfect way to top off the night!
Union Chicken Rotisserie — You Need to be There, Like YESTERDAY.
So I’m not one to rate my restaurants, but if you want my honest take on Union Chicken, I’d put it at a solid 4-4.5/5! And if you know me, you’ll know that’s one stellar rating, since I’m usually so hyper-critical of everything. I’d love to see more Union Chickenn in my future, and if you don’t check it out at least once, then you, my friend, are a fool.
Hope you enjoyed the read, but more so that you enjoy some Union Chicken in your life. And soon!
Until the next,
Disclaimer: Union Chicken did indeed invite us out for a complimentary meal to try out their menu, but all thoughts and opinions remain my own.
And yes, I’d totally do it again!