Here's the Inside Scoop on Union Chicken
Do you guys remember Amano Pasta? That killer, handmade pasta restaurant hidden away in the York Concourse of Union Station? Well, turns out the owners do more than just fantastic Italian food. Across the hall, check out Union Chicken - their take on mouthwatering rotisserie and fried chicken.
With two locations currently open (Union Station and Sherway Gardens), and one opening at Upper Canada Mall in September 2018 (along with its own Amano Pasta location), you have plenty of options when it comes to getting your protein fix. Both locations are open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner (dine-in or take-out), and offer weekend brunch from 11am-3pm Saturdays and Sundays.
Our waitress Rachel did an awesome job of taking care of us, and for the first time probably ever, I didn't know what I wanted to order ahead of time. She explained to us that all of their chickens are free range, meaning that they are raised under natural conditions and treated ethically! Jordan (one of the managers at Union Station) put it into perspective: the chicken we'd be eating was likely alive 36 hours ago, making all their food super fresh. But before I get more into the food, let's talk about the drinks!
By Rachel and Jordan's recommendations, we decided to try the Cucumber Mint Julep (left) and the Lavender Mule (right). For a major whiskey drinker like Adrian (and Adrian's dad..), the julep was the one to beat! It was refreshing, not too sweet, with a really clean whiskey flavour. The julep is such a classic, but they took it up a notch by adding the perfect pairing of cool cucumber and crisp mint. I much preferred the mule, which is funny because I don't love gin. This version, however, converted me! Featured at both locations, it is so much of a staple that it will likely be the only cocktail remaining once they've finished updating their drink menus! The bright lemon paired deliciously with lavender to make up my new fave summer pick. Also available are a variety of craft beers, craft sodas (?!), and of course wine-on-tap.
To my delight, Jordan informed me that they would also be updating their food menu to include adjusted (read: lowered) prices on most of their main dishes. Naturally, chicken as good as this should be accessible to everyone!
If I were to, in some cruel world, only be able to order one thing on the menu I would definitely choose the O.G. Style Fried Chicken. Drizzled in hot sauce and maple syrup, and sitting atop a peppery gravy, Union Chicken is my new favourite spot for the best fried chicken in the city (and that's a big title to hold!). They make it with chicken thighs, as they should, so it is a flawless balance of tender and crispy, and the maple syrup adds a bit of sweetness.
If you go for the fried chicken, you should also try the equally tasty Spit-Fired Rotisserie Chicken. We opted for the dark meat quarter (as we also ordered four other dishes.. oops), and Adrian and I agreed that it was like Swiss Chalet on steroids. The meat was juicy and perfectly seasoned, but the real stars were their homemade dipping sauces. Piri Piri will always be a classic, but I was really surprised by their barbecue "Carolina Dip". Somehow combining tangy, sweet, and spicy, it was unlike any other barbecue sauce I've had (and I've had a lot of barbecue sauces..).
For those of you who prefer to have your chicken in sandwich form, check out the UC Viet 'Banh'. Their version of a Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich, this guy was crisp, spicy, and pickley, just as a Banh Mi should be. Our fave side dish? It has to be the Crispy Brussels Sprouts. Super flavourful and, well.. crispy, this take on one of my all time fave vegetables had us more than satisfied. And if you're looking to treat yourself, you MUST try the Sweet Potato Pie. If you leave Union Chicken without sampling this spectacular sweet treat, your life will not be complete. I have never seen it on any other dessert menu. Sweet, a little spicy, topped with marshmallows and flaked sea salt (!!!), this dessert is a real show stopper. It is also worth it to note that all of their desserts are developed in-house, so there is no one else who deserves the credit for this killer pie more than the chefs at Union Chicken!
In case you couldn't tell, this place has changed how I see food. Everything I eat should now include flaked sea salt, Piri Piri sauce, or maple syrup. And the best part is that you too can experience all that Union Chicken has to offer! I've partnered with the restaurant to give one lucky winner a free brunch for 4 people, just in time for Father's Day! If you'd like to enter, head on over to my Instagram by clicking here, and find all the details in the caption of my most recent photo! Good luck to everyone who enters.
Have you been to Union Chicken yet? What is your fave menu item? Let me know in the comments! I want to know what else I should try.