Last Sunday was a scorcher and I couldn’t think of anything better to do on that late afternoon than to line up for a pop-up event — an inaugural appearance by Northern Chicken to be specific. Where else would I be, right?! Duo chefs Andrew Cowan (of Packrat Louie and previously of Century Hospitality Group) and Matt Phillips (previously Century Hospitality Group) promised the masses some good ol’ fashioned fried chicken paired with inventive and tempting sides and even pie to finish off your hearty meal. Held at Dovetail Delicatessen on 124 Street, this was the place to be last week!
Northern Chicken is still in the relatively early stages of development but a pop-up is a fantastic way to start and gauge Edmonton’s interest. Their vision: locally sourced ingredients, scratch cooking, and spicing it up with Southern flare, adult libations, and hip-hop tunes. They hope to bring Northern Chicken to a brick and mortar in the future — rustic woods, casual furnishings, and white slider menu boards. All sounds fantastic to me! For the near future though, expect to see Northern Chicken hosting pop-up events at various establishments.I’m in love with Dovetail for providing their space for so many pop-ups! From my past experiences, fried chicken is one of those menu items that will get everybody out of their homes and into the lines. So I obviously came early to hold my place. Fun fact: 3:45pm – no line. 3:55pm – line of twenty people deep. Good thinking Cindy! My friend Josh quickly joined me before they opened their doors and we were lucky enough to grab a table. It was nice to people-watch while we waited for our order and great to see so many people from Edmonton’s food scene supporting the event — more than a handful of chefs, food bloggers, and media influencers. Love it!
— Northern Chicken (@northchickenyeg) April 12, 2016
The menu was simple: it’s fried chicken. Josh and I ordered both Andrew’s Hot Fried Chicken and Baked Beans and Matt’s Fried Chicken with Baked Beans.Matt’s fried chicken was super moist, juicy, and had a nice crispy, airy batter made from seasoned flour. Fried chicken fans would either love it or hate it, depending on if you like that crispy, thin batter or the crunchy, overly-battered style. I can appreciate both but I personally prefer crispy and bubbly! Although the batter was well-seasoned, I wished the chicken itself had a touch more salt. Eaten together with all the sides though, the meal balanced itself out and I found that I wasn’t missing the salt at all. Andrew’s hot fried chicken was my favourite of the two, featuring the same batter and buttermilk soak as Matt’s chicken. Brushed in chili oil, Andrew’s dish had a great kick to it and was dangerously addictive. If I was a chicken, I’d like to be brushed in chili oil and deep fried — just sayin’.
A table next to us ordered the Dorito Mac n Cheese, a dish we missed out on. It looked extremely appetizing and quite cheesy. Instead, we ordered the Bacon Truffle Cream Corn and the Northern Chicken Coleslaw. The cream corn was done very well, the smokiness of the bacon really pulling through and thankfully not overwhelmed by a light flourish of truffle oil. I’ll always order the coleslaw when given the option with fried chicken because I think coleslaw gives a nice break from deep fries and heavier sides. I’m a big fan of the slaw and thankful for the use of dill to brighten things up! I had another food mission to attend to afterwards but that didn’t stop me from getting dessert. Pies were courtesy of Chef Matt Phillip’s wife, Sarah Masters-Phillips (of Belgravia Hub). To be honest, on the counter they looked like your everyday pie, but my god, were we so wrong. The Buttermilk Pie was absolutely delicious — the filling surprisingly light, yet creamy, smooth, and a cornmeal pastry pie crust that was baked perfectly. I really should have bought a whole pie to take home but by that time the line had extended way past the doors. So much regret! I’m no expert in pies, much less buttermilk pies, but it doesn’t really matter because to me, good food is good food. Congrats to Northern Chicken on their first pop-up event! I’m looking forward to the next one, wherever that may be and hope that they find a solid home soon. You can check them out this Saturday at The Culinary Arts Cook Off at Edmonton’s Mount Royal Elementary School. The challenge is “Noodles and Doodles” which is right up my alley. Curse you work schedule for always being in the way. Anywhoos, they’ll get a distant cheer from me and hopefully a cheer from you! Follow Northern Chicken on Twitter to keep yourselves updated. You can also read Sharon Yeo’s recap of the event on her blog, Only Here For The Food. Northern Chicken