I have had a great relationship with Chicken and Sons and Chef Maestro and larrikin Adam Spencer for a long time. I have eaten nearly every burger they have made and was hired to shoot a bunch of pics for them in the past. The majority of the pics in this article are from the shoot and my review is based on meals I had in exchange for the photography. This is NOT a sponsored post but to be completely upfront – I have a professional and culinary relationship with anything and everything Chicken and Sons.
CHICKEN AND SONS AT THE HORSE VENUE:
Chicken and Sons now have three venues, this one I am reviewing in Surry Hills, the location in Chatswood and the most recent acquisition in World Square. They previously had one in the Bald Faced Stag in Leichhardt but have since parted ways with the pub. The Horse in Surry Hills is an icon of the local area for the live music, general location, trivia nights, alcohol and, of course, Chicken and Sons. It has a large pub area downstair, with a pool table or two, a lot of seating, and a fantastic bar. They serve good pub grog and the bar man I have had on two occasions knows his stuff, even recommending single malts to have as an aperitif.
But then there is the upstairs, a smaller bar and a few bench tables to eat at that lead out on to a open outdoor section (as above). I tend to eat upstairs and if I am in early then outdoors. I love the open air and when I did my first shoot at the pub it pissed down with rain and stopped when I arrived – it was perfect for photos.
The patronage is mostly young, locals, music lovers, hipsters and people that appreciate a good feed. On Sundays quite a few poms venture in because Chef Adam is one himself and their Sunday Roast is pretty legendary.
Adam has made a unique menu – the salads and/or sides section is split into a HOT and COLD. The cold salad section is very healthy with some odd mixes. There is a cauliflower and couscous salad, a kale caesar, an eggplant and chickpea salad, an incredibly healthy salad called the Bearded Barista (aren’t they all?) and a brown rice and charred corn salad called the Juan in a Million – it’s my favourite. If I’m being honest the cold salads aren’t really my thing – I have ordered Juan before and the Slaw ‘n’ Order salad I will order again but none of them make me want relations with them. But I am rarely visiting for salad. As for vegans – you will love these!!
The hot or warm sides are more my style. There is definitely some carb porn in here you will love. Truffled mac ‘n’ cheese = the end – needs no explanation – just make mouth love to it and swallow. The Gratin ‘Du Pommie’ wins for me as my fave side – sliced royal blue potato, garlic & sage cream. This is just heavenly and when I took my parents to eat here I would not share this bowl of goodness. The simple honey and coriander carrots are a must side and the “You are what you beet” salad is great for the beet lovers like myself. Roasted beets, lavender honey, carmelised pear, raisin, pedro ximinex vinaigrette – it compliments any of the roast chicken or beef dishes marvellously.
If you want fries just ignore the beer battered chips and order both the Truffled Mac ‘n’ Cheesy Chips and the All beef patty, burger sauce, lettuce, pickles chips – these are my number two loaded fries of all time – it is basically fries loaded with shredded Big Macs and I am happy to eat this bowl of fries as a meal itself – it is perfection, especially if you are a Bg Mac whore like myself.
The burgers are how I discovered Chicken and Sons and Chef Adam. They are some of the best Chicken Burgers in the country. The above Chicken & Sons Signature Buttermilk Fried Chicken Burger is heavenly and has a nice spice kick. Red cabbage slaw, chipotle aioli, cheese, house pickles. If you love chicken burgers then this is a must. If you want your mouth to nearly melt off and love your spice then the The Motherclucker is a must. Spiced breast, lettuce, bacon, tomato, tortilla crumble, Motherclucker hot Sauce. When I call this one hot it is ON FUCKING FIRE.
Then if you like a challenge you have to go The Big Bird. Double fried chicken, middle bread, double cheese, secret sauce, pickles, chopped onion, lettuce. It is basically an over sized extra large Big Mac with chicken instead of beef. It costs $26 and if you have it for lunch you won’t need dinner.
Chicken and Sons sells two beef burgers, excluding their specials, and the quality is as good as their chicken. The ‘Royale with Cheese’ (pictured on the right below) is bloody tasty and packed with flavour. Hand ground Brisket and chuck patties, double American cheese, glazed double bacon, secret sauce, house pickles. Then there is the monster on the left below – The White Stallion. Double beef patties, glazed double bacon, double cheese, secret sauce, charred onion, jalapeño, tomato, lettuce. It is fracking delicious and like the Big Bird you will want to skip our next meal.
Obviously there will be lots of chicken at Chicken and Sons. They have quarter, half and whole wood smoked chook and you pick your sides. I highly advise you pay the extra for the truffle and parmesan stuffing! They have a delicious treacle cured hot smoked salmon fillet dinner and the roast pork belly has made its way to my stomach in the past. If you prefer beef then the Jack’s creek beef rump cap is hard to pass as is the Wood Smoked Beef Brisket – a personal fave. I just realised I have eaten a hell of a lot of this menu haha.
But their Roast Highlight of the week is Sunday Roasts. These are $35 and go from 12pm until sold out. You get…..
It is bloody sensational and if you love a good winter roast then this is the pub to get it. Get yourself a nice dark ale to go with it, or for me, an overflowing shiraz and you are in comfort food heaven. If I still lived in Surry Hills this would be a weekly regular for me.
Firstly Tuesday Trivia at The Horse. $19.50 for a Buttermilk Schnitty and a Schooner to smash during Trivia from 730pm. A must for locals!
And I have to mention the special burgs Chicken and Sons put on. I have to mention it because a) they are bloody awesome and b) the first Bourbon Burgel I shot (up top with white background) went internationally viral. I have never seen anything like it. Websites in Japan asked for permission to post it as did Fox News in the USA and many many more. I bloody loved that burger. This was the prototype but the burger ender up served on a bagel. In the top sat a shot of Bulleit Bourbon.
Chef and I disagreed on how to eat the burger. My method is still the best haha. You remove the shot and stick the garnish bacon in it. You then eat your burger you then eat your bacon while dipping it in bourbon and then you shoot that shot of bacon grease bourbon and jizz in burgerly foodgasm. I loved it so much I drove from eating the burger to buying a bottle of Bulleit – it is now a bottle I always have at home.
Chef then stepped it up and created the Bourbon Burgel V2.0 – more commonly known as…
⛰‘The Pickleback Mountain’⛰
150g Iron-‘Broke-bark’ Smoked Brisket
Angus Beef Patty
Bourbon BBQ Sauce
Shot Bourbon/ Shot Pickle Juice Shot Chaser
My gawd it was an amazing burger – I wasn’t a fan of the pickle in the bourbon – didn’t quite taste as good as the bacon but that brisket was from Planet Perfect.
CHICKEN AND SONS is a Sydney institution of chicken and burgers. They definitely have one of the best chicken burgers in Sydney and always put in a lot more effort and skill than most of the standard Sydney Chicken Joints. Adam is truly a Sydney Chef/ Burger personality and his fine dining background adds a level of nuance that elevates the venues from the norm. If you live in Surry Hills or don’t mind some travel hit them up for the roast dinner on a Sunday and if you like decent burgs then get to any of their locations stat! Tell them JK sent you so they can say “who the f**k is JK?”
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 0/1 bonus
Chicken and Sons at The Horse Deets:
PH: (02) 9264 4733
381 Crown Street, Surry Hills, 2010
Mon – Fri 12-3pm and 5-9pm
BAR: Yes – it’s in a pub
LOCAL DELIVERY: No
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes
KID FRIENDLY: No
*** For this review JK (and any guests of Spooning Australia) accepted this meal in exchange for photography. However, as always, if it was shite I would happily tell you as such.