The problem with having a list of 100 restaurants that you want to try is that sometimes you don’t get to them in time. Case in point. Joy Restaurant… which is now closed and has been replaced by Union 613 (315 Somerset West), an amazing restaurant featuring a Canadian take on Southern cuisine. I’m not sure how I would have liked Joy, but I can tell you that I LOVED Union 613.

It’s funky and casual. With large communal tables and an ever changing menu that features some of the best local ingredients in the city. One of my particular favorites – their house made ‘prohibition’ drinks like Ginger Beer. I should also point out that the staff were awesome! So friendly and knowledgeable. Very cool people working there.

On to the food. Well while you’re waiting for your order, the table gets some boiled peanuts which are way different from any other peanut I’ve had before but warm and tasty all the same. It was at this point that I was told that a peanut is actually a bean. But because it grows with some mould on it (that white stuff on the peanut shell), some people are allergic. That was news to me!

Pea-bean just doesn’t sound the same.

I opted for the Mac and Cheese, but  I was feeling a bit guilty because I really should have tried to get some veggies. Then BAM! I’m presented with the most amazing mac and cheese I’ve ever seen. FULL of veggies. Not just any veggies. Veg that has been cooked with the cheese sauce so they are just as amazing as the macaroni bits. And of course, the most amazing part of any casserole type dish, the crunchy topping. In this case a corn bread crumble that stays crunchy even if you mix up the dish with your fork.

It was stellar. Not the heavy thick cheese sauce that we are used to, but one that is flavourful and amazing all the same. And the best part? It was just as good warmed up the next day. Which is a great thing, because the portions were pretty large. I ate all I could and with some clever re-arranging it looked like I had hardly made a dent.

I have a feeling this one will be around for a while. But I still say check it out as soon as possible! 5 out of 5.

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