Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A birthday bonanza at Union Dining

It's been a flurry of birthdays these last few weeks and all good celebrations must be appropriately accompanied with decadent feasts.. in my eyes at least. My favourite Winter silver lining is most definitely the capacity to indulge in Sunday roasts whilst simultaneously hiding your own insulating lining underneath layers of forgiving clothes. Don't worry I am not going to get into a self pitying rant about my personal transformation into a pork dumping this winter.. sob.... back to the birthday celebrations! My most incredible, generous, caring, supportive, running partner extraordinaire LV was turning 30 and dutifully decided Union Dining would be les chambre des parties for this milestone occasion. LV is a passionate fan of Union Dining and its culinary merits having dined there for a number of special occasions in the past.

Union Dining
270 - 272 Swan St
Open: Tues - Thurs dinner from 6pm, Fri - Sunday lunch + dinner from 12pm
Phone: 03 9428 2988
BYO: nope, a comprehensive drinks selection with affordable wine options
Union Dining on Urbanspoon

LV had booked out the top level of Union Dining, a light filled, classic bistro styled affair with access to the outdoor rooftop. On the menu was a set shared Sunday Lunch spectacular, reasonably priced at $55 per person.

First up a spiced tomato soup served with a feta and pinenut pastry

I'm not typically a tomato soup fan, however this rendition punctated with hints of fennel left me swooning for more. The dainty feta and pinenut pastry had a flaky, buttery case and its classic filling provided a moreish, salty counterpart to the soup. I could see many hawk eyes scouring the table for any leftover pastries, although I don't think anyone was foolish enough to leave any behind.

The following courses were served as a shared menu.
Glazed Dutch carrots with whipped goat curd, walnuts and parsley sauce

Nothing overly groundbreaking. The parsley sauce was quite subtle, allowing the goat curd and walnuts to shine as the flavour power couple.

Cured salmon, pickled baby beetroot, horseradish cream, brioche

This was the favourite of the entree courses for a lot of people on our table. A textural delight with crunchy shallot, smooth peppery horseradish cream, firm beetroot and that mindblowing house-cured salmon. I wasn't overly drawn to the accompanying brioche, it was a tad 'cakey', but I'm definitely not much of a brioche fan to begin with (except for pronouncing it "breeeeeosssssh").

Ham hock, peas and mint, apple soubise

When I first saw this dish I instantly thought disassembled pea and ham soup. I loved this idea of a winter salad, as it really allows the quality of each ingredient to be showcased. The apple soubise provided a delicately sweet, creamy complement to the lightly salty ham hock, peas and mint.

Would you like a closeup of it (and my grubby plate)? *sure*

I have to point out I was a little envious of the vegetarian option for this course. Creamy, white polenta, topped with peas, mint and pecorino. I go ga-ga for polenta, and consistently fail to replicate it at home with the same decadent finesse as restaurant versions.

The final round of savoury courses was an impressive rustic braise of oxtail with white grapes and pancetta. Mouth watering, fall-apart flakes of beef, married with tender chunks of carrot and crisp fresh green grapes. A stellar rendition of a home-style dish.

Vignerons Oxtail

A sinfully addictive Pomme Puree and side of Field mushrooms, garlic & Amontillado sherry  provided handsome accompaniments to the oxtail. I liked the use of sherry, a much more interesting alternative to balsamic, providing a sweet and slightly nutty element to the mushrooms.

Pomme Puree (photobombed by a giant Weazelby fist)

Field mushrooms, garlic & Amontillado sherry

My heavily peppered version (still waiting for a *breaking news story* on how cracked pepper increases intelligence/cures cancer/will eradicate type 2 diabetes/etc.. and I can be smug about my liberal usage) 

By this stage the free flowing wine had completely taken over my sensibilities and I stopped taking photos in favour of ranting and cackling. So I'm afraid there are no pictures of dessert - which was a Tiramisu. LV was so tickled by this choice, as it is the dessert she normally shares with her babička each weekend. I assure you it was heavenly, and in true Sunday feast style it was followed with ANOTHER dessert - a decadent chocolate cake provided by JS (aka Adonis), LV's fantastic boyfriend.

So the verdict - a standing ovation to Union Dining for providing such a wonderfully organised, and most delicious feast for a very deserving birthday girl LV. The service was impeccable, never an empty glass of wine (v. important!), and most certainly no hungry patrons by the end of the meal.

A detail on size: the top level which had been booked out fit ~40 of us with ease, so it is quite a generous sized dining area to book for a function.

No comments:

Post a Comment