Union Dining

Art, sunshine, food and wine.  These are a few of my favourite things and they all came together at the unveiling of the “Two Years on the Wall” prize at Union Dining this week.  I was invited to dinner on the rooftop terrace of the popular European bistro in Richmond to see the presentation of this new biennial art competition that Union Dining is running in conjunction with TarraWarra estates.  As well as admiring the winning entry, an amazing paste-up of Melbourne artist Baby Guerrilla I was also able to try Union Dining’s new spring menu from talented chef Nicky Riemer (previously of Melbourne Wine Room).

Spring vegetables with parsley cream at Union Dining

The terrace at Union Dining is a real sun trap and while the view is limited to some Richmond rooftops its a great place to spend an evening in the summer months.  There’s a special snack menu for the terrace which we were given to start like the beef tartare topped with a sprinkling of pecorino and the kick of horseradish ($17).

Beef tartare at Union Dining

The best dish I tried off the Terrace menu though were the fish and potato croquettes ($15), once you broke into the crispy coating they were oozy and comforting.  Great snack food and perfect with the TarraWarra rosé.

Croquettes at Union Dining

From the restaurant’s new full spring menu we started with the cuttlefish salad ($21) with the seafood slightly charred from the grill and teamed with crisp breadcrumbs and a sweet pangrattato and tomato vinaigrette.  It was a sensational dish and perfect food for a balmy evening.

Cuttlefish salad at Union Dining

I wasn’t quite as enamoured with the artichoke and borlotti beans salad ($28).  While I loved the soft boiled egg I thought the whole dish could have done with a little more seasoning and kick.

Artichoke and borlotti beans salad

Dish of the night for me was the spatchcocked baby chicken.  I’m often hesitant to order chicken in restaurants as it has a tendency to be dry, boring or both but at Union Dining the chicken ($35.50) was moist with a crisp skin and the rich creme fraiche sauce, roasted sweet garlic and earthy Otway shiitake mushrooms gave it a real depth of flavour.

Spatchcocked baby chicken to share at Union Dining – check out that sauce

The pickled and roasted Spring vegetables sitting in a pool of vibrant parsley cream made a great side dish particularly with the addition of a sprinkling of Meredith goat curd ($18).  And abbachio of Spring lamb ($39) infused with the Greek flavours of oregano was slow cooked to the point that it slid off the one.

Spring lamb at Union Dining

An unexpected pleasure for me came in the form of trifle ($15) for dessert along with a glass of TarraWarra’s moscato.  Both the dessert and the wine have big connotations of dagginess but the trifle was jazzed up with a layer of tart tamarillos, sweet sponge and some crunchy pistachios to add texture to the dish.  The moscato was the perfect pairing with its light bubbles and slight sweetness. I’m a little late to the party but I’m a big fan of Union Dining after my meal there.  Here’s to more art, sunshine, food and wine over the course of the Summer.

Gourmet Chick was invited to review Union Dining. 

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Details: Union Dining, 270 Swan St, Richmond (Ph +61 3 9428 2988) dinner from 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Lunch from 12pm, Friday to Sunday.
Damage: Pricey but on this occasion I did not pay.

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  1. I don’t tend to order chicken when out unless it sounds particularly good-I do love spatchcock though!

  2. The cuttlefish salad looks really yummy. The spatchcocked baby chicken is a MUST TRY! My saliva is dripping.

  3. Nigella – I agree I wouldn’t have ordered this myself but it was a set menu so I am very glad that I got to try it.

    Jack – Yes the spatchcocked baby chicken was a real highlight. Overall it’s a great restaurant and such a lovely terrace for Summer.

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