Come dine with me…

Posted by on Jul 14, 2011 in Dining, Vegetarian | 0 comments

Come dine with me…

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I love it when a restaurant causes a stir in Melbourne – for some reason we seem to be the perfect size for this sort of news to thrive.

A few weeks ago, when we visited Der Raum, Lamb mentioned a new Restaurant just up the road that looked interesting. She then had the chance to dine there and desperate to return pulled together the girls so she could introduce us to Union Dining, a newcomer to the increasingly (and surprisingly) gourmet Swan St.

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Walking up from the station I could spot the down lights outside the restaurant casting a warm and sophisticated glow. I tried to take a photo but it conveyed neither the warmth nor the sophistication. My camera skills aren’t great.

Upon entering I waited behind a couple being turned away as the place was booked out, I was then shown to our table (booked two weeks earlier – phew – thanks Lamb!!) at the back of the restaurant where two of our four were waiting. Once we were all seated and busily chatting about life, food, weather (super cold), the nicknames they all get in the blog (sorry Dino), the lovely warmth of the venue and nearby fire we began to try and flag down a waiter for drinks and a menu. Surprisingly hard given all the staff around. We were eventually brought our menus by a friendly waitress who also shared the evenings specials with us. She was also helpful identifying vegetarian options and variations on some of the meat dishes. I really appreciated the kitchens flexibility.

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We placed our orders and were brought some delicious bread while we waited. I do think bread and good butter (and it was really good) is important for a nice restaurant – we ended up with two serves. Lamb ordered the Kingfish Carpaccio as a starter and it looked even better than her pleased exclamations. We shared a bowl of hand cut thin fries with aioli. The aioli was divine – rich and garlicky and ended up smeared in the very best of ways on our bread. I declared I would return for that alone.

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The wait between the starter and the mains was rather long but the bread and catching up certainly helped this seem less of an issue.

When the meals arrived we were pleased with how it all looked – I love when food and art merge. I had a roast artichoke salad that had one of the most amazing flavor moments and in entree size was more than enough for a main meal.

The others enjoyed their duck salad, ham hock salad and hapuka. All were flavor packed without being that sort of rich food that makes you feel Ill. The restaurant encourages sharing but we are a relatively fussy group so sharing was more plate by plate than all in the middle.

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We then dilemmed about dessert going so far as to surf UrbanSpoon for pics of what others had tried (ok – this part was just me and my iPhone addiction again). We settled on Raspberry Limoncello gelto, banana gelato and the croustade of apple and armanagac prunes. All three were delicious but the pastry around the croustade was amazing as in a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

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All up the meals were delicious, well prepared and in a gorgeous setting. This place is all about the French provincial bistro vibe, intimate, warm and laid back. They are now open for a Sunday lunch and I imagine it would be the perfect place to spend lazy afternoon.

If you are planning dinner allow a few hours, relax and enjoy.

Union Dining on Urbanspoon

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