I’ve lived 2 minutes away from the Union Hotel for more than a year and a half and, before last Saturday, I’d never had drinks or eaten there. Most of my beer and wine purchases are made in their bottle shop (they have a nice selection at good prices) but the only time I stepped inside with my sister we didn’t like the vibe and decided to go somewhere else for drinks.
Remember what the weather was like on Saturday? Yeah, me too. Bonnie and I were brave enough to step out of her air-conditioned car to meet Alvaro and walk 200 metres under the scorching sun to the Union.
Ah… air conditioning! So bad for our planet but so good in rare occasions like that one, when the heat is unbearable. Despite its looks, the Union hotel is a nice place inside. The bar looks dated, like most Australian pubs, but the bistro area is almost fancy.
The bistro bar was closed when we arrived, so Alvaro and I went to the main bar to get the drinks. The selection on tap is somewhat limited but luckily (for me) they had Monteith’s Sparkling Ale.
On top of the kitchen counter, three blackboards display the specials. Fish dishes are around $20, which sounds a bit too expensive when you care more about a cold beer than a gourmet meal. So we forgot about the specials and looked at the good old laminated menu instead. Prices were more reasonable and choices included standard pub fare.
Alvaro picked his dish at light speed: the chicken & pea pappardelle with baby spinach. Bonnie and I took a bit more time to browse the options and decided to share the chicken & avocado burger with lime aioli & chips, and the roast beetroot & pumpkin salad with walnuts, ricotta and rocket. This sharing drill is really working well for us, we get our veggies and half of the calories in the “junk” dish of the day.
While we split the burger and salad both had a bite of Alvaro’s pasta (ok, they were three or four bites for me). Man, it was amazing. Pasta al dente, lots of veggies, correctly salted, etc, etc, but the secret weapon of the dish was garlic. Heaps of garlic. The dish was not too saucy, which made the garlic punch be just right and not overpowering by any means.
Chicken & pea pappardelle with baby spinach ($17)
Of course after that pasta, the chicken & avocado burger tasted quite ordinary. Not saying it was not good. The bread was not a typical burger bun, which was alright because it tasted ok. Chicken was good, avocado was good, aioli was ok (I think the pasta had more garlic), chips were above average (important!).
Chicken & avocado burger + lime aioli & chips ($15)
The salad was very nice, too. Lots of roast beetroot and pumpkin, chunks of fresh ricotta, walnut halves, and baby rocket, all bound by a well-seasoned dressing. I just wished I hadn’t tried the pasta before my meal.
Roast beetroot & pumpkin salad with walnuts, ricotta and rocket ($14.50)
A second chilled beer gave us courage to get outside the pub and face again this summer’s hottest day.
576 King Street
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9557 2989