Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Union Hotel, Ascot Vale
252 Ascot Vale Road, Ascot Vale
When? April 12, 2019
If there is a pub that does an assured line in pub hospitality in the North-West suburbs of Melbourne, it is the Union Hotel in the heart of Ascot Vale.
Spread out over two stories and deceptively large and cavernous – without losing the feel of a good pub, the Union covers all bases in honest food and beverage.
And while the suburb becomes more desirable – with price tag – the old pub, which has been home to many of the Underbelly stars (not the actors) a long time ago, has been sufficiently upgraded to a modern layout without losing its soul.
Local bar at ground level is an expansive space with TAB to watch the horses but get away and have a quiet one, where the first floor the bistro bar does the majority of the heavy lifting when it comes to dining. Through that space to the Garden bar, to dine in open surroundings and catch the rays, then it is easy to understand its popularity.
Food and drink tread a familiar path and pricing is fair with generous plating. Highlight of the dining week is the Texan BBQ in the courtyard on Wednesday nights.
The Union is popular with all age appeal and no shortcomings.
As stated, the food tows a familiar pub line. Chips/wedges/breads/chicken ribs form the majority of entrees, while pub favorites/classics priced basically low-mid 20s, are the mains. Parma night, 6 to choose from, are a special on Tuesdays. Treid was;
- Wild Mushroom Arancini Balls, Parmesan, blackened garlic aioli. Good safe starter, would have liked a bigger flavour from the mushrooms, but tasty enough,
- Curry Special. $15.90. Rice, Pappadums Yoghurt. Good meaty thigh used in this butter chicken, real heat, generous serve, excellent value
- Prawn pasta special. $22.90. Good strong support from the tomato base, prawns were plentiful and fresh. Again, another solid offering from the kitchen.
Commercial beer on tap tending to dominate (CUB) but a very well presented pot of Coopers Sparkling Ale (funny not as easily available as it was a few years ago) was very well presented at 5.5/pot.
Wine list is very much of the treasury portfolio, and good to see a surfeit of 9/gl//40/bottle available. Rockbare shiraz. Leo Buring Riesling, both falling around that mark were tried and enjoyed.
In keeping with the way the pub operates, plenty of staff, happy to see you, and engage in conversation. Good crew doing their best.
Not scoring this one. It was at night and it is house rules then. No issues however as conversation was not impeded by any external noise.
Not really, but upstairs is very well done as you seem to walk through the looking glass from the Bistro to be greeted by a really (surprisingly long, well laid out beer garden with retractable roof. It is a handsome fitout.
If you were a local you would be happy with this one. The ground floor does have some genuine characters in the local bar, and the Union tries to encourage community with the specials lists, drinks, music, on offer continuously through the week
A straight up and down offer for sure, but one that only the flint hearted could find fault.
Not here. Just a good pub.