When? - 18th of April, 2013
Where? - The Union Hotel. 252 Union Rd. Ascot Vale
Price? - $21.90 ($15 “Parmas of the World” night Thursday)
Website? - http://unionhotel252.com.au/
Reviewers – Cale, Fridge, Lee, Matt, Nikki, Stefo [/info]
We gave the Union yet another go! Check out how the old girl has evolved in our 2015 review here.
This is a re-review of a previously reviewed pub, Click Here to check out what happened the first time, I will be referencing the previous attempt quite a bit this time around, so its worth having a gander.
A few weeks ago I received an email from a bartender at The Union, letting me know that, since our last visit in 2010, The parma has had a complete redo. New chef, new parma and (what piqued my interest the most) new salad, offering something more than just your standard garden salad fare. The vote was put to the Facebook page, and in a landslide victory The Union got up. So last night, for the first time since September 2010, we ascended the stairs into The Union.
The pub still looks great, cosy interior in front of a massive indoor/outdoor decked area, complete with TV’s and a pool table, with an open air area behind that. As I mentioned the previous time we were here, The Union was my Dad’s watering hole when I was growing up, so I’ve got a lot of memories in this place (although it’s virtually unrecognisable compared to what it was).
We took our seats and checked the menu…
Bingo. The ‘Trio of salads’ is what got me in the door, and the option of a plain schnitzel is appreciated - not that I’d ever take them up on it.
We placed our orders and took our seats, Only when we were seated did we realise a mate who had tagged along for the night had committed the most hellworthy of trespasses … He had ordered a steak.
After a tirade of verbal (and light physical) abuse, we accepted his choice and moved forward with our evening. After a decent wait (over 30 minutes) our parma’s arrived from the kitchen.
As we do with re-do’s, before you see the new parma, refresh your memory as to what we received the first time around …
Visually, it looks a lot better on the plate. The “trio of salads” was a bit of a mish-mash, but we’ll get to that.
The parma looked extremely similar to the 2010 iteration, and the more I investigated the more it became apparent that they were pretty much identical. Yes it had the same thick, unprocessed chicken breast, but also the same soggy, sponge like crumbs, the same packet-ham, the same out-of-a-can extremely overpowering napoli, even the same “funky” taste that we couldn’t determine the source of last time.
We had previously said that this parma had its faults, but overall wasn’t bad - however as this was a callback review, The little things that we were willing to forgive the first time around bugged us that little bit more.
However the most disappointing thing about the dish has yet to me mentioned. It was cold. Well, not cold cold, but I wouldn’t say it was any higher luke-warm. I’ll put it this way, I wouldn’t be surprised if the chef was Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat.
It was the final blow,
The parmas had obviously sat around in the kitchen for a while after being prepped, and it absolutely killed the dish for me.
The chips were the same. Pretty standard pub chips, well cooked and a decent serving. The slightly bigger plate meant less of the chips were crushed by the already soggy crumbs of the parma, but there were still quite a few casualties.
Now! The reason we walked back through the door - The trio of salads.
As I mentioned earlier, it was a bit of a mess on the plate, kind of hard to tell at times where one salad ended and the other began. Rather than lump them all in the same category, I’ll break them down by salad type
Potato Salad - Amazingly good. The star of the dish. Creamy, bursting with flavour (very garlic-y) and the potatoes just melted in your mouth. Definitely my favourite of the trio, I just wished I had more of it. Two and a half chunks of potato just wasn’t enough.
Coleslaw - Not as good as the potato salad, but still quality. Not as overpowering as some of the coleslaw’s we have had recently, Subtle flavours that complimented the dish well. Again - would have loved an extra tablespoon of this.
Greek - Very similar to the Garden Salad that accompanied the parma last time, but with the inclusion of olives, cucumber and feta cheese. My least favourite of the three, but still nothing to sneeze at. So much onion you’ll stink for a week, but I love onion in salads, so definitely a tick from me (other reviewers - not so much)
Overall the salads were a mixed bag. The potato salad was to die for - but there was so little of it I barely got to enjoy it. The coleslaw was solid and the greek salad was good if you liked onion, otherwise It could be a tad bland.
As far as value goes … Meh, price has risen $2.40 since 2010 but I suppose that’s to be expected. I wouldn’t be back anytime soon for $21.90. There is a $15 “Parma’s of the world” night on Tuesday nights that might be worth checking out, if only for the trio of salads - but I’m not marking it on my calendar anytime soon.
At the end of the day, Our mate had the right idea opting for the steak. Sure the salads were great and I applaud The Union for trying something different with their sides for a change. However no amount of salad can make up for a mediocre parma, and let this be a lesson to other pubs out there - If you call us back for a re-review, be prepared to be scrutinised, We expect a significant change to warrant a second go-round!
Parma - 2.83
Chips - 5.50
Salad - 6.17
Value - 3.58
Total - 4.18
The search continues…