Saturday, October 17, 2015

Don't order this at The Union

The Union Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I'd been to the Union for brunch and was not particularly impressed with my particular order. But my friends liked it enough so I had it in mind to go back for the dinner menu. Finally got around to it tonight.

Sweet & Sour Fried Fish Bánh Mì ($10) Vietnamese sub with spicy sriracha aioli, jalapeños, daikon & carrot pickle, cucumber, cilantro
  • I was intrigued by the idea of bánh mì for dinner, so I ordered two and asked for a knife to cut them into sections to share. Bonus points to the restaurant for not only offering to cut it for us, but presenting each section in a paper pocket.
  • At $10 per order, I had high hopes, especially as you can get a decent bánh mì for $4. It turned out to be absolutely the worst bánh mì ever. Anything from Subway or Quizno's would have been better. You can get a better one for $3.95 from Saigon Fare Cafe.
  • Not sure whether to laugh or cry at the token content between the bread. And I'm not just talking about the pitifully narrow slice of fish.
  • That fish was sweet and sour?
  • "Spicy sriracha aioli" tasted like mayo with a token bit of chili. Barely any reading on the spiciness-o-meter.
  • There was jalapeño?
The Bowls were way better in taste and portion for around $15. From the bits I sampled, flavour seemed very good. Even the Som Tum salad at $10 had a reasonable portion for price, plus a generous amount of crispy shrimp. In comparison, my Bánh Mì was utterly embarrassing and having already invested $20 to share with our table, I was not willing to pour more money into this dinner.

Cha Ca Hanoi ($15) pacific cod, market greens, turmeric chili coconut milk, dill, rice vermicelli, nước chấm, fresh herbs, scallions
  • Not my order, but noteworthy for the cod being mixed in with the noodles in flakes that can be hard to spot. There *probably* is a fillet portion around the size of a pack of cigarettes, but it's hard to tell, so if you are intent on knowing how much fish versus filling carbs you are getting, then it will be tricky.
Chai Chocolate Pot ($8) with milk chocolate candy crumbs on whipped cream
  • Very strong flavour of chai spices, though no really detectable tea aroma. Enough flavour to compete strongly with the chocolate, but not flatten it.
  • I personally found the bitterness to work against it, but this is a personal preferance.
  • Make sure you share this with 3-4 people. Price for portion is decent for basically a small bowl of chocolate.
Peanut Butter Pie ($8) chocolate ganache, roast peanut praline
  • The praline shows up as a generous sprinkle on whipped cream.
  • Looks like a slice of cheesecake, except it tastes like peanut butter. If you eat this all on your own, you will probably get peanut butter fatigue. Make sure you share it with 3-5 people.
  • Regulation size slice, not shamefully skinny or short. OK pricing at $8.
  • If you like smooth peanut butter, then this is like eating a lot of peanut butter with a bit of chocolate -- the strangely good combination made famous by Reese's.
Naan ($2)
  • Looked suspiciously like store-bought pita bread cut into wedges.
Matahari ($5) guava, apple juice, fresh lime, pandan syrup, ginger beer
  • Non-alcoholic cocktail.
  • Tasted like ginger beer. That strong flavour with clear ginger bite pretty much flattened everything else, so when you read the ingredient list, ignore everything except the word "ginger".
  • At least it was only $5.
Service on the Saturday evening was good, but slow for a full room that still had line-ups around 8pm and walk-ins at 9pm. Felt understaffed but doing their best.

The Union is a Mealshare charity partner.

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