270 Swan St, Richmond
Phone: 9428 7882
The Union House has a loyal clientele and does a bustling business, particularly later in the week - and it is easy to see why.
The menu revolves around a set of pub classics that are done well, served with alacrity, mixed in with dishes that would appeal to the more adventurous - all at affordable prices.
The upstairs dining room is old-style, as you would expect in a heritage-listed hotel. Wooden tables, leather-cushioned wood benches and wooden chairs, but despite its starkness the room still issues a warm ambience.
Wait staff need to be fit; the dishes are prepared in the kitchen below and carried upstairs at a continuous rapid-fire pace, explaining the age skew to youth on the floor.
There is an interesting assortment of snacks and starters, perfect for sharing, ranging in price from $12 to $17. These include lamb skewers with Peruvian red pepper marinade and chimi churri to pan-fried scallops with cauliflower, chorizo and pangratato.
With the mains, the favourites among clientele were the spiced chicken schnitty with cos salad and gravy ($26), the 250g sirloin with mash and pepper sauce ($34), the well-proportioned beef burger with chips ($25),and the pan-fried duck breast ($34).
The drinks list features a range of regular and boutique beers and good wines by the glass at pub prices.
I went for a medium sirloin and pepper sauce, with a generous side of the radicchio and rocket salad ($12). The steak was as ordered, tender, full of flavour, juicy, and with a nice char. The pepper sauce, while there was plenty of it on the plate, did not overpower the steak.
The sweet edge to the sherry vinaigrette balanced out the bitterness of the radicchio for a refreshing finish to the meal. As the waitress cleared the table she glanced at my empty plate. "The steaks are always good here," she confided. A fair percentage of Union House customers would agree.