Walk up the red carpet that leads to Uncorked Restaurant above the Union Hotel in North Sydney, the noise of the pub gradually fades and you find yourself in a different world.
A white and red theme and black accents make up the modern and bright décor. Comfortable white leather booths that swing open on the outside line up one wall. Each booth is separated by a red Perspex image of the Eiffel Tower which allows privacy without the feeling of being closed in. Music plays in the background, soft enough to be hears without impeding conversations.
Head Chef David Little and Group Executive Chef Ronny Ghantous present Modern Australian cuisine with a French influence. The menu changes monthly with a focus on seasonal produce while retaining the French theme. Expect to find dishes such as Roasted Quail on Beetroot Pudding, Warm Chicken Boudin Blanc with Foie Gras and Black Angus Rib Eye Cutlet among several others.
Order a Kir Royale with Crème de Cassis de Dijon topped with Chandon NV sparkling wine, as one does in Paris, or choose from the list of sparkling cocktails that range from $8 to $12. The drinks menu is largely made up of red, white and sparkling wines from Australia, New Zealand and France, some available by the glass. You’ll also find a modest selection of beer as well as spirits and digestives.
Oyster shooters with cucumber water, apple and chives are refreshingly cool and palate cleansing.
Blue Swimmer Crab & Avocado served on Brioche with Verjuice Jelly and Red Pepper Coulis
The Blue Swimmer Crab and Avocado entrée ($16) is presented like a piece of art. Creamy pieces of crab meat sit on top of a warm and crispy brioche with micro herbs scattered on the plate. A first, the combination of the salty crab and the sweet, buttery brioche seems a little at odds but once the avocado mousse is added, the dish takes on a different flavour. The mousse is so light in texture that you are tempted to ask for another brioche. Spheres of verjuice jelly made with olive oil, parsley, spinach and garlic add another element of texture to this dish.
Seared Scallops with Kohlrabi Remoulade, Cauliflower Puree and Crisp Roasted Pork Belly
The scent of the seared scallop entrée with roasted pork belly ($16) as it it served is pure delight. Fresh, plump and perfectly cooked scallops sit on top of a creamy cauliflower purée. The pork belly is cooked just right with the meat falling apart and the crackling having that crispy crunch.
Cape Grim Eye Fillet – Served on Potato & Thyme Gratin with Caramelised Eschallots, Béarnaise & Mustard Cress
The 200g Cape Grim Eye Fillet ($35) is a dish that reminds you of Paris bistros. Perfectly cooked medium-rare, it allows the natural flavours of the pasture-fed meat to dominate. The potato and thyme gratin is creamy and flavoursome and can even be a side dish on its own.
The Signature ‘Bouillabaisse’ Tagine is one dish not to be missed. Presented in a tagine, the lid is lifted at the table allowing the aromas to titillate the senses.
Signature ‘Bouillabaisse’ Tagine
Tender pieces of snapper, scampi, scallops, prawns, clams and mussels take on the robust flavours of the broth, with each component cooked perfectly. The dish is served with warm sourdough bread to savour the delicious broth.
Ginger Soufflé with Rhubarb Dust & Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Dessert can be a difficult choice. The Ginger Soufflé with Rhubarb Dust is light and airy with real ginger flavour. One bite and you will not want to share, not even with your other half. The salted caramel ice cream is pure indulgence.
Chocolate Torte with Poppy Seed & Raspberry Macaron, Chocolate Soil & Popping Candy
The chocolate torte with poppy seed is incredibly smooth and rich in chocolate flavour yet not overly sweet. The chocolate soil adds a textural contrast to the torte making this dish a chocoholic’s delight.
Uncorked takes you by surprise. The pub restaurant serves beautifully presented food with flavours to match. The serving sizes allow you to enjoy two courses with ease or linger over three courses with delectable desserts. The dishes are reasonably priced with entrées at $16, mains from $28 to $40 and desserts at $16. The service is welcoming and attentive, ensuring guests are well looked after. The ambience is relaxed with a touch of style, and the leather booths offer a little privacy and intimacy be it a date night or dinner for two.
The Union Hotel
271 Pacific Highway (Cnr West St)
Open Wednesday to Friday for lunch and Thursday to Saturday for dinner
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