Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Union Club Hotel - Fitzroy

The Union Club Hotel is an institution in Fitzroy, immortalised historically as 'that pub from Offspring', so I've been told. Secondarily, it is also a member of the collection of iconic pubs that litter the backstreets of Fitzroy which make up - in my opinion - some of the most interesting and enjoyable places to have a meal and a drink in Melbourne. A no fuss night out, where you won't be chastised for wearing torn trackies, a stained hoodie, and a moth-eaten beanie - fortunate for myself, and many others out there I'm sure.

The Union Club is an interesting case to me. I've been curious about eating here for a while, but given the seemingly perennial dearth of free tables, and its close proximity to one of my favourite joints - The Napier Hotel - I have always given up on the wait and opted for the safe option. Not tonight! The menu, whilst not vast, does offer an interesting variety of dishes, as well as rotating specials. The stable veg. options are a corn fritter burger ($18, or $12 on Mon & Tue), and a spinach and ricotta cannelloni dish ($18) served with a broccoli and almond salad, with at least one rotating special as well. I won't lie, I was pretty keen to get all over that broccoli and almond salad, but if this place was to truly compete with The Napier, the strength of its home-made burger was key!

The pattie itself is nothing more than it claims to be: a corn fritter. I like corn, so not a bad start. Sandwiching the pattie is the standard tomato and cos lettuce, as well as some more southern-y stuff: jalapenos, coleslaw, sour cream and salsa. Basically, it's pretty jam packed. I'm someone who loves a little chili kick, so the jalapenos were welcome, and they complement the fritter quite well. For those not so keen on the hot stuff, fear not. Whatever mild heat is in the peppers is drowned out by the sour cream and 'slaw, so you'll feel no after effects...and even if you do, a sailor jerry and lime is only $7.50 from the bar. Win!

Where the burger falls apart is...well, everywhere, if we're being literal. The Burger is huge! Even with a Luna Park sized mouth you'll struggle to get it around the steering-wheel sized sesame bun. It's quite messy too. The kitchen is very liberal with its filling of the burger, so if you intended to look graceful whilst dining with some companions, this is perhaps not the meal for you. The other problem I found was that it was very gluggy. I felt as though the meal was sitting in my chest cavity for some time after I finished eating (FORCING me to have another Sailor Jerry).

There's no denying the food they're cooking up at the Union Club is far more interesting than your average pub grub, and my burger certainly satisfied my curiosity. Just make sure you've skipped lunch and are prepared to get your hands dirty for your next visit.

3.5/5 (Although extra points for the cheap, generous Sailor Jerry)

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