84 Union Street, Pyrmont

Friday, September 16, 2016

Located just a stone's throw away from the bustle of Darling Harbour, 84 Union Street occupies the space where the old Hog's Breath Café used to be, before it was transformed late last year. The space is busy on a Friday night, full of people easing their way into the weekend.

There is a distinct, tropical Australiana feel about the restaurant and bar. Aussie landscapes are painted across the walls, along with green grapevines and fairy lights that hang from the ceiling. The bar in the middle of the space is framed by grey corrugated iron, and lights up blue in the dim evening light. It's a casual local pub that does more than just offer drinks and pub meals; the menu is a culinary mix of different cuisines that is sure to suit every stomach. 

As well as an extensive 'tapas' menu, which lists sharing plates, there are wok-fried Asian favourites such as Nasi Goreng and Pad Thai, as well as more traditional classics like schnitzel, burgers and grilled steaks. The drinks menu also has a number of unique and intriguing cocktails. 

Beluga Moscow Mule ($22)
A refreshing concoction of mint, ginger beer and a hint of Beluga Vodka, this cocktail is dangerously addictive. I love both ginger beer and mint, so this was the ideal drink for me. It comes in a fitting Russian mule cup filled with lots of crushed ice, and is adorned with a bunch of fresh mint.

A take on the popular Negroni, this has a distinct sour, bitter cherry flavour mixed with Burleigh's gin. Although I am sure this is a very popular drink, I am not sure I like the strong flavour as it is a little too much for me. I do, however, love the novelty ice cube that sits in the glass, which is shaped like a skull!

84 Union tasting place ($38, to share)
This crowd-pleasing plate has some of their most popular tapas-style bites that are perfect for nibbling on. 

 Crispy pork belly bites, cheese & spinach arancini
Nuggets of pork belly are twice-cooked to create a crispy, caramelised, crispy outer. They are very moreish indeed, and have a rich, sweet flavour that comes from the oyster sauce and shao hsing rice wine. The spinach arancini are plump specimens, best eaten with a squeeze of lemon and dipped into the accompanying tangy blue cheese sauce. 

Crispy mini tacos
The idea of both smoking and pulling chicken is a little out of the ordinary. The result is a paste-like meat with a texture and flavour that is similar to that of tuna. It's quite intriguing! The pulled chicken comes smug in a crispy mini taco boat, with smooth pureed avocado and fresh herbs. 

 Crispy dumplings
Deep fried dumplings always make a winning tapas plate addition. These have a chicken and shiitake mushroom filling, and come with a soy-based dipping sauce. 

 Roasted duck spring rolls ($18.90)
A delicious combination of roasted duck, woody ear mushrooms and glass noodles forms the filling of these handmade spring rolls. They're shatteringly crisp, and come with a cauliflower piccalilli. I love the meatiness of the duck in these.  

 Chilli & Garlic Prawns ($22.90)
Warning: these are not for the garlic-averse. The fragrant smell attracts our noses as soon as they're placed on the table. Cooked in a garlic and chilli oil along with bean sprouts and fresh herbs, the Tiger prawns are meaty and pungent. Should you crave an extra garlic hit, the accompanying garlic bread is buttery and crisp, although a little on the harder side.  

Wok tossed street style Pad Thai ($15.90)
Everyone's favourite Thai street food is tangy and vibrant, with a subtle smoky flavour. The chicken is not too dry and the fresh bean sprouts adds a layer of texture to slippery noodles. 

Crispy skin Tasmanian salmon ($32)
A perfectly golden, crispy-skinned fillet of salmon is laid atop a bed of chat potatoes, with an eye-popping carrot and orange puree and tomato salsa salad. The fish is cooked to perfection, and goes well with the sweet puree and fresh salad greens. A small piece of prosciutto laid on top adds a hit of saltiness to this fresh, healthy dish. 

Blueberry Brulee Cheesecake ($13.90)
A classic piece of cheesecake is topped with berry compote and vanilla ice cream, which helps cut through the richness. It has a slight brulee-like top, which is a nice twist, however because it is not quite caramelised enough it's hardly noticeable. 

If you are looking for a casual, crowd-pleaser pub close to Darling Harbour and Pyrmont, then 84 Union Street is a good option. It's not quite like the revamped, hipster pubs of late, but the nostalgic, slightly corny Aussie outback decorations and cross-cuisine fusion menu will definitely have you smiling. 


84 Union St Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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