Level 1, IFC Mall, Central
Visited 21st May 2009
I quite like the IFC as a thoroughfare, but as a shopping centre it borders on the outright pretentious. Thursday night, while wandering its glitzy halls and waiting for a rather average film to start, we decide to head to the Union Bar and Grille for a drink and snack. The restaurant is divided into two with a bar at the front and more formal dining area at the rear. Union Bar and Grille is styled on New York watering holes and the interior ticks all the right boxes with lots of all leather, glossy timber and candles; it's pleasant and comfortable.
We settled at a comfy bar table and took advantage of the separate bar menu to order up some snacks. Choosing from a pretty standard range of dishes we went with sweet and sour chicken wings, a flat bread pizza with roasted vegetables and feta and a bowl of fries. The best thing were the fries; while they weren't overly warm the skin on chips tasted fresh, crisp and well seasoned. The serve of four manky chicken drumettes was terrible; the sauce smothering them was sickly sweet and tasted off, while the accompanying bowl of blue cheese dipping sauce was average to say the least. Unbelievably the pizza was worse. The supposed 'flat bread' base was hard and burnt, tasting more like a stale water cracker than bread. The pathetically small pizza was lacking recognisable topping with just a couple of shrivelled vegetables and five tiny pieces of feta in sight. We arrived during happy hour and $35 for a pint of San Miguel and $55 for a glass of wine seemed a lot more appealing than the food.
The Union Bar and Grille has a good reputation; its comfortable setting, professional service and reasonably priced happy hours drinks mean that it is potentially an oasis amongst the overpriced sparkles of the IFC. However there's one problem; the food. Looking at the company's website I was amazed to see the words "WARNING! We Serve American Portions", what I encountered was the total opposite; tiny serves of terrible food. The flatbread cost $65, the wings $52 and the fries $35 which considering the size is really bad value for money. I'm sure I'll be back to the Union Bar and Grille for a drink, but I certainly wont be injuring my wallet by ever ordering their average food again.
Visit restaurant website.