With a union of minds, comes a union of food. When the two owners of Union Dining, Adam Cash and Nicky Riemer started working together at Mecca Bah in the Docklands, they decided that if they combined their talents they could create a great restaurant one day.
Together they have revitalised a heritage listed building and turned it into the fine restaurant we see today. Producing a refreshing approach to Melbourne dining, their passion shines through in both front of house and from the kitchen.
Nicky was previously Head Chef at The George Melbourne Wine Room in St Kilda, and Adam was Restaurant Manager at Cutler & Co. Nicky went on to become Executive Chef at Langton’s in Flinders Lane, and spent a year in Hong Kong as Executive Chef at H One, whilst Adam went on to manage the two hatted Ezard in Flinders Lane and then Three, One, Two in Carlton.
With such impressive pedigrees, it is no wonder this restaurant has made waves in Melbourne. The space has been tastefully divided into two dining areas, a bar area and a quieter area, with upholstered benches, bentwood chairs and views to the open kitchen. Upstairs, you’ll find an al fresco terrace with its own bar – a haven from the busy streets below.
Nicky’s view of dining is to provide a personal, not franchised experience. Her menu focuses on fresh, local produce, with a few ingredients from the places that have inspired the dishes. She has strong ties with regional producers and he sources suckling pigs from Western Plains Pork, olives, lentils and extra virgin olive oil from Mt Zero Olives in The Grampians, baguettes and schwartzbrot from Baker D’Chirico, butter from The Butter Factory in Myrtleford, milk from the farm of Jonesy’s milk, baby French radishes and carrots from Yarra Valley Gourmet Greenhouse, and fruit and vegetables from Sam and his family at Pino’s Produce, Prahran Market.
No wonder the combination of fresh ingredients with her expertise is a winning combination. The menu includes tantalising dishes such as appetisers like Baked oysters Rockefeller and a classic liverwurst with golden raisin jam. Entrees such as kingfish carpaccio, artichokes barigoule and a variety of salads featuring seasonal produce. Nicky’s signature dish is a Confit Duck Salad with lentils in sherry vinaigrette, mustard fruits and walnuts. Diners can choose from mains such as all-time favourite parmesan crumbed schnitzel or char-grilled scotch fillet steak, as well as more provincial temptations such as the Abbacchio of lamb with broad beans. Desserts include variations on the European tradition of ice cream coupes as well as the chocolate lover’s option of chocolate tart, passionfruit curd, chocolate mousse.
On Sunday, in addition to an a la carte offering, there is a set price menu for guests to enjoy, based around sharing dishes. The set menu includes four shared entrees, main course and dessert. Dinner is served from 6pm Tuesday to Sunday and lunch from 12pm, Friday to Sunday.
In the cellar, Victorian wines with a European bent take centre stage, with continental wines sitting alongside. The list is put together by Sommelier, Greg Lightfoot (ex Vue de Monde and Rockpool Bar & Grill). Greg has a great relationship with local, Victorian vineyards, and this is expressed in the wine list. However, if wine is not your drink then you can select from a number of cocktails or beers to enjoy. On Tuesday night you can bring along a bottle of wine for $10 corkage, and Greg will suggest matches from the menu.