This Richmond pub has distilled the essence of Melbourne into a single scene
The Marquis of Lorne crew have a knack for high-quality pubs that match their neighbourhoods perfectly. Their brand of craft beer loving, good wine pouring and excellent pub grubbing is executed on each of their venues with a strong understanding of the areas in which they're built. Less hipsterised than Fitzroy’s Marquis and less sprawling than the Mt Erica in Prahran, Union House is no exception to the formula; a well done, low key venue for the families and young professionals of Richmond.
This big corner building has the French doors thrown open to let in the sun on a mercifully warm Sunday afternoon in Autumn. Footy plays on screens that can be seen from every angle, but the sound is down, pop rock rather than commentary providing the soundtrack. Long benches along the street outside offer plenty of opportunities for a beer/dart or beer/doggo combo.
As you would expect from this crew, everything to eat and drink is top-notch. Beer on tap skews crafty and fun, with Mayday Hills amber sour fermented with Brettanomyces yeast, both acidic and malty and an autumn appropriate choice for those who love a high dose of pucker in their brew. Bridge Road robust porter tastes of toasted grains, sweet at first but with a fantastic bitter char. There’s also more approachable options like Mornington pale and even Carlton on tap if craft isn't your bag.
A pub in Richmond might not be where you'd expect to get a solid cocktail, but they take them seriously here: the short and thoughtful list is made and presented well. Rob’s Baby Zombie is a lower octane version on the classic tropical punch, dyed mauve with the addition of port. It's delicious and beautiful, topped with a slice of grilled pineapple. There's even good ice (cocktail nerds will understand). Drink it up on the rooftop terrace, looking out over the city skyline.
The wine offering is well above average too, with a great combination of high-quality choices without getting too challenging. The sauv blanc by the glass is from France rather than New Zealand, and the Two Bricks pinot noir from Yarra Valley, all green raspberries and barnyard, is perfect as an above-average quaffer or paired with a counter meal of pub steak. Here, the tender and flavourful meat swims in thick peppercorn gravy on a bed of creamy mash, which actually tastes like good potatoes. For a snack, eggplant dip is smoky and squishy, served simply with labne and toasted pine nuts. Roast dinners to share are a bargain and available all weekend, and there’s a flexibility to the menu that’s perfect for a multi-purpose neighbourhood hub, as a good pub should be.
Sitting here with the footy on, a cracking local beer in hand, kids running around the tables, rock on the radio, and the old-fashioned trams ding-dinging their way down Swan St, it's as if someone has distilled Melbourne into a single scene. It's a scene we love, and one we're glad venues like Union House are keeping alive.
|Venue name:||Union House|
270 Swan St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu Sun noon-9.30pm; Fri, Sat noon-10.30pm|