Hearty comfort food
by Katey Baddeley 26 September 2012
As a long-time fan of Uni Pub since my student days, I can’t help but think it gets better each return visit, which sadly, isn’t nearly often enough.
Each floor provides oodles of entertainment from ages 18 to 80. Ground floor offers the perfect casual luncheon setting, or destination for Friday afternoon’s kick-back and relax drinks. The pool floor (free after p.m. Wednesdays!) has proved itself a familiar stomping ground to yours truly after a rather successful third date and, the top floor bar is young, contemporary and fun without oozing terrifying seediness.
My favourite floor however, (go figure) is the bistro. As a student I could barely spare coin for toothpaste rations - let alone quality steak and fresh vegies – but managed to stave off starvation, scurvy and loneliness with the warm, subtly lit embrace of Uni Pub’s first floor bistro. Fast forward 3 years to steady income and full time work, I’m still here. Why? Two reasons really - familiarity (in my books) breeds comfort and the food, service and drinks are superb.
Offering light meals, side dishes and a surprising variety of mains to suit most appetites and cravings, the menu is a stellar example of pain numbing comfort food without the commonly associated heartburn or coronary. We greedily ordered Angus steak, pork, lamb cutlets, prawn skewers and the inevitable side of hot chips.
If you want the low down on the humble and seriously understated chip, I’m your girl. I’ve sampled just about every golden, seasoned to perfection deep fried batton of pure bliss from here to Timbuktu. In fact, I should enter “chip taster” on my tax returns. The Uni pub spin on chips tossed in chilli, garlic and rock salt is one of my all-time favourites. Not just amazing for fried carbohydrate-releasing endorphins, these chips actually have a warming savoury smokiness due to their coating of quality rock salt compounded with fiery chilli and crushed garlic.
The 350g Black Angus rib fillet was everything a steak need be. Pink, tender, charred eerily to near mathematical perfection and flanked by his mistresses chips and salad – it’s a manly slab of red meat you really couldn’t (or shouldn’t) do without.
If you were wanting to satisfy your screaming incisors with our old friend Mr. pig, don’t go past the Chinese Honey Soy Pork Fillets. I can’t even comprehend why salt and pepper cellars are even present at table tops, because everything is un-tamperingly seasoned to optimum aptitude. The steaks were just cooked through - so yielded juicy soft mouthfuls which, when combined with salty soy sauce, spritely salad and flawless dome of fluffy white rice puts many other restaurant associated pork dishes to shame.
Jetting to the Mediterranean via spice rubbed lamb cutlets served with a substantial and freshly tossed Greek salad proved to be one of the highlights of the evening. As with any to-die-for seasoned lamb cutlet, I abandoned all civilised form of western dining etiquette and gnawed Neanderthal style at a perfectly cooked (still with blushing pink tinge), warmly spiced, addictive cut of meat. Not to be outdone, the Greek salad cushioning the cutlets shone with quality olive oil and hit all the right spots with crumbling feta, olives, herbs and delicious chunks of Mediterranean vegetables.
Last of all we tried the marinated garlic prawn skewers with rice and salad. A self-confessed seafood snob – I was surprisingly impressed with the taste, texture, colour and size of our curled coral crustaceans. Served on a bed of fluffy white rice with tangy dressed salad and resuscitatingly fiery sauce - which just screams “chilli!” – The sweetly sulphuric garlic heat reminded me strongly of prawn skewers eaten over Summer down on the coast. If you have a hankering for seafood and cool white wine – don’t pass this one up.
Weather you crave steak, pizza, salad, seafood, poultry, burgers, veggies, carbohydrates, red, white, beer, cider, spirits, cocktails, pool or footy – regardless of what floor the elevator drops you off at – you’re bound to have a memorable time at Uni Pub. Bank balance and dignity (largely) intact.
Photography by Ben Davies
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