Union Food and Wine, on Union Street in Ascot Vale, opened recently and one morning Alastair and I were free and decided to visit for breakfast. After we had been seated for a few minutes, I realised that we had been there before. It had been a bistro or restaurant that was obviously forgettable, however I did recognise the room since the skeleton had been kept and just spruced up. It was a good space with the corner location, large windows, and the bright airiness, and it remains so.
One sunny but slightly chilly Sunday, we went looking for a good brunch option. We came across Sugarbeat, a small (or intimate, if you prefer an euphemism) café in Ascot Vale.
Bro had the Catalan eggs ($13) – fried eggs topped with chorizo and corn salsa. The chorizo had a fair kick to it! And check out that yolk just about bursting out of it’s skin.
I had the Bedouin eggs ($13). These were poached eggs with green harissa, spinach, feta and dukka on top of toasted Turkish bread. The harissa was pretty spicy, which I LOVED but I think some people would find it a bit much. The egg yolks were still nice and oozy – I love letting the yolk soak into toast. Yum!
Alastair had a toasted tortilla wrap ($11) – filled with egg, bacon and a bit of spinach and some salad on the side.
On the whole we had a nice brunch, but I do have one small criticism – our food was a bit cold. It didn’t help that we were sitting outside in a bit of a breeze, but the food didn’t seem very warm to begin with. But apart from that, we enjoyed it. As an added bonus, even my Bro thought that Sugarbeat was good. He is very picky about our brunch options, as it’s hard for cafes to measure up to our favourite, but Sugarbeat received a tick of approval. Hooray!
Sugarbeat 5A North St Ascot Vale 3032 VIC Phone: (03) 9372 7118
Oh, my friends. On Wednesday I was struck down with the lergy that has been plaguing my office and I have been ILL. I’ve spent a couple of days in a snotty, feverish haze and even today I’m still leaving masses of used tissues in my wake. My head has been so foggy that thinking has been difficult and my taste buds have gone on strike. This Friday I spent on the couch watching a crappy chick flick (the most taxing thing that my poor overheated brain could take), but on a previous Friday, Alastair and I went out to dinner.
We went to Arcadia Gastronomique, located on Union Road in Ascot Vale. Arcadia is small but nicely fitted out, with the lower walls a dark wood panel, highlighted by a deep emerald green on the top. It felt very calm and serene – lovely for a quiet dinner for two.
We shared a starter of middle eastern spiced tiger prawns, served sizzling with garlic ($15) and some bread ($6.50). The prawns had some lovely flavour from the spices, but was let down because of a lack of salt (it didn’t taste like there was any, to be honest). As there wasn’t any salt on the table it wasn’t easily rectified. Anyhoo, it wasn’t that big a deal and fortunately our mains didn’t have seasoning issues.
After the prawns, Alastair and I both had seafood mains. We obviously hadn’t thought about our food choices very carefully!
I had the ragout of mixed seafood braised in a sauvignon velouté with soft herbs, served in a case of puff pastry ($25). Pretty good. Creamy seafood, crispy puff pastry… Yum.
Alastair had the seafood linguini, which came with wild olives, spinach, prawns, calamari, shellfish, and mussels tossed in a lemon olive oil emulsion ($24). It was rather good – the fresh pasta was toothsome and the whole thing was tied together with the tangy oil.
And for dessert, we shared the flourless chocolate slice, with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream ($9.90). It was served warm and was a slice of chocolatety goodness.
Reasonable prices, and a nice setting made for a good evening out. I can’t wait for my sense of taste to return so I can enjoy eating again!