I was very impressed to see the vegan menu on offer at the newly refurbished Union Rooms, following on from a takeover by the same group which operates San Lorenzo in Gosforth. I had been invited along to a launch party but couldn’t make it on the evening in question. Instead I chose to pop along with pals to properly sample the menu on a blustery December night in the Toon.
My friends aren’t vegan or veggie but decided they would gamely try out the meatfree dishes on the menu as well. We were all complementary about the new interior, especially with the twinkly Christmas decorations adorning the rooms.
The options for vegans or those wanting to try something different were not the usual pub fare. I don’t subscribe to the notion that we should be grateful as vegans when a restaurant or pub accommodates. A good kitchen should revel in being challenged with dietary restrictions. Mock Ducky Curry and No Meatball Vodka Arrabiatta are definitely not what I’d have associated with the Union Rooms menu of old.
Laura chose the Moving Mountains Burger (£10.95), a patty I’d sampled in the past at a Marstons pub. I was keen for her to tell me what she thought of it as a meat eater. I opted for the curry, which was topped with crispy noodles. Li settled for the Pumpkin and Mushroom Risotto (£11.95), one of the vegetarian choices on the menu.
The burger arrived and had the wow factor. Laura was impressed with its taste and texture. She even said she’d probably order it again in the future. Li was complimentary about her risotto, too.
I was impressed with my Malaysian Curry (£13.95) which was mildly aromatic. The mock duck was made with seitan, made from vital wheat gluten, and was very filling.
We were really pushed about whether we could manage desserts after such substantial main course dishes. I was expecting to be offered sorbet as the dairy free choice so was happy to see Churros (£5.95) marked as vegan friendly on the menu. Not only that, Union Rooms offer a suitable ice cream for those with allergies and intolerance to milk products.
Naturally I had to order them, for the purposes of a complete blog post, and thought they were alright. I’d have preferred a chocolate or caramel style sauce to make it a little more indulgent, but credit where its due to the kitchen. It beat a bowl of sorbet into a cocked hat. I think the price tag for the portion size is steep, however.
Service was attentive from the team and I liked the refurbishment. It seems like The Union Rooms are now offering something in keeping with the grand building it inhabits.
Children are well taken care of here, too. The menu certainly doesn’t feel like an afterthought compared to other pubs we’ve visited and I’d happily return to try other dishes from the menu again in the future.
Thanks for reading,