Monday will see a shake-up in the Union's catering services, with big changes planned in the evenings. A larger variety of evening meals will be available and a pub-style order-at-the-bar service will be in operation - so you needn't leave the comfort of the Union Bar to grab a bite to eat.
The breakfast and lunchtime offerings will also see changes, although not as dramatic in their nature as the long-awaited introduction of traditional pub-style food and service. Options in the morning range from a Fried Egg Sandwich (65p), to a "Breakfast Baguette Deal" at £3.00, which includes a drink, bacon, sausage and egg. See the full breakfast menu for more details. dBs will remain the breakfast venue, with all meals cooked to order and sandwiches using better quality bread.
The lunchtime offering in da Vinci's will remain largely unchanged, however those in search of pasta bolognese will have to venture over to dBs. In order to drop reduce queuing times at lunchtime, pasta will now be served in dBs with a choice of bolognese, chicken or a vegetarian sauce. This move will also see dBs become the place to grab a quick, predictable, bite to eat, while da Vinci's continues to offer a variety of dishes, varying from day-to-day.
The biggest changes will take place in the evening, where a new pub-style menu is being introduced, together with pub-style ordering: order at the bar and food will be brought to your table (collect a wooden spoon at the bar!). The re-heated lunchtime food will be gone, although chilli will still be available as part of the budget option (Chilli + Nachos remains on the menu for £3.10). For those who remember the offering at Harringtons, the new menu is along those lines, however the food looks as though it has been cooked in oil rather than drowned in it...
Jacket Potatoes, Baguettes and Paninis will be available to those looking for a light snack, while burgers, fish and chips, chilli and salads all appear as main meals. On Friday afternoon the Live! Editor joined the sabbatical officers and ICU staff for a brief taster session of some of the items available, and gives his verdict below.
Grilled Halal Chicken Breast (£4.25): "Essentially a chicken breast burger with a ciabatta bun and "rustic" chips. The chicken and ciabatta were both excellent and the chips were very, very tasty - although I suspect if you ate them every day you'd need the medics to unclog your arteries for you."
Aberdeen Angus Burger (£4.25): "Sadly the Aberdeen Angus Burgers hadn't arrived yet, although a cooked-from-fresh burger was provided in the same type of ciabatta roll as the chicken, again with "rustic" chips. The meat claims to be 100% beef, with no rats in sight, and it tasted rather good - hopefully the Aberdeen Angus burgers will be even better".
Battered Cod Fillet, Rustic Chips, Peas + Tartare Sauce (£3.75): "That's right, fish & chips! The dish we were sampling was missing its peas, which is a shame, as that can really make or break a fish and chips dish. More "rustic" chips, which means my heart attack is probably approaching fast. The fish - and meal in general - was fairly unremarkable, but a good option if you like that sort of thing."
The Union Classic Fish Finger Sandwich (£3.50): "Three large fish fingers served between crusty farmhouse bread, accompanied by .. you guessed it, rustic chips! It comes with mayonnaise on the side, but you'll probably want to add other condiments to your taste. Much like the cod (being essentially a big fish finger), this comes across as a little bland unless you add something to it - but I've always liked fish fingers with ketchup! It was a tad greasy for my liking, but the method of preparation is being altered to resolve that."
Barbeque Chicken Pizza (9" £3.50, 12" £5.20): "One of a selection of four pizza toppings, this has a lovely sweet barbecue sauce and large chunks of chicken on top. By the time I got to this one it had gone cold, but as it tasted good then it's probably even better hot."
Sausage and Mash (£3.75): "A large sausage accompanied by three spherical dollops of mashed potato, which rather resemble ice cream. There's also some salad on side, if you think you should balance the pure fat of the sausage against something more healthy. There's not much more to say about it really - it is fairly standard sausage and mash, and should provide a good lining for the stomach when the heavy end-of-exams drinking starts."
"Overall the new menu looks very good, and any niggles (such as greasiness) can be resolved if people feed back their comments to make it even better. The budget chilli option is still there, but for a small amount of extra money there are a variety of new options - I'd recommend the chicken burger! The food is traditional pub grub so won't be winning any prizes - but at £4.25 for a burger it compares very favourably indeed with the local drinking establishments and looks good value for money. I fear the main problem may be navigating the menu, which can be difficult to read due to a seemingly random alternation of white and black boxes..."
Opening times at Breakfast and Lunch remain the same, however evening meals will now be available until 9pm initially. Revised opening times are as follows:
- Breakfast: dBs, from 08:30
- Lunch: dBs & da Vinci's, 12:00-14:00
- Evening: Order at the bar, 17:00-21:00
Full details of the new catering services can be found on ICU's "Feedme" website.