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Union Shakes Up Catering

Apr 26 2008 11:09
The Dark Knight
ICU's catering services will get a shake-up from Monday, with new breakfast, lunch and evening menus across the bars (from a brief sample today, it certainly seems good!)
Yum. Made from real chicken!

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 new menu board

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.

Evening Meals

Some of the meals on offer

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."

The chef ... due to the SSP, we have decided not to show his face. Probably for the best, really.

"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.

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Discussion about “Union Shakes Up Catering”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.

So, when are we going to see loyalty cards introduced for people who eat 10 Union Jacket Potatoes a week?

2. Milli   
Apr 26 2008 15:48
 

Woohoo! This makes union life so much easier...

Apr 26 2008 16:05
 

Ash, you are full of praise - this is not like you - how much are they paying you?

Nice job with the pixelating by the way! (Also, if you look close at the photo, the chef appears to have specks of blood on his coat , or is that spattered grease!)

Apr 26 2008 23:38
 

Is it me or is there no healthy option available, everything seems to be deep fried greasy s**t, and the only veg. I can see is the lettuce and single slice of tomato in the cheap nasty flour coated white bread. Why no wholemeal bread option and no vegetables? This is a disgrace. It makes me sick just looking at those pictures.

Apr 27 2008 02:03
 

you can order a plate of salad in the Union you know. and there are usually vegetables on sale too.

The Union isn't exactly Jamie's School Dinners - its there to provide food that students want to eat (like pasta bolognese type pub food) so I would think twice before calling it a disgrace.

Go and stand on Tottenham Court Road at 3am on Saturday morning watching p***ed people drop kebab bits all over the road if you want to see a disgrace.

Apr 27 2008 09:18
 

I think the union should allow chicken cottage to open up a franchise inside campus. That would satisfy all my student needs for greasy chicken.

7. ooo   
Apr 27 2008 10:00
 

what a great plan! Are they having to hire extra staff though? Is that Chef the bar manager?

Apr 27 2008 10:25
 

The new plan uses fewer staff - the bar staff will be preparing food in the evenings.

A new oven will also be arriving over the summer - as part of some work with the college - which will mean the quality of the food will rise and preparation will be easier. Apparently it does a good job on roast meats, and due to the fact that bar staff will be preparing the food there is an option to extend both opening times and opening days (e.g. the weekend)... Sunday Roast anyone?

Apr 27 2008 10:34
 

I've always been an advocate of getting a Nandos on campus - I hardly know of any students who don't go there (and aren't veggie).

Food on Sundays would be great and we might even draw in the tourist crowds, especially over the summer months. I've had to point tourists towards Glos Rd and the Queens Arms on many occasions at weekends where they followed the signs to the Union and were expecting food to be served.

Apr 27 2008 10:37
 

Using bar staff to prepare food?? half the bar staff cant get a gin and tonic right, now were trusting them with food! Also it takes long enough to get served at the bar on a busy night as it is without the staff having to prepare and serve food aswell. i know that this is the sort of food students want but im pretty sure they want beer more!

Apr 27 2008 10:45
 

If they move the catering staff (who often stand around in the evenings talking/doing nothing) to work in the bar - or at least use the money saved to boost the bar staff - then the service at the bar should get better.

Apr 27 2008 11:01
 

I think this might fall down flat on its face. They are trying to prepare better food, with the same budget, and fewer staff. I really cannot see how bar staff can be effectively trained in both bar work and food preparation, especially considering the turnover of staff.

13.  
Apr 27 2008 11:31
 

Nandos Eugene? Where would you put it?

14. This post has been deleted.
Apr 27 2008 11:33
 
Apr 28 2008 12:48
 

union lunch today was super awesome and delicious, i is well pleased

16. Tom   
Apr 28 2008 15:20
 

Looks good, I do have one concern though... At least before you knew when you got to the front of the queue you'd get your dinner - I can see people waiting for food at their tables for an hour as orders get backlogged...

Closed This discussion is closed.

Please contact the Live! Editor if you would like this discussion topic re-opened.

 
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