New British menu @ Union Bar and Grill

Good British food is hard to come by in Yangon, so when we heard that the Union Bar and Grill had a new, AA rosette rated, chef who has worked in some of the best kitchens in Britain, alongside such legends as Marco Pierre White, Jacques Rolancy and Andrew Turner, and that he was to launch a new, contemporary British menu, we were excited to say the least. We had questions. So we ran down to meet Chef Reuben Gould.

Why should people get excited about a new contemporary British menu?

Britain has been through a food revolution in the last two decades or so. It now boasts a fantastic, outward-looking food culture that absorbs influences freely, while its culinary traditions have been reinvented. Working as a chef in Britain during this time, under the guidance of some of the great revolutionary chefs, who have put British food firmly on the gastronomic world map, was a privilege.

British cuisine is well know for its use of fresh local and seasonal produce, and I wanted to reflect this by creating an evolving menu at the Union, combining British classics as well as interesting seasonal choices. Quality ingredients are at the heart of the menu, so we tend to work with only the best producers and suppliers. We are also updating the kitchen with new equipment that will help us incorporate innovative cooking techniques, and to consistently serve food of the highest quality.

What can we expect on the menu?

The new menu is not a complete departure from the old - We have kept some dishes, for example our famous beer battered fish and chips had to stay, but we have upgraded it - you now get 350 grams of beautiful Sea bass fillet, and a lighter, crispier batter. The chicken tikka masala also remains - such a classic British dish, that now comes with a delicious roti and homemade chutney. The new menu is quintessentially British – non-pretentious and full of robust flavours. The chicken liver parfait with onion marmalade and toast is a personal favourite. As is the ham hock and pig’s cheek terrine with parsley and apple chutney – pig’s cheek is such a tender cut, and our salmon and butterfish cakes will surely be a Union future favourite – they come with a pea puree, a perfectly poached free-range egg and Hollandaise. Classic British.

The Union has a reputation as a bar, rather than a restaurant. How will you overcome this?

We have one of the best bars in Yangon. It’s something that we are very proud of. Our new Group Bar Manager Lenny Yacona, comes fresh from managing Soho House’s bar in Chicago, and will be launching a unique farm to table cocktail menu. Our bar will remain central to the Union experience. However, we want our customers who come for a drink to be able to enjoy amazing food too, so we are launching a new bar snack menu. Like our a la carte menu, it’s full of big flavours, and we will refresh the menu regularly to ensure that customers enjoy new and seasonal creations.

What other projects are you working on in Yangon?

As Group Executive Chef for 57Below, I’m also responsible for the Gekko and Parami Pizza brands, which are both already very popular. It’s important that we build on this success. People love our Pizza at Parami, but I wanted to make some improvements to the rest of the menu, which I’m delighted to say we launched last week, and it’s getting a great response from our customers. Ultimately, as competition heats up in Yangon, we will continue to up our game and raise the bar in terms of the dining experience that we provide to our customers.

The new contemporary British menus is available now. Rather!

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