New head chef Shannon Chappell has pressed the reset button on the menu of The Unley, using a winning combination of simplicity and flair.
Feb 14, 2017
The Unley has taken another step away from its extravagant history as La Boheme, with a simplified, modern menu, which is accessible, whilst maintaining a subtle edge.
The man behind this new direction is young chef Shannon Chappell who has sought to pare back the menu and make it easier to absorb with crowd pleasing recipes, particularly great for groups, but also some strong mains thrown in for good measure. Even though the menu has been somewhat reduced, Chappell points out he has sought to retain a bit of an edge here and there, with standard pub classics given a bit of a twist. He explains that he sought to “straddle the line between being too classic and too over-finessed”.
A key part of Shannon’s style is less ingredients used properly, allowing the individual flavours to shine, as well as ensuring all dishes have an innate freshness. This is particularly evident with the pick of the lighter options, a spiced squid salad with wombok, cashews and a nam jim vinaigrette fusion salad. Another fantastic light option is the grilled haloumi salad which is enlivened by the inclusion of watermelon.
The walnut and cheddar croquettes look the pick of the small plates with a sweetly sumptuous date and whiskey puree (revisited with the pork cutlet). The delightful rice batter on the perfectly cooked prawns allow the dish to retain the light and fresh theme and pairing it off with the moreish jalapeno aioli makes this simple dish one of the standouts of the menu.
The chef selection mains are very well thought out options which showcase Chappell’s chops, both literally and metaphorically. The pan-seared Barramundi features an Arabic touch with sumac, saffron yoghurt, and raisins, which gives the clean and simple protein a peppery sweet and sour edge, without in any way overpowering it. Something ideal for warmer weather. The theme of standard classics given a new life continues for vegetarians with the panfried gnocchi enriched by honeyed ricotta and beurre noisette. The standout of the mains, however, is easily the beautifully presented pork cutlet which again, features the sumptuous and sweet date and whiskey sauce, texture from pistachio hash, while additional sweetness from candied merlot gives the dish a sweet pop. The perfectly moist pan-fried chicken breast is also a standout, although the square edged baked parmesan polenta accompanying it, could well be the star of the dish. Finishing off the menu are a set of refined, well-presented desserts, which are truly hard to fault.
With this menu, The Unley has finally put all the pieces together to become one of the treasures of the inner South. The new food options succeed in realising Chappell’s vision of simplicity with subtle points of interest. The end result is a very accessible menu equally suited to groups and those prefer well thought out, exciting mains.
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