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Monday, 19 October 2015

Eats & Treats: Union Fashion Bar (UFB)

It's been awhile since my last food review, and boy, do I have a treat for you today! It's not often that I get SO stuffed from eating but because of the very generous and enthusiastic boss of Union Fashion Bar, I got to sample all the top 20 food (yes, 20!) from their extensive menu and I'm here to break it down to you! This photo only shows a portion of the food we sampled that day, so you could imagine how happy our tummies were at the end of the meal.

UFB, which stands for Union Fashion Bar, is not your typical cafe. Besides serving coffee and delicious food, they also dabble in cocktail and serve you cocktail throughout the day, which is why the word 'Bar' is in the name. Located at one of the corner shoplots in bustling Sutera Utama, this cafe is one place you gotta try whether you're looking for a place to dine, for some desserts or simply chill with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. It's a place that you can literally stay from day to night for Passionate Dining in Fashion Style!

Al-fresco dining is available for the smokers or simply for those who love the outdoors. UFB's concept is modelled a little after cafes in Paris because the owner and chef, Mr Yap, has practiced there as a pastry chef previously.

Once you step inside, you'll be welcomed by the comfortable environment of a bakery cafe, but turn to your right, and you'll see a bar counter with a shelf full of drinks. What a unique combination! The founder believes that culinary no longer only involves cooking or authentic presentation. Culinary is all about Art & Lifestyle - it is about how you combine different flavours and present it in different style. Fashion changes according to season and he too believes that food styles can be changed all-year long, hence the name of the restaurant & its concept.

UFB incorporates fashion into their restaurant by changing up the seasonal theme of the restaurant so the customers always gets to experience a different and exciting feel every time they step into the place. The colour of the shop, promotions and decorations will change seasonally. For instance, this painting on the wall. Expect something different in lets say, December when it's winter season! This idea also helps to change up the environment and give employees a comfortable workplace to be in that refreshes their creativity. The waiters & waitresses will have a new change of aprons with every changing season too! Cool, huh?

Cold Pressed Juices
Vege Booster (pineapple, spinach & calamansi) | RM11.90
Strawberry Paradise (strawberry, watermelon & guava) | RM13.90
Classic Orange (orange & lemon) | RM11.90
Dragon In The Sky (dragonfruit & watermelon) | RM11.90
Apple Magic (apple, grapes & orange) | 11.90
Because it was a hot day, we started with some refreshing drinks. From Mr Yap's understanding, only 2 places in JB serves cold-pressed juices currently and I couldn't be more excited to know that UFB has it because I can't find these anywhere in JB! Cold-pressed juices are healthier as they are 100% natural with no sugar, no colourings or additional water. Not many people can accept the flavours though but I guess it's just because they juices they tasted are not made with fresh fruits or veges. Each juice in UFB has a unique combination and name, and all have a little bit of lemon juice added to bring out the fragrance.

Iced Caramel Macchiato | RM12.90
How can you forget coffee in a cafe? UFB's Iced Caramel Macchiato is the perfect drink for a hot day. My bf tasted this and said that the coffee taste is just right, not too strong nor too sweet.

Lychee Martini | RM19.80
This drink may look harmless, but is does have a kick to it as the alcohol content is quite strong. Also very refreshing with a strong lychee taste, but a little too sweet for me. Another thing to note is, most of UFB's cocktails are priced quite reasonably, so plus points there!

Mojito | RM20.90
Mojitos are usually mocktails for me (no alcohol in it). This one does have a bit of alcohol, so don't be fooled! I find that a little too much mint/ alcohol was added, hence the slight bitterness.

Jade Paradise Signature Cocktail | RM25.90
Mr Yap recommended this to me because I said that I preferred fresh & refreshing cocktails. Don't be fooled by the cucumber slices. Jade Paradise has only a mild cucumber taste and not too strong alcohol content (sorry idk what's in it). It's just the perfect drink for me but don't drink it too fast because remember, it is alcohol after all! 

   Healthy Choice (Salads)   
Smoked Duck Salad | RM10.90
This is one of the chef's recommended appetizers to start off our meal. It is sweet, sour and a little bit spicy because of the Thai chilli sauce, just right to get your tastebuds going. This house green salad is also served with dried cranberries and caramelised almond nuts for a different texture. I never knew that the savoury smoked duck could go so well with spicy plum sauce, shallots and lemon grass because I usually eat the meat on its own. All in all, if you enjoy Thai cuisine, you will enjoy this.

Prawn Pesto Salad | RM12.90
This is another one of the chef's recommendation which is basically giant pan-seared prawns on a bed of fresh veggies and homemade basil pesto sauce. This dish is inspired by Italian food, what with its sprinkle of UFB homemade Italian dressing, vinaigrette dressing, fresh tomatoes, olives and capers. I didn't get to try the prawns though, but they do look big and fresh.

Tuna Pasta | RM16.90
One of the boss' personal favourite is this garlic oil pasta with chunky tuna bits and crispy ebi on top. What I find special about this dish is the different levels of texture it has, especially the crispy "he-bi" which is basically dried baby shrimp, fried to crispiness that adds saltiness and crunch to the Asian-style dish.

Vongole Pasta | RM18.90
Check out that generous amount of succulent white clams! This pasta is cooked in white wine garlic butter sauce and is mildly spicy. The butter makes the pasta so fragrant and smooth!

Duck Confit Pasta | RM21.90
The chef recommends this aglio-olio pasta that is extra fragrant as it is cooked in the duck fat. Girls might be a little turned off by the oiliness, but I find it just right (and that's coming from someone who hardly enjoys aglio olio). The highlight of the dish is the huge leg of duck confit that has extremely thin & crispy skin and juicy meat!

Salmon Pink Penne | RM23.90
Did someone say PINK? :p Another chef's recommendation is this tomato cream sauce penne, topped with pan-seared salmon steak. The first few bites were appetizing because of the sour and creamy tomato sauce, but after that it became too rich and filling for me so I'd recommend sharing this.

   Tortilla Pizzas   
UFB Chicken Pizza | RM16.90
Gotta admit, this pizza really did catch my eye because of the half-baked sunny side-up egg on top. Doesn't it just make the whole dish look so bright and colourful? Each slice is bursting with ingredients - big chicken thigh chunks, bell pepper, cheddar & mozarella cheese on a crispy tortilla wrap. The black parts you see are actually oriental black pepper sauce for that little spiciness & sweetness. How you're supposed to eat this is to break the egg yolk and dip your pizza bread in the yolk to enrich the flavour, and to make your pizza feel less dry. Sadly, the yolk was a little overcooked when we tried it so I did not get to enjoy the pizza that way.. :( Maybe next time!

Tuna Pizza | RM16.90
This pizza is similar to Hawaiian Pizza but instead of using chicken, don't be surprised that it is instead made with tuna mayo filling when you bite into it.It has a tomato base and this dish tastes a little more on the sweet side. I like that UFB's pizzas are served on crispy tortilla base though, thin crust pizzas are always nice!

   Lunch Promo (Curry Cheese Promotion)   
Grilled Salmon Spicy Japanese Curry Rice | RM19.90
Most Japanese curry rice are sweet but UFB's version is catered to local taste whereby it is more spicy. What's so special about this lunchtime promo (available from 12 - 3pm every weekday) is that you can choose your own combination of meat with either spicy Japanese curry rice OR cheese baked rice, and also comes with a free drink of either coffee or tea :D

   Main Course   
Mama Chicken Chop | RM17.90
This is not your basic deep fried chicken chop served with homemade BBQ sauce and fries. I love the nostalgia behind this dish because the owner's mother used to make fried chicken leg fillet like this for him, which was what inspired the name behind this dish. The crispy skin and juicy white meat inside reminds me of Taiwanese street food, their XXL crispy chicken.

Grilled Chicken | RM17.90
Yes, we've all had grilled chicken leg before, but this one has a twist to it. The sauce is neither black pepper or mushroom - it is balsamic reduction dressing which makes it savoury yet sour at the same time. I love the rosemary marinate, it just makes the skin that much more fragrant and crispy. This dish is also served with baked potato and baked tomato on the side, on a hot stone platter.

Grilled Butter Fish | RM22.90
I've always liked grilled fish. This is also a chef's recommended dish as the lovely, buttery fish is served with spicy tomato sauce to balance out the taste. Enjoy it even more with the mashed potato and sauteed mixed vegetables on the side.

Mama Crispy Waffle Chicken Sandwich | RM14.90
Let's backtrack a little to the brunch menu, shall we? This dish is one of the owner's pride & joy. Instead of your regular Eggs Benedict for brunch, why not try this Mama Crispy Waffle Chicken Sandwich that takes a twist on the Mama Chicken Chop and served with french fries and salad. The highlight of this dish would be the homemade crispy waffle which is surprisingly not sweet, but savoury and is crispy on the outside, soft inside (just like Korean waffles). Again, the inspiration behind this dish is from the owner's younger days whereby the waffles tastes like egg rolls that his mother used to make. A dish great for sharing!

   Asian Menu   
Classic Indonesian Fried Rice | RM16.90
The owner learnt to make this during his time practising in Jakarta. Apparently, many customers come back for this dish after they have tried it. The fried rice looks innocent, but it is a little spicy. My favourite part is the black pepper grilled chicken kebab that has a slight sweetness to it.

Salmon Fried Rice | RM21.90
In case you're wondering why the rice is black, it's because black olive pesto fried rice was used. I prefer this fried rice as it is more fragrant, but sadly the rice is a little too hard and salty on that day. The dish is topped off with pan-seared salmon steak that is really fresh with no fishy smell, a fried egg and house greens.

By the end of the hearty meal, we were already stuffed but managed to squeeze in some space for.. DESSERTS! After all, they say girls always have another stomach for desserts, right? :p

Oreo Cheese Cake | RM7.90 (slice)
My favourite cake of the day! This lightweight cheese cake is not too sweet and is perfectly paired with the oreo base. Craving it now!

Red Velvet Baked Cheese Cake | RM7.90 (slice)
This red velvet cheese caked is served with a digestive biscuit base to take a bit of the sweetness away. Don't you think it looks so pretty with the mini macaron and sponge cake crumbles on top?

Plain Cheese Cake | RM7.90 (slice)
For those who love cheese, this slightly heavier cheesecake is just for you. The cheese vs milk content is higher, hence the cheese taste is stronger. I like this cake too as it is not too sweet and tastes so fresh. Bonus points because it has adorable marshmallows on top :p

Asian Cake | RM7.90 (slice)
Something for the Asians, this cake has a salted caramel layer on top, rich cheesecake in the middle and combined with pound cake (brownie) as the base. Therefore, it is half cake & half baked cheese cake. The brownie is not too sweet and contains nuts as well. The chocolate & cheese lovers will enjoy this! Something worth mentioning is that all of UFB's cake are homemade and not outsourced.

Valrhona Chocolate Lava Cake | RM16.90
Almost screamed with joy when I saw this. I LOVE chocolate lava cake and this one did not disappoint! This classic choc lava cake is served with vanilla ice cream, orange confit and seasonal mixed berries for a mixture of flavours. The orange confit slice is at the bottom of the cake and you are supposed to eat it with the cake to balance out the sweetness, and I find that really special. Note that as Valrhona chocolate has a higher cocoa content, it is richer so the choc lava doesn't really ooze out when it is cut.

Valrhona Chocolate Souffle | RM15.90
This dessert is seriously a MUST-TRY! I can't stop thinking about it. Not many places in JB serves souffle as it is hard to make due to the heavy chocolate content and takes up a lot of time & effort. But UFB does it perfectly! It is also usually found in semi fine-dining places, and not casual dining places. I'm also surprised by how reasonably priced it is. How you're supposed to eat it is just dig a hole in the centre of the souffle cake and place the chocolate ice cream inside. Eat it fast before the cake sinks to fully enjoy it! The cake is SUPER moist and the outer layer is coated with sugar so it is a little crispy when baked. Overall, it tastes a little bit like Milo and we were all practically fighting over this dessert cos it's so YUMZ :D I'd go back there again just for this!

Despite it all, UFB insists that the food quality remains the same throughout all seasonal changes so that customers can enjoy quality dining experience. I honestly think the food was good, but because there was so much, I did get too full in the end to truly enjoy the last few dishes, which has also probably gone cold but I hope I've did my best to share my honest thoughts with you. That night, I also bought a Chocolate Mousse cake from UFB to celebrate my bf's sister's birthday and everyone loved the cake! Homemade quality doesn't lie and you can taste the freshness, unlike stale, store-bought cakes. Mr Yap has shown that you should not be stubborn when it comes to cuisine, you can still mix & match different flavours to create exciting new ones. Furthermore, UFB serves big portion of all their food, which is really value for money. Kudos to UFB for their ever-changing creativity and effort to create JB's first unique concept cafe!

Find out more about UFB - Union Fashion Bar:
Address: 24, Jalan Sutera Tanjung 8/4 Taman Sutera Utama 81300 Skudai.


Operating hours: 
Sun - Thurs: 12pm - 12.30am / Fri - Sat: 12pm - 1.30am (Closed on Mondays) 

Disclaimer: Even though the review is sponsored, it has not affected my opinion in anyway. The review is based on my honest personal taste and preference after trying out the food and services.

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