New wine bar and eatery Vincent, opened up a few months ago at Governor Place in Barton. After hearing good things about it, a friend booked dinner there for a group of us on a Friday night. We were split over 2 tables as there were 9 of us altogether. The first thing I noticed was how dark it was inside. Everything is pretty much black – black walls, black bar, black tables, black chairs. It does set the ambiance of the bar, but I couldn’t help thinking my food photos were not going to turn out well without some lighting. Every foodblogger’s worst nightmare! The set up is different to most bars with a long bench snaked around the room (good for 1-2 people) with larger tables hanging off the sides and connecting to two mini bar areas. There was no room for standing so bookings are recommended.
I was asked if I wanted a drink and I asked if they had anything non-alcoholic. Unfortunately (for me), Vincent is a wine bar and only sells wine and beer. My only options were tap water and sparkling water. The others chose a few wines to try.
I liked that you could peek into the kitchen via a small slit along the wall. Practical and it means less noise into the bar itself. I asked to see the menu and one of the barmen pointed out that both the food and wine menu were written up on the far wall. The food menu was broken up into small plates and large plates ranging from $16-$29 and side dishes ranging from $7 to $28.
We were asked if we just wanted dishes brought out to us until we said stop (which is always dangerous) but we agreed to that option. After getting our dietary requirements, we were asked if there was anything we really wanted to try. I put my hand up to try the Wagyu but was pretty happy to be surprised. One of my friends is a mum-to-be and we found she was very well looked after in regards to the food she could eat. The first to come out were the king prawns with broccolini, horseradish and pomegranate ($16). This came in a serve of 2 (or $8 per prawn?!). They were plump and delicious, and we all loved the very light and savoury horseradish puree it was sitting on. The pomegranate added some crunch and extra little bursts of flavour.
The barramundi with braised leek, capers and creme fraiche ($26) was beautifully cooked. A simple gentle dish done well. I liked that the sauce wasn’t too creamy and was packed with flavour from the braised leeks. The capers added a nice hit of sourness to balance out the dish.
The pork belly with apple cider vinegar, creamed cabbage and apple ($28) arrived next. There were four pieces of pork belly provided. All of the elements worked well together and I thought the crispy bit of bacon was a nice addition to enhance that pork goodness. My favourite element were the apple cider vinegar ‘ribbons’ of a gelatinous texture. They were a great little surprise bursting with apple cider flavour.
Next out was the smoked wagyu with caramelised onion and king brown mushrooms ($19). This was unbelievably easy to eat. The wagyu was super thinly sliced and served pretty rare, but it didn’t have any taste of rawness or blood. There was a very subtle taste of smokiness but not as much as expected. It was extremely tender and we were all very quick to gobble it down. The dollops of creamy sauce worked very well with the soft caramelised onion to complement the wagyu without detracting from its natural essence. I could have seriously ordered a few more plates of this!
The medley of beetroot, cherry, macadamia and goats curd ($18) was surprisingly one of the favourite dishes of the night. I just loved everything about it! The sweetness of the beetroot, the sourness form the pickled radish, the crunchy nuts and the creamy tanginess of the curd. I didn’t taste any cherry but as all the dishes were shared, I might not have come across it.
The confit duck leg with dutch carrots and turnips ($28) looked vibrant on the plate. The duck had crispy skin but I found the duck meat far too salty and quite overpowering.
The slow cooked beef cheek with Paris mash, jamon and pearl onion ($29) was another mouthwatering dish. The beef cheek just fell apart and was so tender paired with delicious jus and soft mash. A dish that was really hard to fault.
We also received a side of hand cut thick potato chips ($10) served with aioli. I could immediately see the crunchy edges on the chips which were very moreish.
We were completely stuffed after all of that food. Since there were 5 of us at the table, two serves of every dish came out. My friends at the next table ordered the only dessert on the menu – the chocolate almond mousse with rhubarb and hazelnut (unknown price). I managed to snap a photo and tried a tiny bit of the mousse which I found was very light and fluffy.
I was impressed with the food at Vincent. With the exception of the salty confit duck, I really couldn’t fault anything else. Great combinations on the plate, flavours that worked well together and yummy tasting food. Dishes were not cheap and even the large plates had small portions. We all thought the prawn dish, though delicious, was overpriced for what it was. Service was also good with our waiter being knowledgeable about both the food and wine menu, and regularly checking up on the mum-to-be to advise what was safe/not safe to eat (she didn’t eat the Wagyu or aioli). There was always a flurry of action when plates were taken away and clean new warm plates and cutlery provided (we got new plates and cutlery in between 2 dishes) with sometimes 3 waiters at our table to make the process as fast as possible.
Vincent is on the corner of Macquarie and Broughton Street in Barton. Open Tues-Thurs 4pm-10pm, Fri 12pm-10pm, and Sat 4pm-10pm.
Value for money 7.5/10
FPJ score 25/30
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