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Pub Of The Week review: Tony Leonard reviews Hotel Lincoln

TONY LEONARD

PUB: Hotel Lincoln.

WHERE? 91 Cardigan Street, Carlton.

PHONE: 9347 4666

SCORE: 15/20

WHEN? February 10, 2017.

WEB:? www.hotellincoln.com.au

VENUE

Second review. (First circa 2011 – De Bortoli Pub of the year 2011).

From the corner of Queensberry and Cardigan, the pub retains a charming old world facade and inside no difference to what you may expect.

Timber/Tiles, benches in the front bar, while a very neat dining room is out back for a longer stay.

An image of 6pm closing adorns the front page of its website. Apt.

Smallish, mainly 3 areas, but you can definitely find a quiet spot.

Since last visit, the menu has been pared back and the offer extends to both areas, rather than two distinct menus. I talk about clever cooking and here it is evident where standard pub meals are elevated to something special.

It is not all about the food, the foundation on which this pub has thrived. Beer offers a stack of craft, mainly in bottles to go with Carlton Draught, cider ditto, while the wine list, priced to the mark it must be said is thought out. And above all, friendly.

The Lincoln is a charming, popular pub. Go and you will see why.

MENU

The entree menu is a mix of kitsch – Dr. Marty’s Crumpets with chicken liver pate (12), nibbles – pork crackling $8 and adventurous – Sardines, fennel, lemon $12 or Beetroot, pickled turnip, freekah $14.

The Lincoln takes $7 off three mains when ordered at lunch – $15 instead of 22, e.g, Pork & apple sausages, mash, pickled cabbage or a Pork schnitzel, tonkatsu, chips.

At the top end – read as low 30s, you could have a Whole baby snapper, mussels, aioli, pepper sauce (32) or a roasted spatchcock, fennel, green beans, almond (32).

Entrees $12, mains $26, desserts $10.

TRIED

Corn cracker topped with spanner crab. $4/ea. OK, it’s two small bites but it’s heaven.

Jamon and Cheese Croquettes. 4/$12. Deep, rich distinctive flavours, great beer food.

Tempura Blue Grenadier (2 pieces) potato salad, aioli. $15 at lunch; normally $22. Bargain. Lovely fish, tempura was executed properly (rare in a pub), great potato salad.

What a nice meal.

DRINK

Very good Carlton D (5.5/pot). Multiple Gin/Whiskey if that’s your thing. Big range of craft – Barrow Boys, Two Metre Tall (tas), Temple Brewing. Wine is priced absolutely to the mark, with entry at $12/glass//$50/bottle. Grosset Springvale Riesling (14), and Amato Fiano (10) were excellent drops, the latter being offered to sample before proceeding. Good on them.

SERVICE AND STYLE

Engaging and confident. An absolute plus is an offer of a taster of wine or beer to determine whether you like.

Here it comes as second nature. Attentive, without being overbearing. I like.

SUMMARY

The Lincoln remains one of the best in Melbourne.

Food and wine with a sharper edge, but all the time you know you are in an old pub that has stood the test of time.

To be sure the pub doesn’t pitch as high end with food as it once did but cleverly engages you with an interesting offer, while all the time welcomes you as pubs should.

For a quiet one in the bar, with all its wood and tiles, or out in the lovely dining room, the Lincoln is an any time, all occasion pub.

Very good.

TONY LEONARD
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