Pub Of The Week: Tony Leonard reviews the Vincent Hotel
The Vincent Hotel
111 Victoria Avenue, Albert Park.
When? May 20, 2022.
The Vincent in all of its triple storey Victorian pub majesty seems out of place in the cache dripping, urbane village of Albert Park, replete with its expansive number of fine eateries.
Be assured however, the Vincent is as attached to its pub roots as any of its brethren, with a pleasing offer appealing to everyone.
The warmth given from the overhead heaters thaw the limbs from the numbing cold for those who wish to dine outside under the awnings on this day: thankfully no one of sound mind took the offer up.
Ground floor is where the action takes place in an area divided into three: atrium, sunlight streaming through the glass window lights up the room. Onto the front bar, the backdrop of multi coloured mosaic tiles and serving commercial and craft beers is surrounded by tables but sufficient room to stand around and have one. It is comfortable.
The dining room, seating around 50 at one time, is well spaced and modern. (The pub has erected a marquee around the corner in Page St and in warmer times would pack out quickly). Functions, meetings, weddings, are easily catered for in the multi purpose venue.
The Vincent (I think traded as the oh so desirable Red Eagle in the 80s-90s?) is part of the Australian Venue Co, whose portfolio of acquiring standout out pubs increases rapidly but more power to them, they continue to trade as intended.
Good, solid food and drink backed up by attentive and welcoming staff, fills out the hospitality package very neatly. And happily trades 7 days a week.
The Vincent is an easy pub to like.
This is a compact menu of 7 starters, 9 mains, a couple of steaks/burgers and desserts running pretty much to a formcard of most hotels doing very solid pub grub.
That said, it would be too easy to dismiss the offer, as nice well executed touches accompany most plates. Fish tacos, chipotle mayo, coriander, chili, slaw (16.5) or Beef Sliders, pickle, tomato, burger sauce (16.50) head up the small plates.
For mains, it’s steady as we go, with one traditional Parma (28), Beer Battered Rockling, (27), Steak sanga, sourdough, all trimmings at $27.50.
And in sticking with its pub roots, there is a lunch special weekdays, ($20), Happy Hour 3-6pm, Trivia night Tuesday and live music Friday nights.
While the range of beer is highlighted by Carlton D (6.5), Furphy, Kirin, Little Creatures, the Vincent embraces zero alcohol offerings in beer (Heineken 0/Norts Pale 0) and wine.
Message is clear to all operators (especially those who eschewed Vegan offerings): Do a taste test and make it available as, like vegan plates of food, people are seeking this out.
The average (bistro) prices are;
- Entrees – $16
- Mains – $27 (steaks from 37)
- Dessert – $12.50 (yes its sticky date territory here also!)
- Wild Mushroom Arancini, walnut, truffle. 5/$14. Omnipresent starter on nearly every pub menu (this or croquettes), the trick to presenting these is freshly made and served blisteringly hot. Golf ball size, big mushroom flavours and neat supporting cast, these made for a very good starter.
- Homemade beef pie, mash, peas, jus. $27. Increasingly grateful to more pubs going all the way with a fully encased pie, (rather than the easy stew-in-ramekin-covered-by- puff offer), the Vincent offer stacks up nicely by comparison. Chunky, well stewed beef, fine dollop or 2 of mash, on a bitterly cold Monday, this is hit the mark so well.
- 250g Porterhouse, chips, salad, jus. $37.50. What a sweet taste. Sourced via 1000 Guineas, the Shorthorn breed made for a superior taste, and with a fresh salad, chips, pepper sauce, the price is fair considering the quality, and while arriving medium (medium rare requested), this was a pleasant pub meal.
As a suburb, Albert Park has a fearsome reputation for excellent cafes and restaurants, but in an unassuming way, the Vincent retains an old school offer in food/drink, and above all hospitality.
Even with its proximity to the Bay, the pub excelled on a bleak, wintry day and to me, (like most Melbourne pubs), it shines in the cooler months.
Inside the Vincent is bright and airy and above all comfortable: a place to enjoyably kill a few hours either solo or with friends.
Just a good traditional pub in a most desirable, drop dead gorgeous part of Melbourne.