Vincent is a new French brasserie in Woollahra and the latest venture by owners Traci Trinder, James Hird and Todd Garratt of Buzo and the Wine Library. Located inside Woollahra’s boutique Hughenden Hotel, the long dining room with dark banquettes extends into a covered courtyard with a provincial setting with white marble table tops and cane chairs.
The menu by Head Chef Jo Ward skips the traditional three courses and goes for the trend du jour, share plates with a list of tantalising dishes merging into dessert. Start on Bread and Vincent Butter ($3) with marinated Olives ($6) from a tiny Le Creuset pot as you sip on regional French aperitifs such as Floc de Gascogne ($9) or Lillet Blanc ($9). The wine list impresses with predominantly French wines with a biodynamic and natural focus.
The food menu tempts with freshly-sucked oysters in mignonette ($4 each) and the pig’s head terrine ($17) but the Baked Comté Custard, Soubise and Onion Powder ($19) is the standout dish. Silky smooth, creamy yet airy and light, it melts in the mouth with cheese and onion flavour that is almost nutty – this is a dish not for sharing.
From the more substantial dishes, Quail en crepinette ($24) is a delicate ball of quail, pork and chicken liver cooked in Marc de Bourgogne with soft sweet currants and radicchio. Equally delicious is Poulet au vin jaune ($29) is a sweet and succulent piece of chicken braised with a specialty wine from the Jura served with mushrooms and morels. The earthy and smoky Potato Baked in Hay with Smoked Eel Butter ($5 each) makes a great accompaniment. Should you be unable to resist the Steak Frites, Beurre Vincent ($34), the seasoned sirloin comes served on top of a metal plate that is kept warm table under a flame.
From the dessert menu, the pick is the rich Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart with Buttermilk Mousse ($14) with a 1985 Delord Bas-Armagnac ($14).
There’s a lot to like about Vincent. The menu impresses with the selection of well-executed dishes thereby encouraging subsequent visits. The ambience is buzzy with a chic clientele although the noise levels and lack of sound proofing can become unbearable at times. Service was a little clunky and could have been more attentive but overall, Vincent heralds the long-awaited return of French dining to Sydney albeit under a more casual guise.
Vincent is featured on our guide to Sydney’s Best French Restaurants.
14 Queen Street
Ph: (02) 8039 1500
Hours: Mon-Wed 6pm-11pm; Thu-Sun 12pm-11pm
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