Tuesday, 14 January 2014

It comes as no surprise that there's always room for one more. Restaurant I mean. Vincent has thrown open its French doors on leafy Queen Street, Woollahra. Tucked to the side of a boutique hotel, The Hughenden is a new francophile venture for chefs Todd Garratt and James Hird. The pair is well known around these parts for Buzo and the wildly popular Wine Library in the same suburb. The philosophy of Vincent is a simple one: to offer some of the best cheeses imported from France (aged in the restaurant's cheese room, obviously), to make their own cheeses and serve with some top notch drops (vino).  Sounds like my kind of place!

My birthday bombe glacée - coffee, cocoa nib & toasted meringue. This dessert was definitely as delicious as it looked. The fluffy meringue makes the dish!

Vincent maximises the available space with a pleasant front courtyard area and the sun room down the side. The restaurant has quite a similar vibe to Chiswick, suiting the ladies that lunch to a tee. If only the rest of us plebeians could spare the time and dosh to do this everyday. My plan B of food critic could perhaps be realised (probably in my retirement at this rate)... But no matter, there was certainly cause to celebrate - my birthday!

Sunny, peaceful & chilled - all those nice things.

The menu is small plate shared style, which suited the group perfectly. There's actually a lot of choice there, with a variety of entrées e.g. potato baked in hay with smoked eel butter (YUM) working up to the heartier meat options e.g. steak frites 'beurre Vincent' (a French bistro classic). I was charged with ordering for the table, a task that I relished. Thus began a feast that rolled on, in a most delicious way! 

The course of courses...
Baked comte custard, soubise, onion powder. The custard was a whole lot of oh my god. The texture was unbelievably delicate. The indisputable signature dish of Vincent, this was my favourite savoury dish by far!

Braised lettuce 'polonaise': a rather saucy dish, added to the fact there was a soft poached egg on top

Spetzle, braised oxtail, tendon, roast carrot. Home made spaetzle pasta with a slow braised sauce, a hearty made-for-Winter dish if ever there was one

Spanner crab & asparagus omelette, beurre noisette. We had a hard time dividing this between everyone, tiny pieces of crab were strewn through the omelette

Poulet au vin jaune: a very tasty dish, not just because I am obsessed with mushrooms. The chicken breast was succulent and tender, something that is usually difficult to achieve (even by restaurant standards)

Duck crepinette, rhubarb compote, mustard greens. Yes, the serve looks small but the flavours pack a punch. The rhubarb was a very welcome addition

DOLCE - so utterly important haha

Coconut sorbet, fresh mango, lime. This sorbet was so light and airy, almost like cream and rich in coconut flavour

Maple pot de crème = DANGER. Served with caramelised slices of brioche, the pot of crème is enough to satisfy even the sweetest tooth

Caramelised wafer, peach, rose & verjus. This mille feuille style dessert wasn't quite up there with the others. Poached fruit with a bit of pastry - perhaps it needed a bit more cream to bind it all a bit better?

Chocolate & salted caramel tart, buttermilk mousse. A gorgeous little tart, though a good dig with a fork was required to break up the pastry. The cream I could do without (for obvious reasons) but c'est très jolie!

After all that food and wine I was as happy as Larry. The food I really can't fault - lovely flavours with a good splash of technique. There was however a minor 'incident' with staff at the end when we were settling the bill regarding the size of our tip which left me a bit nonplussed. It rather tainted the afternoon for me. If I can't give the service top marks, make sure you go for the food, it's a treat.

Thanks for reading!
xGourmand Vincent on Urbanspoon


  1. oh em gee. that bombe alaska!!! happy birthday!

  2. What a decadent Feast you had! Loved the meringue bombe...
    Happy Birthday - Cheers:)
    J & C



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