48 Macquarie Street, Barton
When it opened in 2016, Canberra had not seen the likes of Vincent on its food scene – a sleek, dimly lit wine bar slash restaurant hidden in an unassuming building in the central Canberra suburb of Barton.
Owners, Ollie Rylie and Ute Pikler, went out on their own for the very first time to open Vincent. Their main goal was to create, not a restaurant, a bar or a pub but a combination of the three. Rather than looking to hero the food and match wines to that, or vice versa, Ute and Ollie looked to a combination of both food and wine as inspiration.
As Head Chef, Ute is the brains behind the refined food menu. A Canberra local, her career began as an apprentice at the Boathouse. From here, she moved on to head the kitchen at Pod Food and then polished her skills in Melbourne at Vue De Monde and Circa, before returning to Canberra to open Vincent. Ute’s menu is held close to the classics, and a consistent European thread is woven through her dishes. Her menu is small with just five small plates and six large plates, however,this makes your choice a little easier. As you would expect, everything is designed to share and the choices alter depending on the season.
Taking pride of place in the centre of the restaurant, the wine list and food menu hang side by side on long pieces of wood, with each item spelt out with scrabble-tile style letters. Just like the food menu, the wine list is succinct and well thought out. Ollie has crafted the wine list in consultation with wine guru, Lester Jesberg, and the result is entirely unlike those you will find in most modern Australian dining establishments. The selection shifts depending on what food is being served and what drop seems to be tickling Ollie’s fancy at the time.
However, more often than not, guests will find the small wall menu populated by wines from unknown vineyards and distant old- world regions, with the occasional crème de la crème of Australian wine featured. Everything is sold solely by the glass, so you will be able to taste a few glasses or match multiple wines with your chosen dishes.
When it comes to design, Ollie and Ute have ensured that the fit-out is just as sleek and stylish as the food and wine offerings. The colour scheme is black, with just a touch of light sneaking in through the blinds. Maintaining the casual, yet intimate, vibe of the venue, all tables are set on a single level at bar height, snaking through the restaurant and connecting every table to the central bar.
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