Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July 28, 2007: Hotel Lincoln

Saturday night provided our first chance to check out the Melbourne International Film Festival. Cindy had spent all day preparing for the indoor picnic we had scheduled for Sunday (coming soon!) and with a 7:30 movie (Snow Angels - okay, but a bit on the bleak side) coming up, it was time for us to find another local dining spot to save both energy and time. We're fast running out of interesting local places to investigate, but after racking our brains for a while we remembered the Hotel Lincoln, a 'foodie' pub at the southern end of Cardigan Street.

The pub has two sections - a front bar and a restaurant. Slightly confusingly, there's no real difference in the sections - you can order from the bar menu in the restaurant and vice-versa. It's a bit confusing (particularly when the menus are on blackboards meaning you have to walk back and forth between the front and back of the pub to suss out all your options). We settled into the restaurant section and kicked back with a drink each (apparently the wine list is quite impressive, but I was happy with Coopers on tap and Cindy wanted a lemon, lime and bitters).

Neither menu is filled with vegie alternatives - I think there was a curry and a pasta on the bar menu, but we both chose from the restaurant menu: homemade pesto gnocchi with wilted spinach, flaked almonds and pecorino ($18.50) for Cindy and a Middle Eastern cheese and pine nut pastry with mint yoghurt ($12.50) and a side-salad ($5.50) for me.

The food came out promptly and smelled delicious. Cindy's pasta was sprinkled with delicious cheese and was generously slathered in some mighty fine pesto. Gnocchi always wears me down by the end and so it proved for Cindy - she got through about three-quarters before filling up and, despite a slight over-abundance of oil, she was pretty content.

My pastries came out in a neat little tower with generous slathers of yoghurt sauce and a good sprinkle of walnuts. They were cheesy and delicious, but my side plate of greens proved a wise move - it might have been too much cholesterol for me otherwise.

The food was great, the service was quick (meaning we made it to the movies on time) and the atmosphere was pleasant - the scarcity of vego options means it may be a while before we return, but I'd heartily recommend the place to meat-eaters out there.

Address: 91 Cardigan Street, Carlton
Ph: 9347 4666
Licensed (obviously, it's a pub)
Prices: Vego mains $15-$20, entrees $10-$15


  1. I agree on the lack of vego options but still like the place - especially for the fantastic dense chewy bread!

  2. I have heard good things about this place by word of mouth but noticed a lack of reviews online so was wonderful reading yours! The gnocchi looks like a hearty winter meal and those pastries look delightful. Are you seeing anything else during MIFF?

  3. I will check this place out :)

    Have fun at MIFF. Do you guys have to queue up? I have to give it a miss this year due to several committments (and I have seen some of the movies shown this year).

  4. Truffle and Anh, I'm sure you would both enjoy a meal here - just budget $20-25 for a main.

    Johanna, I let Michael eat all the bread - I was saving my carb hit for the gnocchi. :-) I'll think I'll wait for a seasonal menu change then dive on the bread basket!

    As for MIFF, I have run out of chances to see anything else. (I have an exciting trip coming up this weekend! More soon...) Michael may see more and provide mini-reviews in my absence. Anh, we didn't have any problem with queuing - we bought tickets on the night and walked right in. The session after ours looked much busier, however!

  5. Ooooooooh, looks so good!!! Makes me wish i wasn't on the other side of the world here!!!

  6. Aw c'mon, Kleopatra! I'm sure there's some good eatin' on your side of the world, too?

  7. I've been meaning to go here quite a few times. John Lethlean wrote one of the best reviews about this place but its not in the Age Epicure regular restaurant review section. It was actually an article about how sometimes a perfect location can make a meal perfect since he was meeting up with a friend that he hadn't seen in ages but has a really strong connection with.

    He described the food that he had at Hotel Lincoln as some of the best he ever tasted. He admitted himself that his judgement was probably biased, but not to matter, he thought the food and location lended itself perfectly to the occasion rather than distracting from it.

  8. Thanks for that info, Thanh! The hotel is even more highly regarded than I originally thought.

  9. Great to get a vego take on my locals! I'm always a bit nervous to just venture into any old restaurant. As a vegetarian, I'm never quite sure what I will find-or won't find...

    Last week we went to pub that didn't have anything vegetarian other than chips and garlic bread, and wouldn't even give us a side serve of roast vegies or mashed potato when we requested it!

    Great to read your reviews-have you checked out Bismi's Gold an' Fork, Meccha Bar or Foogo's? Some good vego friendly restaurants I like.

  10. Welcome Julia! What a terrible pub experience, I do find them to generally be the most risky for veg-friendly food. Otherwise we've found an endless supply and variety of vegetarian meals in Melbourne.

    Thanks for your recommendations, we're always keen to try something new! Bismi has been on my wishlist for some time (soon, soon!); we have visited the Brisbane Mecca Bah but not the Melbourne one (great Turkish pizzas!); and I've repeatedly walked past Foogo's without venturing in. Now that it has a vegetarian's seal of approval, I'll have to try it. :-)