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