Experienced restauranteurs Sarah Simm (Billy Kwong) and Andy Logue (Melbourne’s Scopri and Pinotta) have combined to create a new restaurant destination in Liverpool Street Darlinghurst. I went to a friend’s birthday party there, and enjoyed it so much I went back for dinner a week later.
There’s always a table which I regard as the best one in the house. I learned this from my father, who always said the best table was the one which gave you a view of the whole restaurant, so you could see everyone and enjoy all the action.
So when I spied what I consider to be the best table at Bar Vincent, just under the window which looks out onto Liverpool Street, it was with some disappointment that I saw it was already occupied. But my disappointment did not last long.
“We’re just about to leave,” the male half of the jovial couple said as he finished his wine. “We’re here just about every night and this is our favourite table.”
With that comment I understood that my father – and our family – were not the only ones who chose restaurant tables by this criteria. This couple looked like experienced restaurant goers, and they knew what they liked.
Their comment about being there so often also reminded me of a conversation I’d had with one of Bar Vincent’s partners, Sarah Simm, on my first visit for a friend’s birthday a few weeks earlier.
Sarah and her partner, Andy Logue, had conceived of it as a neighbourhood restaurant which locals could claim as their own, a place you can visit a number of times a week without tiring of the menu and without breaking the bank.
I also asked about the inspiration for the name, and learned the couple had held it dear ever since they met in Melbourne’s North Fitzroy some years ago.
There, neighbours had transformed a back alley into a community lunch, dinner and drinking venue through the strategic placement of an old table and chairs. Pinned to a nearby fence was a print by Vincent van Gogh.
While it’s taken a while for the idea of Bar Vincent to manifest, it has been worth the wait.
Simm and Logue are experienced restauranteurs who have translated what they have learned into a venue with the casual charm of that Fitzroy lane, but with a changing menu of Italian inspired classics – with a modern take.
My choice was the kingfish carpaccio sprinkled with some salty bottarga (Sardinian mullet roe) which Sarah said was considered “poor man’s caviar.”
That was followed with some excellent spatchcock in herbs on polenta with an anchovy and tomato salad, which sadly left no room for the lemon cake with ricotta dessert.
From my vantage point, and in the rare pauses in conversation with my dining partner, I continued to check the room.
The ambience is one of relaxed sophistication which has been achieved naturally and easily, without attitude or affectation.
My only complaint is that I am not looking forward to fighting that couple for the best table again, although they were so friendly that I might end up joining them.
Bar Vincent, 174 Liverpool Street Darlinghurst.
Visit the website for more details.