When Vincent Gao left his eponymous cafe in late 2016, many worried that the Carlton favourite would lose its core DNA. Since taking over, Lily Tran has comfortably put those worries to bed.

She favours a refined approach of incremental change over complete upheaval. The menu is mostly unchanged, but the Vietnamese restaurateur has introduced new dishes that are more reflective of her background.

Smashed avocado is still on offer, but now it’s joined by the likes of Auntie Lily’s Vietnamese Homemade Springrolls and V-DOG’s Sweet and Savoury Sensation. The latter is a black-rice pudding with coconut milk, pork skewers with seasonal fruit, crispy prawns and barbeque sauce.

The coffee is as good as ever. It’s roasted over at Code Black to Vincent the Dog’s unique specifications. Head barista Will Eyers favours a lighter roast profile, which produces a tart, sweet and sour taste, perfect for milk-based coffees. There’s also a rotating selection of single origins on offer.

For those wanting to take away, there’s a small but efficient range. You can choose from sweet or savoury bagels, or an assortment of pastries from Cobb Lane.

Housed in a former bottle shop, the unassuming Drummond Street address houses a light-filled, minimalist space. Inside, a large communal table dwarves the room. Shelving along the corridors offers a variety of ever-changing coffee items and tools. There’s also a small outdoor space of white tables and AstroTurf.

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Updated: March 8th, 2017

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