Built in 1869, The Vine Hotel in Collingwood has always been a burly pub serving steaks, local beer – Carlton Draught on tap – and big reds. Chef Ron O’Bryan, who was executive chef at Church Street’s Enoteca for five years and has been on the pans at NorthSouth and The Rising Sun while looking for his own place, has bought the business with his wife, front-of-house manager Kirsty.
The O’Bryans bought the business from Peter and Jackie Milesi, who have run the place for the last 33 years, and because of the Milesi’s longevity and loyal following, the new proprietors are moving into the business very gently, planning to add their own subtle touches over time. “We are keeping the steaks on the menu,” says O’Bryan, “but augmenting them with some fresh fish dishes. There’s old-school dishes too – brains and bacon, lamb’s fry – people love it.”
In the tradition of ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ O’Bryan is working in the kitchen with current head chef Thomas Scott, exploring new ideas and also learning what the regulars enjoy. “Our regulars come from all over the place, they drive here on their way home from work,” says O’Bryan. “The older guys say there’s nowhere else like this place and it’s where they want to be.”
While The Vine has not been really been a place for local residents, as it hasn’t been open at nights or weekends, there is a plan to slowly change that. The O’Bryans are starting with Thursday and Friday night dinners and will take it from there. “We’re building on the bones of the business,” says O’Bryan, “and they’re good, strong bones.”
59 Wellington Street, Collingwood
(03) 9417 2434