Co-owners of Buzo (the relocation of which to the CBD has just been announced this week) and The Wine Library; James Hird, Traci Trinder and Todd Garratt have expanded their clan with the recent opening of Vincent. While the trio are known for their skills with Italian cuisine, newcomer Vincent takes the guise of a French brassiere. Situated in the dining room of Woollahra’s boutique Hughenden Hotel, the restaurant extends out to a courtyard gleaming with porcelain white settings.

“We’ve all trained in French restaurants and have spent a lot of time travelling there,” says Hird on the group’s interest in French cuisine. “There are many misconceptions about French food in Australia. We wanted to reappraise what French food is to us by creating a provincial setting.”

With Jo Ward (previously of Bloodwood and Claude’s) in the kitchen and Garratt at hand, Hird says it helps to have the three ventures close by, “We are small. Proximity is a good thing. We have been working in the area since 2000 and know it well. It’s good for us to be able to duck and weave between [all our venues].”

Sharing plates set the tone of the menu, starting with pig’s head terrine and a vibrant collection of baby vegetables followed by salads like salt-baked celeriac tossed with cavolo nero, chévre and toasted hazelnuts. French classics include steak frites, sirloin topped with house-made butter and fries and quail en crepinette with currants and radicchio.

Cheese, butter and even crème fraiche are made in-house with Hird explaining that he and Garratt have been studying cheese making at Adelaide’s Artisan Cheese Making Academy, “We’re looking at creating a standpoint by exploring different flavour profiles with bacteria, yeast and mould.”

While fromage du jour an expected find here, desserts also impress, like a chocolate and salted caramel tart with buttermilk mousse and maple pot au crème served with brioche soldiers.

The wine list showcases 100 French labels, Hird explaining that “Our theory is to have an evolving menu with a dynamic wine list expressive to the season. As dishes come onto the menu, we will add wine to the list that perfectly matches it.”

Vincent
14 Queen Street, Woollahra
(02) 8039 1500

Hours
Mon-Wed 6pm-11pm
Thu-Sun 12pm-11pm

vincentfrench.com.au