A William Street newcomer draws on the wine bars of Paris with small plates, charcuterie and a France-led wine list.
Opening in late January on the edge of the city, Vincent Wine occupies the site left previously held by fried-chicken favourite Meat Candy, but there’s no hint of it working the same lines. Instead, this is a place that boldly takes a tone similar to nearby Wines of While – a bar right at the vanguard of what’s new and natural in the West.
Here the bar has been stripped back to exposed brick and simple white tiling, with a few seats for solo drinkers, while the dining space and leafy courtyard merge into one, giving the space a sense of flow and energy. France is the lodestar on a 200-bottle wine list, but Italian, Australian and New Zealand labels make a fine showing, too, and the list changes regularly, with 10 or so pours by the glass. After an apéro first? The $12 Vincent G&T is spot on.
Charcuterie is a speciality for Mahe, and his chicken-liver parfait and duck rillettes are standouts.
In the kitchen, former Must Winebar head chef Andre Mahe channels the kind of tone set by Paris’s caves à manger – think La Buvette or Aux Deux Amis – with a compact menu of small plates to go with wine. Charcuterie is a speciality for Mahe, and his chicken-liver parfait and duck rillettes are standouts – order a charcuterie plate and they’re supported by two terrines, pickles and baguette. His tartare, meanwhile, with pecorino and aïoli, is hard to fault. Other small plates range from beetroot with Bookara goat’s curd and orange vinaigrette – always a safe bet – to crisp-roasted potatoes with paprika and sour cream or tomatoes dressed with red onion and lime-leaf cream.
For mains, baharat-spiced lamb meatballs make fast friends with chickpea stew, while super-smooth vanilla crème brûlée makes up the sweet section (but, of course, there’s always cheese).
The casual tone and cheerful, accommodating service are two of Vincent’s most outstanding attributes, and it maintains its sense of sophistication without being pretentious or stuffy. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.