Time Out Melbourne

This low-lit corner pub in a beautiful Art Deco building comes with cracking food and a mature crowd

There’s no sticky carpet, second-rate schnitzel or bad singers belting out 80s covers at the Hotel Lincoln.

This gastro pub is divided into two parts: the front bar for a casual meal, and the dining room out back for more serious feeding. Happily, there’s no need to feel inferior in the bar, as the quality of the food puts other pubs to shame. You even get heavy cutlery, linen napkins and a basket of sourdough bread to boot. On the chalkboard menu is a shortlist of pub classics - beef and Guinness pie or beer-battered fish - with some more interesting choices thrown in.

Diners will no doubt notice the peculiar wallpaper: men taking a golf swing or hitting a forehand are interspersed with text such as ‘I hate to lose’ and ‘be good, be kind, be careful’. Ponder this take on sport and masculinity while tucking into an entree.

The zucchini fritters shaped like ping-pong balls are crunchy brown on the outside and pale green on the inside, lifted with the addition of a mint yoghurt sauce. Wilted spinach and mushroom slivers commingle with pudgy gnocchi balls in a light cream sauce. Pan-fried sardine fillets on a spongy bed of shaved fennel, watercress and eggplant puree is not a dish for the faint hearted. It’s a strong mix of chilli, salt and smokiness that would perhaps benefit from fewer overbearing green olives.

If you fancy sweets you can order from a small selection on the dining-room menu. A warm and homey marmalade pudding comes with candied orange segments and a big blob of cinnamon cream.

Service can be a little hurried at times, but with great food and good value, all is forgiven.

First published on . Updated on .

By Kelly Eng   |  

Hotel Lincoln details

91 Cardigan St, Carlton 3053

Telephone 03 9347 4666

Price per person including drinks $1.00 to $50.00

Open Lunch Mon- Sun 12-3pm Dinner Mon - Sun - 6-10pm.

Hotel Lincoln website

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