Very cheap eats: Hotel Lincoln.

So, the Lincoln, as I affetionately call it, have started their $12 Monday bar meals again, from the hours of 6-8, although their meals are generally less than $20 when you order from the bar anyways. This just means when you get a pint with your meal, you’re getting more than a dollar’s worth of change. If you haven’t been to the Lincoln before, you’re going to be surprised with the quality and range of foods. Unlike most pub meals, you won’t find the chicken parma on the board, but instead a constant rotation of what is in season. Generally there are a few vegetarian dishes, and an abundance of choice scrawled down a 2.5 metre length blackboard plastered to the wall. Today, I opted for the WA sardine salad with radicchio, pear and pine nuts (originally $16), while my companion leaned towards the Atlantic Salmon fishcakes with chips and aoli (originally $15). Naturally we both had pints of Coopers Pale Ale to wash it down with and it only took us to $18. The service was no less than attentive and a basket of sourdough and soy and linseed bread arrived at our table with butter and cruets. Despite their quality of food, they seem to enjoy providing you with that powdered imitation pepper. The meals are generously sized, and what I have noticed is that their descriptions of food are generally a step further from what you would expect the food to be served at…but you’re never left disappointed. For example, they advertised a dish as being “spinach and ricotta pancakes”, and I was surprised (pleasantly) that they were crepes filled with spinach and ricotta. This happened again tonight, as my dish arrived with three butterflied and grilled sardine fillets served along side the radicchio, shaved pear and pine nut salad with a good lashing of olive oil and a wedge of lemon. Despite the oil, it didn’t leave a pool at the bottom of the dish. Everything was well proportioned, as my companion noted and even though we were sitting in the cold outside, I didn’t feel as if I should have gotten anything heavier. The Atlantic Salmon fishcakes were a potato based fishcake crumbed and deepfried. Not at all dry and incredibely generous in size, especially after a few slices of bread and a pint. The chips have been freshly fried and don’t have that stale taste like they have been floating in skanky oil for the past week. The aoli is just a bonus, and again, well seasoned. The thing is with the Lincoln is that when you usually say “I’ll get that next time,” that it is bound to happen because of their use of fresh produce, unless it is a constant item. You can also order form their restaurant menu, though, that obviously doesn’t fall under their “bar menu” range. I feel fat, happy and glad that I didn’t have to cook on Monday. Go, do it. Do it now.

Hotel Lincoln, 91 Cardigan st, Carlton 3053.