We’ve heard plenty about Victoria St Bistro in the short few months we’ve been in Hamilton, but never got around to visiting until recently. We went in with very high expectations given all the accolades bestowed upon it, and left slightly disappointed. The experience wasn’t bad at all, but it did not live up to the many praises lavished upon it.
I’ll start with the good part – the service was excellent, some of the best we’ve experienced around here. Our waitress for the evening was bubbly and enthusiastic and made us feel right at home, and the food and drinks were served in reasonable time. There was even a complimentary starter of a shotglass of some coconut milk concoction before our entrees came. The entree of ciabatta stuffed with garlic mascarpone was quite average – the filling seemed to be uneven, as some of the buns were dripping with it (good!) and some had almost none inside (bad).
My main of pan roasted duck breast with confit duck leg and savoy croquette was absolutely heavenly – the duck breast was seared to perfection, tender and juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, and the croquette was rather creative. The duck jus and sweetcorn puree really came together in a gorgeous blend of flavours. The boy’s main of venison was rather less impressive – the venison itself was good but the beef cheek served with it was oddly hard, and we felt that the lentils, beetroot and kale did not go very well with the dish. The side of fries was underwhelming, being shoestring fries without skin on and served with standard aioli. Our shared dessert of tiramisu with honeycomb was lovely, however.
While we still enjoyed our meal, I feel this place is slightly overpriced for what it serves. It’s a bistro-but-not-really-a-bistro – at an average of $39 per (small-ish) main and $18 per entree, its price point sits very close to the fine dining range, slightly higher than Palate and a bit lower than big names like The French Cafe. For this price we would expect to be wowed (as we were at the above two places), and unfortunately it falls slightly short of that. Also, the ambience is very bar-like and extremely noisy, with an actual bar in the middle and tables being very close together. To be fair, we were very fortunate to be given one of the two secluded tables near the front (perhaps because we booked ahead of time?), so we have no complaints about the ambience ourselves, but had we been seated in any of the other tables we would probably not have enjoyed ourselves nearly as much.
TL;DR: Good, but overpriced.
|Cost:||$35 – $50 pp|
|Value for money:|