Hot Plates: Vaquero Dining, Albion

Coal fired octopus, sobrasada oscura, spiced tomato chutney

Coal fired octopus, sobrasada oscura, spiced tomato chutney

No cowboys are to be found at Albion's newest smart-casual spot. Instead there's plenty of charcuterie, batched cocktails and a slick fit-out.

There isn't usually much call for queue-control measures outside restaurants in inner-city Albion, but the latest offering from Nick Pinn and Laurie Rogencamp, operators of Newstead's Malt Pier, Brisbane's Malt Dining and boutique bottle shop Malt Traders, is a bona fide attention grabber with a doorway cordoned off with a red silk rope.

Yarra valley trout with tiger prawns, white onion, currents and pine nuts.

Vaquero packs pleasing swagger. Access to the casual but smart restaurant and bar is through a tiny butchery nook out front, which retails dry-aged beef and charcuterie, much of which is made in house. The smoky, meaty tang of smallgoods raise expectations nicely. The store is separated from the restaurant by a glazed charcuterie and dry-ageing cabinet and the long, slender space beyond is open plan, but neatly divided into sections.

At its core, there's an eye-catching brass-topped bar and a variety of seating, ranging from a large communal-style table in a covered, cobbled courtyard at the rear to curved banquettes, and a variety of bar and table dining. A line-up of batched cocktails adorns a backlit bar to bolster the drinks they make to order, plus there's a commendable line-up of interesting wines by the glass and a decent beer selection.

Corned beef cheek with pickled cucumber and celeriac cream.

Just as the flattering fit-out and well-balanced drinks list pack in texture, so too does the lightly Spanish-influenced sharing menu.

Rounds of briny-sweet scallop boudin sausage are offset by pickled fennel, vibrant dots of parsley oil and an airy scallop mousse topped with deep-fried cauliflower.

Char-grilled octopus tentacles share a plate with a chilli-laden, ink-black sobrasada oscura and a dollop of forthright tomato pickle, while savoury Manchego custard and a toasty hazelnut dukkah prove happy sidekicks for a mix of coal-grilled carrots.

It's not the sort of sustenance you'd envisage a stereotypical Latin cowboy vaquero fuelling up on - we're thinking here of the dry-aged rump cap that's cooked sous-vide before hitting the Josper oven (why?). But Vaquero is assuredly a spot worth roping in a crowd for.

Vaquero Dining, 344 Sandgate Rd, Albion, Qld, (07) 3862 3606, vaquerodining.com.au


Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
KingFish opens, sampling poke, hip-hop and matcha treats
07.09.2017
Bridge Bon Appetit, the latest addition to Hubert, opens tonight
06.09.2017
Get to know Orana, Australia's Restaurant of the Year 2018
25.08.2017
Pinbone teams up with Merivale for a new pop-up
15.08.2017
Melbourne is now home to a Champagne vending machine
11.08.2017
On the Pass : Giovanni Pilu, Pilu at Freshwater
11.08.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Hot Plate: Face2Face Noodles, Sydney

Chinatown's new spicy Chongqing-styled noodle bar is complet...

Hot Plates: Higher Ground, Melbourne

The line between cafe and restaurant is blurred at the CBD’s...

Hot Plates: Shobosho, Adelaide

North Asia meets Australian barbecue at Shobosho, Adam Listo...

L'Americano, Sydney

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats ar...

Estelle Bistro, Melbourne

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats ar...

Bang Street Food, Sydney

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats ar...

Minamishima, Melbourne

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats ar...

Lilo Tang, Canberra

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats ar...

Mayflower Restaurant and Bar, Adelaide

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats ar...

The Vertue of the Coffee Drink, Melbourne

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats ar...

Spirit House, Yandina, Qld

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats ar...

Bistro Nguyen's, Canberra

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats ar...

University of Melbourne Farmers' Market

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats ar...

Clayton Wells at LuMi

The pair join forces for Sunday lunches at LuMi.

Farmhouse Restaurant, Pialligo Estate, ACT

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats ar...