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The Aviary

271 Victoria Street,
Abbotsford VIC 3067
Tel : +61 3 9428 7727
Price Range: $$$$
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Illuminated birdcages, Art Deco style lamps and red flying ducks give The Aviary's breezy, comfortable interior a quirky charm. The Abbotsford property offers a regular bar, a restaurant and an elegant cocktail bar upstairs where you can choose your poison from a concise but thoughtfully chosen list of beer, wine, spirits and cocktails. On the food menu, Mediterranean and Asian influenced share-plates keep things informal.

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In the midst of Victoria Street’s “Little Saigon”, close to the corner of Hoddle Street.

While most people head to Victoria Street to enjoy the cheap Vietnamese delights the area has to offer, The Aviary is a Euro-inspired oasis within the hustle and bustle of this little slice of Saigon. Behind the bluestone facade, elegant stained-glass windows and whitewashed walls almost give this eclectic bar and diner the feeling of a Spanish hacienda. The shaded beer garden offers a leafy retreat, while inside there are plenty of nooks and crannies to nestle with a drink and a few tasty nibbles. Accents such as red flying ducks across the wall, illuminated birdcages and Art Deco style lamps add a quirky charm. The menu is geared to be bar friendly, with simply-constructed Mediterranean and Asian influenced share plates as the focus. Try the margarita cured kingfish with orange and fennel salad, marinated Japanese chicken with sesame mayo and ruby grapefruit and rocket salad or steamed zucchini flowers filled with Persian fetta.

Mains come in the form of seared barramundi with cauliflower, Swiss brown mushrooms, Kaiserfleisch. and port reduction or pumpkin and liquorice root risotto with baby spinach and mascarpone. If all else fails there’s a stripped back bar menu offering warmed flat breads, marinated olives, fries and a trusty, crowd pleasing chicken and pancetta parmigiana. Desserts also beckon with selections like gingerbread with poached pears, vanilla ice-cream and butterscotch sauce and orange-infused churros with dulce de leche on hand to provide a sweet finish. The wine list is a concise, thoughtfully chosen affair of Victorian and New Zealand wines with a smattering of Spanish and Italian varietals. As you might expect of a bar-based diner, The Aviary also excels at cocktails and offers a good range of local and imported beers.

Angela Costanzo
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