La Mint is nestled away on a hidden corner of Riley Street, with a nearby cul de sac that adjuncts Sydney CBD's William Street. William is the very street that serves as the main thoroughfare to the giant Coca Cola sign that signals the start of the Kings Cross precinct. Standing in front of La Mint, and its neighbouring La Spoggotti, one can see the top of the Westfield building. From the restaurant, though, our eyes wondered across the road through louvred wood blinds to an unassuming residential block called the Hyde Park Apartments.
We had gathered for a birthday meal, organised by Ely and Ray. My best palate sensation was the five spice infused duck confit, followed by the melt-in-the-mouth crispy skin of the Saigon styled roast chicken. I am a fan of duck done in whatever cultural cooking style, from Austrian through French to Beijing and Espanol. I must confess that the La Mint duck has influences of my own Cantonese heritage, so I am not impartial on this judgement. The La Mint version was moist, spoke of the aroma of spices and yet was different from the Hong Kong inspiration.
Three outstanding guzmania plants,with their eye-catching red blooms, prettily poised against a wall at the back of the restaurant -and they were so easily spotted under focus lights. Three obvious French expats gathered on another table, smartly dressed but suited to the humid Sydney summer climate, reminiscent of colonial times in 19th century Saigon or Hanoi. Fashion Tv channel played on mute from pay tv on the large lcd screen. The partitions surrounding the dining area was possibly made of teak, a sweet reminder of South-east Asia and more elegant times.
Above, the entree variety platter; below, the pork ribs with a spicy garnishing.
Deep fried ice cream after being flambeed and accompanied by fresh strawberries.
My group of six persons first tucked in for an entree variety platter of the usual Viet favourite selection of finger food,but this was surpassed by the delicate omelette's pancake as second serving. The dining experience was topped by a flambee of fried ice cream. In between, the lows were the rather salty taste from the soy doused pork belly,which was otherwise perfect in texture and presentation. Another dish of pork ribs were rather thin and looked more like deep fried calamari, but that was more than made up by the
barramundi, which was deep fried to a perfect crunch. Overall, the menu we had were skewed towards Asian rather than French,but there was a viable variety of wines and the ambiance was enhanced by French inspired tunes and decor.
I would return.