La Mint
62-64 Riley St
Darlinghurst, Sydney

La Mint is a lovely place nestled in a quiet part of Riley Street in Darlinghurst that offers a lovely combination of French and Vietnamese influenced food.

Of course with the strong historical French links with Vietnam this combination is understandable, and yet there don't seem to be many in Sydney!

La Mint has a lovely decor and you feel comfortable and welcome as soon as you arrive. Seating 100 people it is a decent size, although being long and thin it actually hides its size well. Seating is well spaced allowing room and privacy.

It was very clear on our visit that they have a strong local following built up over many years in the area.

Our first entree (of many) was the papillotes aux deux fromages. Papillote means parcel or packet and the two cheeses - Tasmanian Camembert and Bega cream cheese - are encased inside crispy dumplings.

They were both lovely with Mlady preferrring the cream cheese slightly whilst I edged towards the Bega cheese ones just a bit. Crispy dumplings with molten cheese inside - what a winner and a must try!

We both love scallops so the grilled scallops - seared scallop in the shell with lemongrass, shallots and crushed peanuts - sounded great just reading them on the menu!

Fortunately, they tasted just as good. The scallops were lightly cooked - as they should be - and the Vietnamese influenced topping added a tasty delicate tang without overpowering the subtle seafood taste of the scallops. t

Of course it was also cocktail o'clock so we had to try a couple of the many options available at La Mint. We said what we liked and left the rest up to to La Mint and ended up with tasty tipples that we loved.

Mlady had a Chivas crush made from chivas regal, fresh mint, lemon juice and ginger ale. I had a Crazy Mojito made from fresh lime and mint muddled with sugar and Bacardi.

Who doesn't love a good spring roll? Well these ones were better than good - and impressive to look at as well.

Listed as nem stick in the menu, these were crispy prawn and squid spring rolls with taro and wood ear mushroom served with tamarind sauce.

They were certainly a lot longer and thinner than your standard spring roll - and extremely tasty as well - lots of crisp pastry and lots of sweet filling!

There are so many interesting - and different - dishes on the menu here and you could in fact have an entire meal of delicious entrees! The la folle de sugar cane - sugarcane wrapped with home made prawn paste and vermicelli with La Mint's tamarind dipping sauce - again looked so amazing and tasted great with contrasting textures going so well with wonderful flavours. It was like a crunchy, sweet san choy bow after you wrapped it all in the lettuce leaf it was resting on.

Of course pate de foie is a more traditional French dish - but you get the best of both worlds here at La Mint with some Vietnamese dishes, some Frech dishes and some fusion dishes! This was home made liver pate with leek, daikon, pickled carrot and cucumber and served with bread rolls. It was so good we took some home - and we heard plenty of people come here to get the pate for later on. It's easy to understand why!

Next was a more familar serving of Vietnamese rolls. These soft rice paper rolls were so light.

They were made from prawn wrapped in rice paper with Vietnamese herbs and served with a very unusual yet extremely tasty green apple sauce.

Rice paper rolls always have such a fresh look to them and prawns add even more colour.

Our next dish, our first main course, was the must try coco curry at La Mint. It was corn fed Cajun chicken with La Mint's curry paste all baked and served in a whole young coconut.

It looked so impressive and tasted amazing. As you eat the tender chicken you also scoop out the coconut flesh which has softened while the whole dish was cooking.

It tasted so good.

Our next main course was the pave de porc - anotrher unique signature dish of twice cooked pork belly tenderised in traditional caramelised sauce for 4 hours and served with baby green and La Mint's chilli.

The meat simply dissolved in your mouth it was just so tender and the flavours were divine. I could easily eat this all the time!

Seafood is always popular with us and the baby barramundi sounded like a good choice. It was filleted and lightly battered barramundi served with La Mints green pawpaw salad and zesty lemon ginger sauce.

The flesh had been removed from the fish and cooked before it was all re-assembled for serving.

The whole fish looked and tasted so good.

Dessert came in three this time. We had banana fritters with coconut sago and black sesame ice cream topped with home-made cinnamon syrup - crisp outer and soft core with lovely flavour. Then we had La Mint pudding - bitter melon jelly served with coconut sago - it looked great and was light and delicate with plenty of colour and taste. Finally we had the elegant poire belle Helene - poached pear with warm chocolate sauce and vanilla ice-cream. We were so full but very content!

La Mint offers a bit of Vietnamese, a bit of French and a bit of fusion between the two. There is a great variety available and it all looks and tastes great. There are plenty of wow factor dishes to choose!

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of La Mint. Special thanks to husband and wife team George and Leanne for having us. Leanne runs front of house and George is the creative force behind the menu. Thanks also to Lawrenjce, Sami and Nam for looking after us on our visit!

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