It has taken me a long time to get to Latris and it was at the invitation of friends that I finally made it for lunch. The restaurant’s position at the St Helens marina is perfect for boat watching in sunny weather and guess what, it was all grey skies and turgid sea on the day. We took a table at the window whilst the proprietor was finishing an endless task of cleaning the full length windows whilst balancing on a narrow ledge over the water, one slip and he was in for a spontaneous swim. We just had a quote for cleaning all the full length windows at our house inside and outside so obviously he was saving his couple of hundred dollars.
I decided I would write something about Latris as the last post I did on the nearby Margot restaurant received quite a few hits from people searching the net for much needed information on restaurants in the St Helens area. The search engines threw up my blog’s mention of Margot, possibly because hardly anyone comes to St Helens and writes about the restaurants.
My order of bouillabaisse came in a light and thin cream sauce. Garnished on the top with only one small slice from a French Baguette and there was a dab of rouille (rouille is rust in French). This saffron garlicky sauce is usually a real flavour booster but there just was not enough of it. The dish included some pippis, that I love, and perfectly cooked trout and white fish fillets but certainly not nearly enough variety. A vital missing ingredient was parsley, this much-lauded dish from the Mediterranean should not leave the kitchen’s ‘pass’ without this classic herb.
All the other dishes our table ordered, were deemed a success special mention for the trout dish. Don’t get me wrong, my main was enjoyable just missing a real depth of flavour. We chose the Derwent 08 Riesling – crisp, not overly fruity, it worked for our respective fried and creamy fish dishes.
They have an odd rule at lunchtime, Latris will not serve tap water, you have to buy water and since my other half does not drink alcohol, he was locked into ordering it. So a bottle of Ninth Island rainwater at $9.00 was suggested by the staff if we wanted water, an imperative really. We drink nothing but rainwater at Binalong Bay since we do not have ‘town water’ so for us the fancy bottle and label did not resonate, it hit the nerve in the hip pocket. Well I am speaking for our friends who were treating us. They were far too polite to make an issue of it as I am doing here.
My dessert was on point, a crème brûlée with just the right texture and the almond bread wafers on the side were perfect for scooping out the leftovers. The only improvement I would make is in the presentation, a little side plate on a black paper napkin is the kind if presentation my elderly aunt would serve.
This is a restaurant I will return to – lets hope they don’t take offence about the next remark. As long as I can look at the view and not the mundane and somewhat cold interior. The design – what is wrong with it? I would throw out the commercial office plants and dress the tabletops with sheets of old-fashioned butchers paper, the kind you get with takeaway fish and chips. Any more ideas and they would have to pay me for it. Roz