A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published September 7th 2016
Sip on a spiced rum, snack on a salt cod fritter
Saint Lucia Restaurant and Bar opened in the busy, buzzy Windsor section of Chapel Street six months ago. Owners Charlie Ranken and Steph Harris fell in love with the Caribbean region when they travelled there, and in particular the former French colony of Saint Lucia, located in the eastern Caribbean Sea, after which the restaurant is named.
The cuisine at Saint Lucia Restaurant is similarly influenced by that region, claiming inspiration from the Caribbean, Cuba and Southern America. Think Louisiana spices, dishes smoked over hickory, and chipotle mayo and you'll be heading down the right path. The concept is share plates, encouraging a social dining experience. Click here to view the full menu.
Charlie and Steph have a view that no meal is complete without a suitable tipple to accompany it, and so they have ensured pretty much all tastes can be met. They offer a great range of rums and tequilas, but also an impressive list of local and imported beers and wines, and a selection of cocktails.
Funky Caribbean decor, with a relaxed easy going vibe
The decor in Saint Lucia is laid back and funky. Along one wall are high tables with bar stools, while at the front are couches. The lights are low, and the mood is relaxed and easy going.
Asking for dining recommendations, Charlie suggested the chorizo and goats cheese cigars with piquillo pepper sauce ($9 - 2 per serve), and the fried plantains ($7) served with chipotle mayo for starters. While I knew plantains were a member of the banana family, I hadn't tried them before. They were beautifully crispy with a hint of paprika spiciness. I can imagine they would be a great snack to go with a drink, as well as being a tasty starter. The cigars had a lovely consistency - nicely crisp on the inside as you bit through to the soft, salty filling. Very more-ish.
Entrees - plantains (left) and chorizo and goats cheese cigars
I chose to accompany the starters with a glass of 2014 Finca Las Moras Malbec San Juan Cuyo (Argentina), well priced at $9.50. My partner Dave has a thing for trying new and different beers and was pleased with the Red Stripe Jamaican Lager ($10). Click here to see the full drinks list.
Saint Lucia offers an extensive drinks list
Moving on to the main courses, Charlie explained that their 'larger plates' are perhaps two-thirds the size of the main courses you get at some restaurants (and priced accordingly). This is consistent with the share platter concept. Charlie suggested that we'd need three dishes to feel satisfied, and that felt about right.
We started with jerk salmon (salmon fillet marinated in a house jerk sauce and pan-fried) ($18). The flavours were well balanced, with just a hint of sweetness to tone the spices. The texture of the fish was firm to the touch yet melted in the mouth.
Jerk salmon - melt in the mouth
The other protein dish we had was the low and slow - maple chilli pork ribs (smoked for 4 hours over hickory and apple wood with a sweet and tangy mop sauce) ($23). This was my favourite dish of the night. A pretty dish on the plate, the smoky flavour was evident without overpowering the dish, and again, the chefs seemed to have the flavour balances just right. The pork was accompanied by little stacks of pickled vegetables which looked and tasted great.
Low and slow - maple chilli pork ribs
We rounded our main courses out with sautéed seasonal vegetables ($12), a generous serve of fresh nicely cooked vegetables.
Saint Lucia offers just two desserts - and there was one I could not resist! They have milk and cookies - which can be served with or without a rum twist ($13), but it was the other one that took my fancy. The la roche flambé ($14) is inspired by the famous volcanic mountains of Saint Lucia - the Pitons. It is a dark ginger cake with hot caramel and blood orange mousse, presented with all the theatre of a flambé service at the table. Diving into it, the ginger cake splits open to reveal its 'lava' of mousse. Oh my goodness, what an indulgent, wicked and wonderful dessert. And what a memorable way to finish off a delightful meal.
la roche flambe - theatrical service
Do make sure you schedule a time to enjoy a meal or a drink at Saint Lucia.
Saint Lucia is located at 78 Chapel Street, Windsor (an easy walk from Windsor train station). It is open from 5pm til late Tuesday - Friday, and from 2pm til late Saturday and Sunday (closed Monday).
To make a booking, call (03) 9530 2085 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The images in this article were taken by the writer. They are not to be reproduced in any form without the express permission of the writer.