I recently lunched with a friend at a place of their recommendation – Little Henri on High St Thornbury. My visits further northside have been sporadic of late and I was not aware of it, and it was a pleasing surprise. Feeling greedy and unwilling to commit to larger dishes, we ordered several of the smaller ones to share.

From the top down: spectacular onion rings; delicious calamari with pickled cucumber; corn and zucchini fritters with avocado and smoked salmon; and duck salad. All were excellent, the service was good, and the wine list is most suitable. I chose a glass of picpoul de pinet to accompany the seafood and my friend, who is a rose fiend, was satisfied with the French rose on the list.

As a lover of Rhone whites, I enjoy the marsanne, roussanne and viognier from many Victorian producers from the King Valley, Beechworth, Heathcote and Nagambie. But no one seems to be growing picpoul. Why? What is believed to be Australia’s first planting of picpoul occurred very recently in Cowra, NSW, thanks to a determined farmer. I must remember this in about a decade, when the wines should be established and available.

I digress, but the point is having picpoul de pinet by the glass demonstrates excellent taste, and this elevates Little Henri above many similar competitors. It has charm inside and out, with its large rear courtyard, and it would be a pleasure to return.

little-henri-1 lunch at Little Henri in Thornbury little-henri-2 lunch at Little Henri in Thornbury little-henri-3 lunch at Little Henri in Thornbury little-henri-4 lunch at Little Henri in Thornbury

lunch at Little Henri in Thornbury

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