Bistro Lilly looks lovely anytime, but it's the night-times I like best. A candle on every table
of this spacious 90-seater, mixed with high ceilings and delicate soft lighting, gives
this contemporary room a very enticing elegance. No wonder on a recent very chilly
Tuesday night, the place was comfortably busy - it's a great escape not just from
the weather, but from pretty much everything.
In June 2006 owners Marc and Cher Thomson celebrated Bistro Lilly's
with an unforgettable White Truffle and Henschke Wine dinner on June
official birthday night. They had a lot to celebrate from the previous
year - critical
acclaim from the Sydney Morning Herald, thank God, only bettered by the swelling
of regulars who love Bistro Lilly's excellent mostly Mod Oz cuisine.
While the SMH critic Matthew Evans raved about the seared yellowfin tuna: "perfect for
the price (it) arrives rare in the middle ... the flavour is sweet and there's a terrific
balance with the acidity of segmented blood orange", what's piquing most punters'
palates at present is the Braised Lamb Shank on Corned Beef Mash with
Wilted Greens & Paloise - this is melt-in-the-mouth winter cuisine - the corned beef
mash confirming that if a meat-lovers dish could ever be described as delicate,
then this is it.
My dining partner lucked in by choosing the fish of the day, it was her favourite,
Atlantic Salmon in this case with Artichoke Ragout on Goats Cheese & Herb Gnocchi
with House-Preserved Lemons - a big luscious serve of salmon which just dissolved
on the fork and in the mouth - head chef Mark Walsh, you have a new admirer!
Both mains come in at under thirty bucks which, in such a sublime setting, does go
somewhere towards restoring my faith in Sydney city/CBD dining - helped by discovering
that this section of Kent Street, between the city and The Rocks, was a doddle for
scoring an evening park! We landed right across the road and the night just flowed
from there, eased along by the calm yet razor-sharp Mr Thomson - when the owner's
also the waiter, the difference is tangible - you barely notice he's there, and yet
everything's unfolding effortlessly and perfectly.
Bistro Lilly is a classy spot for a business lunch during the day - not too showy so that
your clients might think you're overdoing the schmooze, instead relaxed and quietly
charming them with
the freshness and taste of the food ... but at night it's
definitely the kind of place where you don't need a collar or tie, and in fact the most
stuffy-looking bloke at a nearby table turned out to be wearing, under his suit, bright red
shoes! "He's a visitor from Melbourne," Cher later explained ... of course he is!!!
In fact, as the night wears merrily on, it's easy to come to the conclusion that there
are just so many things on the menu worth coming back for: entrees of Soft-Shell Crab,
Wild Rabbit Sage & Veal Terrine, Barramundi Veloute and my dining partner's choice,
a vegetarian dish of BBQ Eggplant, Plum Tomato & Roasted Garlic Ravioli with Tempura
Broccoli & Kumara Chips ...
... or mains like Whole Roasted Quail, or Gippsland Beef Tenderloin, or Wild Mushroom
Risotto ... or wines like the hard-to-find Charles Cimicky Trumps Barossa Shiraz (even
available by the glass), and then desserts like the Tiramisu, Bannoffi Pie, Mango Sorbet
with Chocolate Mousse ... so the temptations lie ...
TheyThey're available for functions, and will also be introducing a $59 Degustation Dinner
- so give them a call when you want to treat yourself, your partner, or a bevy of mates -
their hospitality will make you feel right at home - and this may just be the next
restaurant worth falling totally in love with. - Stewart Dawes.