LL Wine + Dine can be found nestled in the middle of Llankelly Place, one of my favourite streets in Potts Point. LL serves up delicious modern Asian food, cocktails and weekend yum cha and has been somewhere I've been keen to try out since...forever!
We start our even off with a few cocktails chosen for us by the friendly bar-tender. First is the
Botanical Fling - a Hendricks gin martini with St Germain elderflower, kaffir lime and lemon... shaken just like James Bond likes ($18.00). We also get to try the Limoncello Saketini with Yuzu sake, vodka and campari shaken with a fresh lemon and a burnt orange twist ($18.00). I love the sweet, sour and bitter flavours in this cocktail.
As we drink our cocktails we're taken on a tour of the restaurant. To say that the space LL Wine + Dine occupies has had a "colourful past" is the understatement of the century! The restaurant has had various incarnations as a sex shop, gambling den and "house of ill repute". There are secret rooms and exits all over the building and under the building is a tunnel that leads out to the harbour! It's fascinating.
Back at our table we enjoy a lovely glass of Mount Horrocks Watervale Riesling ’13 from the Clare Valley in SA ($13.00/glass). I'm not normally a fan of Riesling (too sweet) but I have to say this is a really enjoyable drop (I'm trying not to sound like a wine "snob" as I write that but I think I'm failing)!
The LL san choy bau of chicken with a spicy lime dressing comes served in an ice berg lettuce cup and is topped with pine nuts and special croutons (normally 2 pieces for $11.00). I really enjoyed this dish - it had all of the flavours of a traditional san choy bau with the addition of modern and surprising elements like pine nuts that gave the dish a nice textural element.
The roasted duck bun is a total winner! Pieces of lush, fatty duck are sandwiched in between a soft, doughy bun, and come coupled with cucumber, hoi sin sauce, shallots and sesame (1 piece for $6.50).
Next is a platter with crispy tofu with a black sesame and tahini sauce that is topped with snow pea sprouts, finished with seaweed and nanami togarashi seasoning (normally a large plate for $14.00). Also on the platter is a little bowl with prawn and pork wonton with a chilli oil and aged dark vinegar sauce that is topped with silk egg, pickled mustard and shallots (normally 8 pieces for $16.00).
Our next tasty morsel is a little taste of the calamari that is tossed with house blended chilli, sea salt and pepper served with a preserved lemon and gherkin dipping sauce and lemon wedges (normally $15.00 for a larger serving). Yes, gherkin dipping sauce! The flavour of the sauce isn't overwhelming, and the gherkins adds a little "zing"to each mouthful. Is there anything gherkins cannot do?
On the platter with the calamari comes a pan-fried prawn and scallop dumpling that is served with wakame, chilli paste and a lemon mustard dipping sauce (normally $18.00 for 5 pieces).
There are a number of tempting looking mains on the menu but we go with the massaman beef curry ($26.00) as it's a firm favourite of mine. I love curries or stews that come with potato! The beef is fall-apart tender and comes with carrot, pototo and broccoli and is finished with crushed peanuts and fresh herbs. This is a perfect dish for the cooling weather - hearty and warming (and packed full of flavour too)!!
Our curry comes served with a bowl of tasty wok fried rice with BBQ pork, egg, garlic and shallot ($15.00). This is a GREAT fried rice and I have to be quick to get my share as The Boy is a fried rice lover from way back and declares this to be "excellent" as he scoffs most of the dish!
Who can resist a dessert cocktail - not me, even though there's work tomorrow! The Clockwork Orange is a mix of vodka, Cointreau and white chocolate liqueur that is served martini style with an orange segment twist. It tastes exactly like a Jaffa...yum!
Speaking of dessert, the menu makes a sudden departure from all things Asian inspired and we're served jam doughnuts with raspberry sorbet! The donughts are filled with raspberry jam, though I think they would be pretty amazing with a more Asian filling such as Kaya Jam!
LL Wine + Dine is at 42 Llankelly Place, Potts Point. Phone them on 9356 8393.