Dinner at LL Wine & Dine
“Take a date to LL Wine & Dine and you’re bound to get laid” according to Mr J. “Grab a drink in Kings Cross at a bar after dinner, hail a cab (there’s loads around) and you’ll be back at her place in no time” he continues. It’s called the ‘3- hour-pull’, because that’s how long the whole process should take, 3 hours max!
Just to clarify, Mr J and I are NOT on a date. He is a male friend with male thoughts. I agree with two things, one that LL is a great place for a date and two there are lots of cabs in Kings Cross. That’s all I agree with and this won’t be the only thing we disagree on tonight.
We are popping Mr J’s LL cherry, it’s his first time here. Opening in February 2010 the bar and restaurant has been buzzing ever since. We did our first Secret Foodies here this time last year when it was still relatively unknown.
Owners Chris, Matt and Tim Barge recently returned from Hong Kong with Head Chef Jin Kung and I was eager to taste their inspiration. We leave it up to Chris to select our dishes and start with cocktails. I really enjoy the the Jin Gin a blend of gin, mandarin, grapefruit and citron spices while Mr J enjoys the Botanical Fling (how appropriate) with St Germain Elderflower, kaffir lime and lemon.
Chris brings out a bowl of crunchy school prawns for us to snack on. I love these little bad boys, I used to order them at Ash St Cellar before they took it off the menu. Mr J looks confused. “Do I eat the head or pull it off” he asks. I lead by example and pop the lemongrass, garlic, chilli and coriander covered prawn, head intact in my mouth. Mr J is still unsure.
It’s me who looks unsure when I see sashimi nachos of king fish and ocean trout on the menu. When the tower of sashimi, capsicum and corn salsa, avocado, sour cream and black caviar arrives Mr J’s eyes light up. I appreciate pushing boundaries and trying new things and the sashimi is fresh but I’m not a big fan of this dish. I think come summer, sharing with a larger group where you only have a small portion, this may work. That said, Mr J loves it.
Mr J and I finally find some common food ground with the roasted lamb cutlet crusted with Massaman curry and lime leaf served with with five spices and cucumber and mint jelly. This is my favourite dish on the menu. It has great flavours, soft tender lamb and visually stimulating presentation. Mr J agrees!
We also enjoy the confit crispy skin duck breast homemade pancakes with cucumber, spring onions, taro chips and plum and orange sauce. I like the interaction of rolling our own pancakes but i’d say ditch the crunchy chips, it doesn’t add to the dish and it’s better to keep it simple. We enjoy a nice pinot Noir from Geelong, Victoria and a chardonnay from Nelzon, NZ with our mains.
Chris prepares us with wet towels for our final main dish, Singaproean jumbo king prawn curry with capsicum, broccoli and sugar snap served with fritter dipping sticks. I love this dish because, again, it’s interactive. You need to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in, soaking up the beautiful sauce with the fritter sticks. It is messy, it is fun, it is delicious.
It wouldn’t be a ‘fake-date’ without dessert and we try two new additions. The cinnamon and honey panna cotta served with caramel ice cream and cinnamon sugar swirls is my favourite, no wait maybe I like the ginger sugar coated doughnut balls filled with coconut custard served with pineapple sorbet better. Ok, they’re both amazing you should order both. The panna cotta isn’t too sweet which makes it easy to eat and the doughnuts are great to share, steaming hot straight from the brown paper bag.
We finish the evening and hale our separate cabs, it’s been about 3 hours and after cocktails, wine and delicious food it’s been a fun night. I’m starting to see where Mr J was coming from. Unfortunately the only 3 hour pull I’m getting tonight is in the waistband of my shorts, thankfully that’s nothing undoing the top button wont fix!
6 Questions with Head Chef, Jin Kung
1) Ms D: I notice you have an all female kitchen, is that a prerequisite? JK: No it’s not but being slim is. The kitchen is so small we can’t have anyone too big or we won’t all fit (giggles).
2) Ms D: What inspired you to become a chef? JK: I’m from Shanghai and was always in the kitchen with my mum and grandma, i’ve always liked cooking
3) Ms D: What’s your favourite Eat? JK: Japanese and Korean home style Asian BBQ
4) Ms D: Favourite Drink: JK: Beer
5) Ms D: Favourite Play: JK: Travelling
6) Ms D: Who’s the best looking Barge Brother? JK: Matthew- he’s the cutest and nicest
LL Wine & Dine
42 Llankelly Place, Potts Point
(02) 9356 8393