The fabled dinner – PC’s feast @ LL Wine and Dine

May 29, 2010 at 8:49 am 1 comment

So I’m feeling guilty.  This is the promised post and it’s taken me a long time to publish it.  Up front – sorry about the delay.  You don’t need to hear my excuses – so we’ll move on to remembering last Saturday night’s dinner for PC’s birthday at LL Wine and Dine.  A feast of epic proportions in a cosy, wee, space in Potts Point with 14 of PC’s most treasured friends.  The rumoured orgasmic tofu meant that care factor was high.  Cameras poised, drinking boots strapped, we entered the little restaurant down a previously overlooked laneway.

The bar in the entry to LL Wine and Dine

The bar in the entry to LL Wine and Dine

Funky and ambient, but oh so squeezy

T, who was also one of PC’s dinner guests, asked me at the end of the night whether the verdict on LL Wine and Dine was good or bad.  I loved the food, the drinks were far too good (I felt horrendous on Sunday – all my own fault) and the company, of course was tremendous.  The one thing that we agreed let LL Wine and Dine down was the amount of space we had in which to eat our dinner.  While we booked for 14 people, we had to squeeze them into the space for about 10-12.  That made for a fun night, but also meant that at times, people had to eat on their laps.  You can get an idea of how close our quarters were from the picture below that shows half our table.

Close quarters @ LL Wine and Dine

Close quarters @ LL Wine and Dine

A big banquet

When our friend Tines emailed the menu around to everyone, I had no clue that it was a banquet, so was trying to determine my choice of three attention grabbing dishes in both the first and second course categories.  Turns out I was pleasantly surprised!  First to arrive was:

San choy bau of chicken, pine nut, lemongrass and mint in an iceberg lettuce cup with spicy lemon dressing and topped with special crouton.  This dish arrived just in the nick of time, for BF who was sitting on my left had been threatening to faint with hunger.  We realised in tandem that this was a banquet and both our eyes lit up before we pressed on with the task of demolishing the san choy bau. 

Chicken and pine nut san choy bau

Chicken and pine nut san choy bau

Next to arrive was the: house blend chilli, sea salt and pepper calamari with preserved lemon and finished with cucmber salsa and fresh lime.  I was so thankful not to have to had chosen between the first courses because I’d likely have chosen the tofu and not the calamari nor san choy bau.  Both of them were delicious and LL provided plenty of each as far as I was concerned.  Talking to S later in the night, he said he felt the restaurant could have provided bigger portions, but then he drank less wine than me, so perhaps he had a few open pockets in his belly that could have benefited from a spare pine nut, or a tender calamari roll.

Salt and peper squid

Salt and peper squid

Tines had written in her email about PC’s birthday “ps: the fried tofu is orgasmic” – a simple line, but not a throw away one by any stretch.  Most guests down my end of the table had read that line and were looking forward to the tofu.  And suddenly, there it was…  Fried tofu with black sesame and tahini sauce, snow pea sprout, finished with seaweed & togarashi seasoning (vegetarian.)

The fried tofu at the fabled dinner

The fried tofu at the fabled dinner

Tines was a veteran at this.  She requested bowls of fluffy rice be brought to the table, and my fellow diners loaded the sticky black, sesame sauce onto the rice so as not to waste a spot of it.

Half time, regroup

At this point, we were all full enough to get on with the official business of birthday celebration photography and general frippery.  I was happily wedged between my two favourite girls and since it’s our tradition to take self portraits, we took a few thousand.  One is below.

With my fave girls - L to R: PC, moi et BF

With my fave girls - L to R: PC, moi et BF

Second course

After a break, our mains were delivered.  And delivered.  And delivered. 

First up – another fave of mine, but presented in a new, juicy fashion.  Crispy skin pork belly drizzled with palm sugar and kafir lime leaf syrup, finished with crushed peanut and fresh herb.  Oh hello LL, you are talking my language!  The crackling was crispy, the belly was belly-ish and the herbs were refreshing.  The peanuts added an extra dimension to the flavour.

The pork belly - talking my language

The pork belly - talking my language

There’s no point in my hiding this since you’re probably already sensing a pattern…  The pork belly was on my agenda.  Before I knew it was a banquet, I thought I’d have to choose between the belly and the other dishes.  I was only going to choose something other than belly because I feel that I’m always fessing up to eating the belly and well – for you, I was going to choose the crab – or well, maybe the beef.  Even now I know I sound non committal!

Well I can’t help it, okay?  I’m drawn to the belly.  Like a moth to a flame.  I wish I wasn’t like that and I’m sure that Nanna G would disapprove, but I think I got Pa’s belly loving gene…  So it’s going to make sense when I tell you that the other two courses weren’t really rating in my universe – but they were tasty nonetheless – and from the noises coming from my table-mates, I’d recommend them to you, should you decide to visit LL’s.

Chilli and garlic soft shell crab

Chilli and garlic soft shell crab

Braised eye fillet of beef

Braised eye fillet of beef

With the mains came the sides, and the sides, and the sides.  What a feast, really!  At this point, those who previously had little room on the table, now had no room and bowls were lifted from their spots on the tables to make room for the sides, which were:

Wok fried rice with BBQ pork, egg, garlic and shallot; steamed gai lan with vegetarian oyster mushroom sauce; sichuan style green beans with dried shrimp, ginger & garlic sauce and steamed rice.

Note how we had to balance these beautiful beans on top of the pork belly to fit them on the table?

Note how we had to balance these beautiful beans on top of the pork belly to fit them on the table?

Desserts – a mixed bag

Between mains and dessert Mr L spirited down to the LL kitchen and got some shots of the team preparing shared dessert plates for our table and mains for others.  When they arrived at the table, we found LL’s desserts attracted mixed opinions.  If you like green tea icecream and have an open mind about your creme brulee, you might just find a treasure within the shared plate trove.

The shared dessert plate

The shared dessert plate

The LL kitchen crew

The LL kitchen crew

The low down

The banquet @ LL Wine and Dine cost $50 per person, plus the cost for booze.  Should you visit, do consider trying the LL Cool Sling: Bacardi 8 with fresh lime, pineapple and orange juice served tall over ice with passionfruit and a dash of vanilla – it is delicious!

LL Cool Sling

LL Cool Sling

LL Wine and Dine is located at 42 Llankelly Place in Potts Point – opposite the Empire Hotel in a cobblestone laneway.

The restaurant is booked weeks in advance, so phone them on +61 2 9356 8393 to make a reservation. 

Visit the website here: www.llwineanddine.com.au.

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Entry filed under: australia, Dinner, Friends, Middle of the road, sydney. Tags: , , .

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