Saturday, March 25, 2006

Bistro Lilly, 168 Kent Street, Sydney

Bistro Lilly, 168 Kent Street, Sydney
Saturday 25 March, 2006

The attraction of visiting Bistro Lilly came from one of Matthew Evans (formally SMH) last Good Living reviews. It stated, "Perfect for the price....Bistro Lilly is worth visiting".

So, I booked a table and rounded up the dinner crowd. Once we'd locked in a date, we started to discover all the specials available. If you pay with a Citibank credit card you receive a complimentary bottle of wine and the website was promoting their two courses and a glass of wine for $39 pp. Surprisingly, none of these offers are mentioned on their website.

Bistro Lilly is located on the street level of Observatory Tower (the big green residential tower) on Kent St. Fortunately there was street parking available but it only allowed you to park there in two hour blocks. The entrance to Bistro Lilly is quaint with low hanging trees, dim lighting and the some tables in the courtyard. The interior is wooden floorboards and minimalist decor. The staff were welcoming, if not a little awkward in their approach.

We were provided with menus but only one copy of the chef's special menu for $39. As we all poured over this menu and ignored the a la carte menus, our waiter poured the bottle of mineral water into three out of four glasses. We had to ask for more copies of the chef's special menu and another bottle of mineral water - surely the staff should be on top of these things?

I ordered the hot smoked denver leg (venison) with chipote avocado salsa for entree and the braised lamb shank with pumpkin/ potato mash and sweetbread spring roll. My dinner buddies ordered the tempura soft shell crab with ginger soba noodles and hand made tagliolini with thai chicken curry.

As we enjoyed our entrees the staff began shuffling the tables around in the restaurant - not subtly but noisily scraping the floorboards. Our handbags, jackets etc were located on a spare table next to us and despite the restaurant being only half full the waiter bought the next guests to this table. As guests paid and left the restaurant, tables were not cleared immediately, so we sat next to dirty plates for most of the evening. When the waiter did clear one table he dropped some cutlery which remained on the floor for the duration of our stay. It's the little things like this that add to the experience of dining at Bistro Lilly.

The food was delivered quickly. The entrees were beautiful - my venison was rare and the combination with the avocado salsa was light and refreshing. The lamb shank was delicious and the meat fell away from the bone. My dinner buddies all agreed that the tempura soft shell crab was great but the let down was the handmade tagliolini teamed with thai chicken curry - it seemed an odd match and it was.

We decided to view the dessert menu and three of us succumbed to the ginger cheescake with hazelnut gelato and wild berry couli. It was very decadent and worth every cent.

The total bill came to $50 pp which was sensational value for three courses and a glass of wine.

Bistro Lilly - Shop 6/ 168 Kent Street, Sydney - (02) 9252 1116


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