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Published September 22nd 2012
An enchanted city oasis
Li'l Darlin in Surry Hills is certainly attracting a throng of office workers in this enchanted oasis for leisurely lunches or kicking back at night with cool cocktails, tempting tapas and mood music after a hard days slog. Li'l Darlin is quickly becoming the 'in' place to go in buzzing downtown Surry Hills.
Li'l Darlin Surry Hills for a great time, any time.
Drawing on the success of their Darlinghurst and Randwick hip wine bars and eateries, Li'l Darlin has opened up at Surry Hills with their intoxicating wine and tapas menus to the delight of many patrons.
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Always on the look out for fun and interesting places to go, my friend and I hopped along one night to this 80 seater establishment. In the hope of finding new delights to excite our senses.
Flickering candles, fairy lights and hanging plants creates a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Located in a unique 3 story building on the corner of Elizabeth and Devonshire Streets, you can't help but notice the flickering candles and fairy lights enticing you to enter. A gorgeous arch covered in plants and tiny lights creates an inviting entrance. Hanging plants continue the theme throughout the room, setting you up for a relaxing time. Their lush decor has certainly raised the standards of this fast fashionable commercial district.
Sit by the large folded windows by yourself and watch the world go by, grab a small table with a friend or take over the large table in the centre for a mini party with co workers.
I love surprises, so I always like to order an establishment's signature dishes or drinks to see where their heart is centred. So, moseying up to the bar, I asked for two drinks and a meal and look what arrived!
Signature cocktail - a name after my own heart 'Fairy Floss' is so delicately pretty.
My cocktail in the making, Peter also makes a wicked sangria.
Their signature cocktail is a 'Fairy Floss Martini'. A sweet vodka based cocktail mixed with fresh cranberries and raspberry sorbet, with the ultimate of sweetness draped across and down the side; fairy floss. It's a fun cocktail to look at and wonderfully refreshing to sip.
Home made sangrias are refreshing to sip on a balmy evening.
A new addition to their drinks menu is a home made sangria concoction, created by an enthusiastic barman, Peter. Made from a good red wine, heady spices and fresh fruits, it's perfectly refreshing for those balmy summer evenings.
Chocolate brownie scrolls, drizzled with smooth Belgium chocolate. Mmmmm chocolate
My theory in life is 'Life is Uncertain, Eat Dessert First!' and that is exactly what we did. Arriving at our table, a platter of divine warm Chocolate Brownie Swirls. Little folded parcels of a dough type pasty, encasing a chocolate mix. Drizzled with creamy smooth Belgium chocolate and a side of ice cream.
The idea is to pop one in your mouth with some ice cream and the two temperatures mix and melt in your mouth. Hmmmmm. It would probably be good to share, although I did my best to finish them all myself.
Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble is a great new take on an oldie dessert.
My friend had the pot of Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble with ice cream. A new twist on an old vegetable dessert, strawberries compliment the tangy rhubarb beautifully.
After all our sweetness, we were up for something savoury. Two Tapas sized Pizzas arrived. Oh I can hear you, pizzas are pizzas, right? Wrong. Li'l Darlin's food director, George has taken the sometimes horrid and uninteresting pizza in a new direction with exotic and unlikely toppings.
Peking Duck with Hoi Sin Sauce Pizza - taking the humble pizza to new heights.
A rectangle shape pizza cut into 8 bite size squares - a great size to share. Crispy Peking Duck with Hoi Sin sauce, shallots, coriander, cucumber and a glaze of orange, star anise and cinnamon glaze was not something I expected, nor was the Smoked Trout with mascarpone, watercress, capers and creamy dill creme fraiche. We were oh so delighted with these light morsels full of wonderful flavours.
Smoked Trout and Dill Pizza.
Did they excite our taste buds? Most certainly. There are seven more exciting tapas pizzas I will need to try. You can also order them as gluten free bases.
I will let you in on their opening promotion, each night between 5-7pm they are only $5.50 each. Not sure how long it will last, so pop in soon before it finishes.
We rocked back the following day to check out more intriguing food from the lunch menu. The atmosphere had changed from a soft relaxing mood to a more lively feel. I guess people are more chatty with limited time.
Returning for lunch with a Vegetarian Burger!
This time, I ordered their Ultimate Vegetarian Burger @ $12. The spiced roasted vegetable pattie sat on a large bun, smeared with a divine herb aioli and topped with tomato relish and shaved parmesan. Served with a small pot of chips. A surprisingly light meal is great for vegetarians or someone who wants to try something different.
Tender, moist Lamb Salad makes a healthy lunch.
My friend ordered the Char-grilled Lamb Salad. Tender, moist marinated lamb backstrap fillets sat on top of a great green salad of cos lettuce, rocket, chick peas and crumbled feta cheese. Served with a creamy caesar sauce on the side, so you can put on as much or as little as you like. Even without the sauce, I found it very tasty @ $12.
Daytime brings a different mood to Li'l Darlin.
A $12 lunch in some really cool surrounds is a great bargain. The hard part was tearing yourself away to go back to work.
What I loved about this place, is it creates different moods at lunch and early evenings relaxing with friends and co workers or catching up with girlfriends.
I must say, I have not been there late at night, but I guess whatever time you go, it will be a great time for you.
Perfectly positioned building on the corner of Elizabeth and Devonshire Streets.