The new kid on the block is a great new pizza and tapas style wine bar named Li'l Darlin. It is the second Li'l Darlin venue to open, and follows the footsteps of its successful sister restaurant in Victoria Street in Potts Point.
Small, sweet and ambient, this wine bar is a wonderful and welcome addition to Perouse Road, Randwick, and adds some healthy competition to nearby tapas bars the Spanish Fly and El Bulli.
The venue mimics its name, and is a nicely decorated small bar with a charming interior of cascading vines, fairy lights and comfortable booths. It does remind me a little of The Winery in terms of its style, which I am a fan of.
The bar restaurant spills out onto the street like most of its counterparts, and we arrive in time for some late afternoon sun, and place ourselves at the last table of the pedestrian-friendly outdoor seating to warm up and people watch.
Li'l Darlin brings plenty to the table, with a good menu of tapas style share plates, gourmet pizzas, and a large cocktail and wine list.
The share style plates include lightly fried salt and pepper calamari, chicken liver parfait, roast field mushrooms stuffed with goats curd, grilled chilli prawns, and crispy chilli chicken drummers, but it is the long gourmet pizza list which is where the menu triumphs.
The pizza list has a selection of thin and crispy pizzas with topping varieties to include: Peking Duck, Mexican Nacho, Mushroom with Pancetta, Pancetta and Gorgonzola, and Grilled Chorizo and Buffalo Mozzarella to name a few. Pizzas are also well priced from $9.90 - $11.90, which is nice especially in a city where gourmet pizzas are typically very expensive.
Me and my counterpart order a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio, and then begin to order some dishes from both the tapas and pizza menus.
It's not long before the food arrives at our table, and we begin our feast with the Chorizo and Cheese Baked Quesadillas, and the Grilled Field Mushrooms stuffed with Goat's Curd. Both are delicious and cooked to perfection.
After polishing these off, we eagerly anticipated the arrival of the gourmet pizzas, which are first rate. They arrive on mini chopping boards and are pre-sliced into eight pieces.
Low and behold, the Crispy Peking Duck Pizza is superb and well put together. Sweet strips of Peking Duck dipped in Hoisin Sauce are scattered over the freshness of the shallots, cucumbers and coriander.
The grilled Pancetta, Goats Curd and Caramelised Onion Pizza is also pure genius. The saltiness of the Pancetta combines well with the creaminess of the goats curd and sweetness of the onion, making the pizza suitably delicious, as I suspected.
The portions are fair and while the menu is designed to share, I could selfishly eat some of the dishes on my own because they are so tasty.
If that doesn't grab you, they also have a selection of special deals throughout the week, including pizzas from 5-6pm which are $4.50, and $10 cocktails from 9pm on Thursdays to Sundays.
Li'l Darling has a well earned reputation and I can see why, as it ticks all the right boxes. They have the perfect combination of food, drinks, service and atmosphere, and won't leave you with a ridiculous bill.
You will love it if you are looking for a cheeky spot to eat or drink before going out, or even a pre or post cinema bite.
Tip, if you are ordering a few dishes, keep in mind that the tables are quite small so it's a good idea to order progressively, but if you are a fast eater then you should be fine!