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Published June 22nd 2021
Lilymu’s Wild New Menu Celebrating Truffle Season
"We do not just cook food. We work tirelessly to create an experience that encapsulates the dynamism and influences that China and Southeast Asian countries have to offer. Our passion for this cuisine demands that we make everything in house, utilising fresh and ethically sourced ingredients cooked over coals and in searing hot woks, ensuring essential core flavours are achieved. All the premium meats featured on our menu are certified halal". Quoted by executive chef Brendan Fong.
Parramatta is home to an abundance of eateries and recently a re-imagined modern Asian restaurant joined the eatery district, Lilymu. Located in the new Parramatta Square, Lilymu serves up contemporary takes on Chinese and Southeast Asian dishes with the help of ex-Mr Wong chef Brendan Fong.
This new eatery is owned and run by Ibby Moubadder and Jorge Farah of Nour and Henrietta fame.
Upon arrival, we were intrigued by the setting. The restaurant is outdoors, however, it is fully covered with a glass ceiling and features two solid walls with the other walls exposed to the "Square".
Our waitress for the evening was Nora. She went above and beyond her way to make our dining experience like no other. She explained the menu extensively, was attentive throughout the evening, yet still gave us our privacy, and was extremely helpful. She had no knowledge we were invited/reviewing the venue, which made the service second to none.
This indoor/outdoor open space features around 160 seats, including communal dining and private tables. The interior is decked out with concrete and dark timbers contrasted with delicate soft lighting, an impressive waterlily wall mural and greenery.
The high ceilings and concrete did add a slightly industrial feel, however, the setting was intimate and cosy, with hints of elegance and sophistication. On our visit, the restaurant was quite busy and bustling with life, which was wonderful to see after the hospitality industry's hit due to COVID-19.
The menu featured dishes from across China and Southeast Asia, with most dishes inspired from Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Korea. Expect modern influences from tom yum prawn dumplings to duck katsu and black garlic me goreng, finished with a raw egg yolk.
The menu changes from time to time, and this June, the menu featured the Truffle Menu, a menu dedicated to the earthy, nutty black truffles.
There is also an extensive beverage menu with a full serviced bar onsite featuring an impressive selection of cocktails, mocktails, comprehensive range of Australian wines, beers and spirits. There is also a tea menu.
The menu is designed to share six dishes across the menu for two people. There are also two Banquet Menus to choose from (minimum four people)
The Truffle Menu is not just a celebration of the truffle but a perfect culinary showcase of flavour profiles as well as adding a little luxury to your dining experience.
The experimentation of flavour, textures of the delicate mushroomy, earthy, and nuttiness from the black truffles combined with the balance of sweet and savoury Southeast Asia ingredients/flavours transformed the palate into an explosion of piquancy.
We started our meal with the Yellowfin Tuna, thousand layered taro, organic soy, black truffle. Nora (our waitress) explained the preparation/cooking process of the taro, which was interesting, the detail and attention that went into the humble taro.
This tiny "bite-size" entree might be small but it certainly did pack a punch with flavours and textures. The taro was crispy, which complemented the delicate raw Yellowfin Tuna and black truffle.
The Yellowfin Tuna, thousand layered taro, organic soy, black truffle
The third Truffle dish was the Braised shitake, white garlic chive and black truffle fried rice.
The richness and distinctive taste of the shitake mushrooms and truffles combined with the powerful ingredient of garlic chive set the taste buds into a frenzy of intense Asian flavours. Every bite was a power punch of fresh earthy ingredients and, surprisingly, was not overbearing.
The Braised shitake, white garlic chive and black truffle fried rice
The final Truffle dish was the Black Truffle Ice Cream Monaka. Monaka is the Japanese word for the shape of a shell.
The "shell" shape was used as an outer case for this dessert ice cream sandwich. The Monaka was filled with a creamy mascarpone and vanilla parfait combined with black truffle crème diplomat. It was the perfect balance between savoury and sweet and a showstopper of a dessert!
The subtle mascarpone mixed with the black truffle crème diplomat created an interesting flavoursome taste. The flavours delicately danced on the palate in unison, followed by the textural effect from the brown rice "shell" casing.
There were hints of nuttiness from both the casing and truffle combined with a silky smoothness from the mascarpone and crème diplomat.
Overall, the Truffle Menu was exquisite; the lashings of truffle across all four dishes made the dining experience indulgent and got the taste buds tingling. There was a symphony of flavours that all worked in harmony to complement one another, creating the ultimate dining experience.
We tried additional food items (some food items were at our own expense): Tom yum prawn dumplings, soy, and lime dressing ($27).
Charcoal Wagyu beef skewer, tamarind, herbs ($11 each)
Chiang Mai chicken curry, baby king brown mushrooms, okra ($30)
Steamed fish fillet, salted radish and chilli, organic soy ($38)
Young Coconut and pineapple sorbet, sago, pandan, lychee granita ($19)
Our drinks included Tuk Tuk Spiced Margarita, Espolon Blanco, Chilli Aperol, Yuzushu, Passionfruit ($22) and Peace & Quiet Tea, Chamomile, rose and lavender, flavours of honey, nectar and floral ($6)
The Tom Yum Prawn Dumplings was a playful interpretation of Thailand's traditional hot and sour Tom Yum mixed with Chinese prawn wonton.
This perfect marriage of flavours and textures ignited the taste buds and caused them to beg for more. The blush-pink plump prawn dumplings were pillowy and served with a mouth-watering zingy and zesty Thai-style tom yum dressing with lashings of lemongrass, kaffir lime and sawtooth coriander and were cut through with a touch of chilli.
If this dish were a theatrical performance, it would have been a standing ovation!
The delicate wonton was cooked al dente. The burst of flavours from the aromatics drizzled with the tom yum dressing caused an unexpected explosion of exotic flavours that lingered on the palate after each bite.
To date, these dumplings were the best dumplings I have tasted in Australia!
The Charcoal Wagyu beef skewer, tamarind, and herbs take on the traditional Thai dish called "Moo Ping", which traditionally features pork. In this case, the dish contained 12-hour slow-cooked wagyu beef ox tongue with lashings of tamarind dressings and herbs, and it was addictive!
The Charcoal Wagyu beef skewer, tamarind, and herbs
Chiang Mai chicken curry, baby king brown mushrooms, okra was our next dish from northern Thailand.
The Lilymu take on this curry was heavenly and warmed our bellies up! With the vibrant colour from the curry, we knew we would be in for a treat! The aromatic notes combined with the creamy smoothness of the broth with the perfectly cooked chicken thighs were a perfect marriage of flavours and textures. Steamed fish fillet, salted radish and chilli, organic soy was our final savoury dish for the evening.
The Chiang Mai chicken curry, baby king brown mushrooms, okra
The Steamed fish fillet accompanied with pickled mustard greens and organic soy transformed a simple, humble fish dish into a flavour fest of Asian aromatics and soft melting textures from the fish fillet.
The Steamed fish fillet accompanied with pickled mustard greens and organic soy
We ended our evening with an unexpected dessert; Young Coconut and pineapple sorbet, sago, pandan, lychee granita. This playfully mischievously dessert was not just amazing to look at - it was incredibly delicious!
The Young Coconut and pineapple sorbet, sago, pandan, lychee granita
As you dig into the coconut panda, lychee granita is discovered, and combined with the fruity coconut and pineapple sorbet, this dessert did not just cleanse the palate, it took our taste buds to reminiscent times of spending our summers on the South Pacific Islands.
The Tuk Tuk Spiced Margarita, Espolon Blanco, Chilli, Aperol, Yuzushu, Passionfruit, was spicy, salty and seductive! The addition of chilli in the ice was just creative but genius.
The mixture of Espolon Blanco (tequila) and the bitter flavours of rhubarb and cinchona from the Aperol combined with the fresh citrus aromas from the Yuzushu mixed with the sweet-tartness of passionfruit surprisingly worked well together.
The sweetness was cut through with the notes from the chilli offering a balanced and refreshing cocktail.
The Peace & Quiet Tea featured chamomile, rose and lavender, honey, nectar, and floral flavours. The tea was delicate, and light and notes of rose and lavender were prominent. There was a slight sweetness, with hints of floral aromas.
Highly recommend this tea as it was not overpowering and was fitting with all the dishes we had.
Overall, our experience was exceptional, from the fantastic service to the superb dishes; it is easy to see how this new dining venue has quickly gained popularity with the locals and visitors alike.