I never would have imagined myself to be dining at a place where it used to be an illegal gambling den and adult bookshop...but hey things happen! I was recently invited to try out LL Wine & Dine at Potts Points, a super eclectic and funky Modern Asian eatery near where I work, up the lane way of Llankelly Place. A close walk from King's Cross Station, LL Wine & Dine is perfect for fun casual dinners that involves killer cocktails and delicious Asian food with a twist.
The bold black and red interiors make LL Wine & Dine hard to miss.
The restaurant space is larger than it seems, especially after given a tour of the back area.
The Modern Asian menu has been designed by Head Chef Jin Kung and all the dishes are designed to be shared. There's even a Yum Cha menu! How cool is that?
In the 1960s, the venue operated as an illegal casino and also served as an adult bookshop. See the walls to your left? They're plastered with the vintage porn that was found stocked in the secret room upstairs.
Towards the back there's even a function area separated into two sections - this used to be a stronghold steel room amongst other interesting things...the history is amazing!
LL Wine & Dine offers a great cocktail menu that will cater to all, designed to compliment the dishes on the menu. As M was driving that night, the staff kindly took out the vodka from the CHEE CHEE Mule ($16) which turned out to be equally delicious without the alcohol. Built with lychees, limes and a dash of cinnamon (normally shaken with vodka) and dumped and topped with ginger bee, this was one delicious mocktail, perfect for warm summer evenings.
My Limoncello Saketini ($18) had a nice balance of sweet, sour and bitter with Yuzu sake, vodka & Campari shaken with fresh lemon and a burnt orange twist. It was a bit too strong for me but definitely very refreshing also.
We had an exciting start with some scrumptious san choy baus. The LL Chicken San Choy Bau ($11 for 2) was topped with a spicy lime dressing in addition to pine nuts and special croutons. It had strong Thai flavours and was well seasoned with an added crunch from the pine nuts.
My favourite was definitely the Roasted Duck San Choy Bau ($11 for 2) which came with cucumber, plum and orange sauce, shallot and sesame. There was a generous serving of duck and it was so tender and juicy, the flavours were bursting everywhere. Yes it does get messy, but for all the right reasons :)
Next up was M's favourite of the night! The Calamari ($15) tossed with LL chilli salt and served with a preserved lemon & gherkin dipping sauce was quite possibly one of the best ones we've ever had. Smooth and tender on the inside with just the right amount of crunch on the outside, the calamari's were super flavoursome with a hint of chilli. Dip into the sauce for extra flavour but honestly they were fantastic by itself.
The Pork Belly Bun ($6.50 Each) was cooked in traditional Hakka Granny's way served with crushed peanuts, coriander and chilli sauce. The hero was definitely the chilli sauce (the same type used in Yum Cha) as it really brought out the flavours from the succulent pork belly. The bun was a tad thick but it was ultra soft and gooey, allowing each bite to gloriously dissolve within the mouth in deliciousness. So good!
By this stage we were quite full already but we couldn't resist the mains - no we really couldn't. The Massaman Beef Curry ($26) with potato, carrot and broccoli, finished with crushed peanuts and fresh herbs is a signature dish at LL and we can see why. The curry was very tasty and the beef pieces were like brisket, cooked perfectly to produce a nice tender bite. The fried rice also deserves a special mention - tossed with eggs, shallots and pork cha siew, it was absolutely delicious.
Overall both M and I really enjoyed LL Wine & Dine - the ambience is nice and eclectic and we love the rich albeit, slightly colourful history it has. It's turning 4 this year!
The food was really interesting and you can tell that it has been influenced by the distinctive flavours of South East Asia - with a modern twist of course. It's a great place to chill with friends for a quick cocktail and some delicious food (the calamari is a must-have!). Staff were also very friendly and the service is great!
LL Wine & Dine
42 Llankelly Place
Potts Point NSW 2011
02 9356 8393
Labels: Asian, Fusion