If a sophisticated, intimate night out filled with delicious, flavoursome food and top service is what you’re after then, Lilotang is the place for you.
As soon as I heard about the opening of Lilotang knew it was going to be up there with some of Canberra’s best restaurants. But after spending two months overseas last year and a year filled with interstate travel, lots of working and a super busy year I still hadn’t made it there.
But this year Mr Eat Canberra took me to the Japanese fine-dining restaurant for my birthday and I’m pleased to say it was definitely worth the wait….
Located in the upmarket Barton area at the Burbury Hotel Apartments, Lilotang has a simplistic, modern and sophisticated design. The restaurant is reasonably quiet which was really nice. This combined with the lighting and layout creates an intimate vibe.
The food is fresh, flavoursome and moreish. With simple flavours but robust flavours and beautifully plated and visually appealing dishes.
The service was spot on and the floor staff were attentive and full of knowledge about the dishes and Japanese cuisine. We’re heading to Japan in May so we had lots of questions to ask and they were answered in detail. We were even offered some recommendations from the chef for restaurants in Japan.
We were seated promptly and our menus were placed in front of us. It didn’t take us long to decide on the Tasting Menu that included 8 different dishes for $85. In my opinion this is quite cheap for a special occasion. The dishes were perfectly timed and we were wowed by each one.
To start we were given a bowl of delicious seasoned edamame. They were a light snack to start while we started on our first drink and waited for the first dish to appear. It didn’t take long for the delicious oysters with lime and ponzu to arrive. They were absolutely divine! So fresh and light, I could have eaten a dozen of these.
Next up was the king fish sashimi with moro miso, shallot, ginger, soy and sesame oil. One word – YUM! I love sashimi and this king fish was to die for. The fresh pieces of fish were complimented with a beautifully balanced combination of flavours.
Slow cooked pork belly with walnut miso and sweet soy followed the sashimi. This pork melted in my mouth and the size of the pieces were perfect. The sauce was sweet and rich and the crunch of the walnuts added texture to the dish.
The next dish was the chargrilled cabbage with anchovy, garlic and semi dried tomatoes. I wasn’t sure about this dish when it arrived but it all worked and was a light, crisp dish that was actually quite delicious.
I love the look of the lamb backstrap with wasabi vinagarette, eggplant and potato. The vibrant green was absolutely stunning and the dish was so yummy. Another beautifully balanced and visually appealing dish full of fresh flavours.
This one was one of my favourites of the night, although I loved them all if you say duck then you’ve got my attention. The duck breast sukiyaki with shitake mushrooms and tempura eggs was amazing. The broth was rich and full of flavor. The egg was perfectly cooked and the yolk added creaminess to the dish. The duck was cooked beautifully and the addition of shitake mushrooms completed the dish.
The savoury component of the meal was finished with kaki-age tempura rice which was served with the duck. I love tempura and the tempura vegetables were finely sliced and crispy. A nice way to finish the meal.
We finished the meal with sticky mocha tufu, green tea ice cream and brown sugar syrup. I love green tea! It’s earthy, natural flavour has won my heart and it worked so well with the soft tofu and the brown sugar syrup. The syrup definitely brought the dish together and gave it the sweetness that it needed. It was a great way to finish our meal. It was light and subtle, just the thing you want after eating pork belly, duck and lamb.
We were given a glass of complimentary plum wine to finish our meal. It’s a sweet, slightly thick alcoholic beverage that is very popular in Japan. We had our served on ice and it was quite refreshing. I also tried a shoshu sour cocktail. The combination of Japanese shoshu, egg white, yuzu juice and sugar was refreshing and easy to drink. We didn’t try the sake but that’s just another reason to return!
I have only good things to say about Lilotang. It was one of the best night I’ve had at a restaurant in quite some time. I’ve put this down to the combination of décor, atmostphere, food, service, location and my burning desire to eat at th beautiful Japanese restaurant. I left Lilotang feeling so happy and satisfied. I can’t wait to return and to try Japanese food when we visit Japan in May.
Have you been to Lilotang? What was your favourite dish?
Have you been to Japan? Do you have any foodie recommendations?