The other week I was going to go to Burgerman to have dinner as I heard that they had awesome burgers. But when I got there, I found out they had actually closed down and had a giant “For Lease” sign up on their door.
And so my friend and I walked further down the block and saw Li’l Darlin, a restaurant we had never seen before. Outside it was a friendly staff member who showed us the menu, told us it only opened in the last week of August and as an opening special they had $4.50 pizzas . SOLD!
Li’l Darling is a new trendy tapas bar. Inside is set out with a long communal table in the middle surrounded with bar/cafe tables and stools and is beautiful furnished. The place is dimly lit and pumps out chillout music – definitely a date environment to take someone special.
When seated, the waiter asked us how our day was and initiated some small talk. Not common but definitely welcome! Great service, tick.
The menu isn’t too expansive and contains pizzas and some tapas, all for sharing and no big hearty meals. They have an extensive drinks menu however with the cocktails board illuminated by a backlight which compliments all the table candles. We decided to order some pizzas and tapas to get us through the night.
Seared Scallops on a cauliflower puree with crispy pancetta and a lime, tomato brown-nut butter sauce – $11.90
The first dish that came out was the scallops. It was warm and I would have preferred it hot, but it was well cooked and very succulent. The puree underneath was very soft (reminded me of high quality mash) and had a subtle cauliflower flavour – delicious! The pancetta also added a nice texture but the dish was already so good without it.
Pizza: Grilled chorizo, buffalo Mozarella and a smoked Chermoula dressing – $9.90
Next came out the pizzas! The chorizo pizza was first and was presented on a small chopping board in a rectangular shape separated into eight pieces. The pizzas are divine! The base was thin and crispy along with generous toppings of chorizo and not overwhelmed with cheese. I have never had pesto before on a pizza but it matched the overall flavours surprisingly well.
Pizza: Crispy Peking Duck, Hoi sin, shallots, cucumber, coriander and an orange, star anise cinnamon glaze – $10.90
Then came the peking duck pizza. Prior to choosing this restaurant, the door girl said that this type was already a favourite amongst patrons, and I now know why. Along with the already very well made pizza base/crust, the toppings were generous with duck meat, crispy duck skin, cucumber, shallots and finished with hoisin sauce. It actually tasted like a peking duck pancake – the first peking duck pizza I’ve had which has even come close to the real thing! It was so good that we ordered a second one…mm…
Crispy kipfler potatoes with rosemary salt and chipotle mayo – $5.90
The last and final dish was potatoes similar to the classic Spanish patatas bravas. The potato was soft with a crispy exterior and well salted at the top (not so much for the bottom pieces). The mayo tasted like aioli which is a good taste, but I was disappointed to not be able to taste any chipotle.
Overall, a brilliant new culinary addition to the Darlinghurst/Kings Cross area! Although not the largest tapas menu, Li’l Darlin does them all to a high quality, with fantastic, friendly service and an intimate atmosphere. Combined with their $4.50 opening special which reduced our bill significantly, it is definitely somewhere I will come back to. Cannot wait to try the rest of their dishes!
PS. Wasn’t sure where to write this but their toilets are really awesome. They smell like fruit! Best toilet break ever!
235 Victoria St, Darlinghurst, NSW
Ph: (02) 8084 6100
Open Monday-Friday 5pm-late; Weekends 3pm-late
Opening special $4.50 pizzas Monday – Thursday nights