One of Canberra’s most-experienced food critics and this paper’s longest-serving columnist, WENDY JOHNSON indulges herself with her top eating experiences for 2018
A BANQUET at Lilotang, Burbury Hotel, is a true treat. Set menus are a fab way to take an exciting journey through a style of cuisine. You just sit and enjoy.
Lilotang is part of the highly regarded Chairman Group, which includes Chairman and Yip, also at Burbury Hotel, Barton, and Lanterne Rooms, Campbell shops. And when in Hong Kong you can pay a visit to Chairman HK.
Lilotang specialises in contemporary Japanese cuisine. Its interior design and super-cool feel is contemporary, too, featuring funky artwork and polished-cement floors. The light-coloured pine sliding panels are on tracks and can be easily moved to configure different-sized spaces and semi-private dining sports. Smart design.
The banquet menu is amazing value (maximum six people, $65 each). We worshipped every dish (except for one) and the service in bringing out dishes at just the right time is a well-developed skill at Lilotang. The restaurant is also hugely accommodating with its set menus. One of our party doesn’t eat pork and Lilotang happily provided another option.
The tuna sashimi is to die for and so lovely with creamy avocado and wasabi soy. It sits beautifully in a crispy potato nest and hats off to Lilotang for the presentation of all food.
Next up was the poached ocean trout, another delectable dish. The grapefruit added lovely tang, the radicchio a lovely bitterness and the sweet pepper soy and wasabi mascarpone balanced all elements. If Lilotang does one thing well, it combines unusual flavours for a unique taste sensation.
How can one go past a superb slow-cooked pork belly? This version is served with a refreshing cucumber and Japanese mustard mayo. Delish. Equally delish and as tender as could be was the melt-in-the-mouth chargrilled Scotch fillet with herb miso, spicy dried plum and Japanese spices.
Our least favourite dish was the last cab off the rank. The soup-like vegetable sukiyaki with slow-cooked egg was slightly too sweet.
If you’re a sake fan (or expert), you’ll find premium brands on the menu. As with all Chairman operations, the wine list is a delight to read and makes choosing a challenge. The list is curated to marry well with the style of cuisine.
The only part of the experience I wasn’t comfortable with was the clanging in the kitchen towards the end of our meal. The kitchen staff cleaning cutlery and tossing it into containers of some kind did my head in a bit. And it wasn’t the type of behaviour we had experienced throughout the meal. No doubt the kitchen staff weren’t aware, but I sure was. Still, I’ll be back… just at another table.
Lilotang, Burbury Hotel, Barton. Call 6273 1424.