Note that for the following review, LL Wine & Dine was aware that I was reviewing at the time.
Llankelly Place, Potts Point is just off of the main Darlinghurst Road strip of Kings Cross and it is quickly making a name for itself as a food destination no matter which of the three meal times you are interested in. Cafés, restaurants and bars abound so no matter what your preference, you’ll find it here.
LL Wine and Dine operates as a bustling, funky bar in the evenings with food of Asian influence. Recently though, they have started $30 unlimited dumpling yum cha on Sundays running from 11AM-4PM. So if you enjoy dim sum, morning cocktails, unlimited food or any combination of the three, you are most certainly in luck! That offer is exactly what I went in to experience.
I arrived with a large group at opening time and we were the only customers for about 45 minutes. This was a great chance to take the tour of the premises (more details later) and enjoy some cocktails in a relaxed and very friendly atmosphere. The crowds only start to build from about midday so if you’re ‘early’ then you can get away without booking and enjoy a peaceful morning.
From the moment we sat down until the moment we left, staff were always on hand with whatever we needed. Dumplings and other dishes made their way to the table in pairs of plates every five to ten minutes. And they kept coming… and coming… and coming! Yes, it’s all you can eat so this should be expected but it was mind blowing how much food we ate during our visit! At any time, you can slow the service down so that you have time to relax and enjoy a drink and some company.
Shortly after opening (as well as in the evenings), you can expect band performances (including a band member on a harp of all things)! If they’re not performing, there will be acid jazz or other beats playing in the background. Seating and lighting was very comfortable both inside and out and the ambient lighting suits the theme to a tee.
Many of my guests had been to LLWD in the evenings when it operates primarily as a bar. For this reason, they knew that we could expect outstanding cocktails… and that’s exactly what we received. With a vast wine, beer, sake and cocktail menu, you definitely will not struggle for choice when it comes to alchoholic beverages. Some cocktails are also available in jugs ($25).
The bloody Mary ($10 Sunday, $16 at other times) was a great rendition, perhaps a touch on the cautious side with the tobasco but overall excellent. The ginger and lychee martini ($10 Sunday, $16 at other times) was a hit (as everything with lychee should be, according to me)!
It wouldn’t be yum cha without green tea and our pot was instantly replaced as soon as we were low. They say it helps with digestion so you’ll definitely need a few servings of this!
There are a lot of dishes to sample at LLWD so we just started at the top and made our way through the list as they came out of the kitchen! A great light way to start was the edamame (normally $6) as well as a side of roasted peanuts (normally $5). The edamame were fresh & crispy and the peanuts salted with a hit of chilli. The chicken spring rolls (normally $8.50 for 4) were super crispy and served with accompanying sweet chilli sauce. We were also served the vegetable spring rolls (normally $8 for 4).
The chive, prawn and pork dumplings (normally $9 for 4) were an excellent place to start our dumpling extravaganza and a good example of the standard of quality of the dishes as LLWD. The dumplings themselves were steamed perfectly with a glistening exterior that wasn’t too thick and they had plenty of filling.
Everyone had their favourite of the morning and the gow gee prawn dumplings (normally $9.50 for 4) was the top dish for many. The minced prawn filling was hard to beat!
On the vegetarian side of things, the vegetable dumplings (normally $8.50 for 4) are filled with baby bok choy, bean curd and seasoning. The prawn, mushroom & pork dumplings (normally $9 for 6) were close to the top of my list as they managed to pack in the most flavour. The dumpling wrapper was thicker and had a great soft consistency.
The ubiquitous and delicious BBQ pork buns (normally $7.50 for 2) of course made an appearance and disappeared in a flash. The gai lan (normally $8) (Chinese broccoli) is steamed and served with a vegetarian oyster mushroom sauce. This dish represented a nice break from dumpling overload!
The pork spare ribs (normally $8.50) were served in a rich black bean sauce and fell of the bone as soon as we touched them with our chopsticks. They were still quite fiddly though due to their size and due to the yield of meat per rib, I recommend that you order a few servings if you have a larger table. The spicy wok fried kong bau chicken offered up glistening pieces of succulent, saucy chicken with a great combination of sweet and heat.
The wok fried rice (normally $15) is a fairly basic fried rice which combined well with most of the other dishes (and some soy sauce for good measure). The rice is packed with BBQ pork, egg, garlic and shallots The white bait was crispy and well seasoned with a thin and light batter. It was covered with a great blend of chilli, lemongrass, coriander & Thai basil and actually managed to change the opinion of some who don’t normally enjoy it.
The Xiao long boa Shanghai dumplings contain pork in the centre surrounded by a very flavoursome broth. They are certainly one of the best dumplings on the menu. Towards the end of the menu, you’ll find the kumera wedges which are topped with plum salt and a Shiso plum dipping sauce. These made for an unusual but welcome sweeter dish that we continued to snack on amid more tea and cocktails!
For those interested in some of the history of Kings Cross and its characters, ask the staff about the tour. If they’re not too busy, you will be guided around the premises of LLWD and discover a few dangerous, cheeky and kinky facts about the innocent looking rooms that now play host to dumplings and cocktails! I don’t want to give anything away so be sure to drop in and be surprised by what you discover.
For the price, it certainly is very hard to beat LL Wine & Dine for a yum cha experience. The surroundings are fresh and modern while still taking cues from the food’s heritage and you will appreciate the quality dim sum with wicked live tunes and a flaring bartender in the background!
Overall Rating: 20/25
Website: http://www.llwineanddine.com.au/ and https://www.facebook.com/LLWineandDine
Phone: 9356 8393
Address: 42 Llankelly Place, Potts Point, 2011
Payment Options: Credit cards, EFTPOS, cash
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