Take a stroll through the streets of Darlinghurst and it seems there is always something quirky and interesting to be seen. New graffiti on walls, someone’s ‘trash’, another’s treasure littering the streets or the occasional homeless person straying from Kings Cross. Locals would have to admit it’s rare to find a dull route.
That said, few would plan an excursion purely for the everyday idiosyncrasies of a piece of road. That’s why we have strips like Victoria Street, which has plenty of reasons to visit. Popular restaurants offering Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Thai, great bars, a bakery and now our very own Li’l Darlin. Having recently joined the food lovers haven in place of former Italian restaurant Omerta, Li’l Darlin
brings a sophisticated yet casual, affordable offering to the area.
Heading in to summer snag a table on the street for a people watching session or at the tall tables near the large open windows for cocktails with friends. You’ll find ivy leaves hanging from the roof and hummingbirds lining the walls while chilled, upbeat tunes subtly play in the background.
The menu focuses on pizzas and tapas ideal for sharing. We start with Manzanillo olives
marinated in an orange spice mix served with char grilled Ciabatta. There is a slushy cocktail machine behind the bar with two flavours on offer, lychee or berry. Seasoned bartenders may be squirming in their chair but they’re refreshingly fun and there are no drinks snobs amongst our group of Secret Foodies tonight. For those not embracing frozen concoctions there’s a wine list offering tipples for most peoples budget and taste.
Three different tapas are placed on the long marble bench tables for sharing. Grilled chilli prawns
in a tomato sauce, Spanish style meatballs
in tomato sauce finished with fresh herbs and manchego cheese and salt and Pepper calamari
served with a trio of Nam jim, Chilli sauce and Chipoltee Mayo. There’s nothing too fancy about this food, just simple, fresh ingredients cooked well.
Head Chef Gerard d’Ombrille is dietary requirement friendly and a crowd pleaser amongst Secret Foodies guests. Vegetarian dishes include tempura zucchini flowers
stuffed with goats cheese, lemon and chive mousse served with salsa Verde. For a small snack the crispy kipfler potatoes with rosemary salt and chipoltee mayo is always a solid drink accompaniment.
Then there is the tapas style pizza menu. When I first saw crispy Peking duck pizza
on the menu I cringed. Duck pancakes yes, Peking duck pizza…I wasn’t convinced. I take a bite then chew my words. It’s actually really good. It is in fact my favourite pizza at Li’l Darlin. The grilled Chilli prawn pizza with marinated chilli prawns with roasted capsicum, Roma tomato and salsa verde is also worthy of a try.
Just make sure you leave room for dessert and share the homemade chocolate brownie swirls
The last thing Victoria Street needs is a fine dining restaurant. Instead, Li’l Darlin offers a fun and relaxed bar that happens to offer really good, affordable food. Be sure to take a detour to the left or right from whichever way you’re strolling next time you’re in the area, you’re sure to enjoy Darlo’s brand new Li’l Darlin.
235 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
02 8094 6100