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Say Hello To Your New Li’l Darlin

By Vicki Heath on November 13, 2012 in Food

Photo: James Hutton

Li’l Darlin is a li’l fairytale of tapas, pizza and sophisticated beverages nestled in the quaint corner of Randwick known as The Spot. Destined to be a midsummer night’s dream, the trees outside are sprinkled with fairy lights for hazy al fresco dining.

The ambiance continues inside where things get a little sexy thanks to some clever mood lighting and an endless black leather bench seat that lines one mirror-clad wall. It’s all candles, hanging pot plants and rasping tendrils of ivy climbing wrought iron wall features, providing the ideal enclave to take advantage of the mean cocktail makers and shakers and the tasty share plates and gourmet pizzas. This is the sort of small bar slash restaurant that Sydney has been making noises about for a while but has been largely confined to the trendy inner city suburbs.

Li’l Darlin Randwick has been in operation for about six months now. It’s part of the Darling Group and one of three sister venues, with Li’l Darlins also doing their thing in Darlinghurst (where it all began) and Surry Hills.

The seasonal menu is designed to share. The salt and pepper calamari melts in the mouth and comes accompanied by the usual suspects, nahm jim and aioli. Grilled chilli prawns bathe in a sensationally spicy sauce, crispy chicken drummers provide a naughty dose of fried, and the ‘Li’l Cheeseburgers’ are, as you’d expect, delicious little cheeseburgers. There are daily specials and a plethora of oblong shaped pizzas too. The Peking duck pizza is a must try – who knew cucumber could taste so good with cheese? And if you’re still hungry, there’s chicken liver pate, quesadillas, a selection of salads and sides, and bigger share plates in the crowd-pleasing form of antipasto, dips and a delightful selection of local and international cheeses.

Sweet tooths will savour the oven-baked brownie swirls with chocolate sauce for dessert, but it’s a hard task choosing between those and the rhubarb and strawberry crumble with ice cream. I decided to have both!

With five-dollar Happy Li’l Hour beers and wines at 5pm, Li’l Darlin is the perfect stop for a snack or a sip before a movie at The Ritz. A cheeky tipple after your flick won’t hurt the budget either with $10 cocktails on offer from 9pm, Thursday through Sunday. Try the signature Fairy Floss Martini, a Li’l Zombie or a Li’l Old Fashioned.

Li’l Darlin has diners huddled over tables, having a laugh and munching from the same plates. The intimate and funky atmosphere and upbeat music combine to create the perfect meeting place. It’s what the suburbs of Sydney needs more of. So get yourself to The Spot, sidle on to the aforementioned long leather bench seat and say hello to your new Li’l Darlin.

Li’l Darlin Randwick

Address: The Spot, 51 Perouse Rd, Randwick
Phone: (02) 8021 2161
Open: Mon-Fri 5pm-11.30pm; Sat-Sun 12noon-11.30pm
Price: $5 – $23
Seats: 80
Cards: All Cards
Licensed/BYO: Licensed only