Canberra is set to get a taste of Japan with the impending opening of LiloTang Japanese restaurant.
Located in the Realm Precinct in Barton, the restaurant is part of the Burbury Hotel and Apartments owned by the Doma Hotels group.
Step inside and you’re greeted with a mix of traditional and modern design with manga on a dividing screen and large decorative timber dividers that instantly turn the spacious venue into private rooms.
The timber lines continue in the ceiling and along a narrow service corridor where the eyes are drawn towards the kitchen.
Galley and Kitchen
Modern, minimalist yet inviting, the aesthetics offer a glimpse of the ethos that sets LiloTang apart.
LiloTang’s kitchen is headed by Japanese-born Head Chef, Shunsuke Ota (ex sous chef at Nobu Melbourne) who brings a mix of celebrated signature dishes along with inventions not previously experienced in Australia.
Chef Ota’s culinary background began at a young age working alongside his grandparents who were farmers which gave him an appreciation of the land and its produce.
The star of the kitchen is the Robata grill which uses Binchōtan charcoal – Japanese oak. The traditional Robata is fired at 450 degrees with the capability of reaching 700 degrees which gives the dishes at LiloTang a unique Japanese flavour which Chef Ota has learnt from his grandfather.
A well-stocked sake list (Junmai, Junmai Gingo and Junmai Daiginjo) sits alongside Umeshu plum wine, Shochu, andJapanese beer such as Koshihikari Rice Lager and Suntory Premium Malt’s Pilsner Beer. A solid selection of wines includes Grace Wines from Japan and there is a modest cocktail list and spirits that will soon include Japanese whiskies.
The menu is designed to be shared, starting with Small dishes, a selection of Salads, Mains and a choice of dishes cooked on the Robata.
Umami-jime Snapper Sashimi with White Peach and Heirloom Tomato
A harmony of flavours is experienced with the Umami-jime Snapper Sashimi with White Peach and Heirloom Tomato ($15.50). The snapper is cured with konbu and comes with sweet cubes of white peach, lightly picked tomatoes and greens dressed in a black soy dressing with a sour soy sauce and dashi that gives the dish a moreish umami flavour.
Chargrilled Cold Eggplant with Creamy Sesame Sauce
Next comes the Chargrilled Cold Eggplant with Creamy Sesame Sauce ($12.50). Do yourself a favour and order this dish for yourself. The combination of smoky eggplant and creaminess of the sesame sauce is a perfect match with the smoky flavours that linger long after the last bite.
Sashimi Tuna and Avocado with Wasabi Okra Soy
The classic combination of tuna and avocado is elevated by presenting the Sashimi Tuna and Avocado with Wasabi Okra Soy ($14.50) in the avocado half shell on a bed of grated daikon. The dish gets a lovely kick of spice from the wasabi along with the crispy texture of the sliced okra.
Roast Umami Vegetables with Orange Miso in Orange Pot
The scent of the Roast Umami Vegetables with Orange Miso in Orange Pot ($11.50) along with the presentation creates a wow factor at the table. Pumpkin, daikon and shiitake mushrooms are cooked individually in miso and the citrus notes of the serving vessel are highlighted. Use the orange top to squeeze a little juice into the vegetables if you wish.
Nagoya Style Quail Kara-age with Sweet Sansho Soy
The Nagoya Style Quail Kara-age with Sweet Sansho Soy ($18) is unlike most karaage dishes. The quail is soaked in milk overnight before it is coated with flour and potato starch, deep fried and served with the sweet Sancho soy and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The result is a tender and moist quail that easily comes apart with a fork.
Chargrilled Baby Octopus and Rocket with Karashi Su Miso
The Chargrilled Baby Octopus and Rocket with Karashi Su Miso ($14.50) is tender to the bite with a combination of spicy and sour flavours from the Karashi, or Japanese mustard.
Cauliflower with Walnut Dengaku Miso & Turnip with Sansho Salt
From the Robata, the Cauliflower with Walnut Dengaku Miso ($7.50) & Turnip with Sansho Salt ($8.50) tantalise the senses with aromas, flavours and textures.
Chicken Thigh with Inherited Homemade Yakitori Sauce
Made with Chef Ota’s family secret sauce, the Chicken Thigh with Inherited Homemade Yakitori Sauce ($11) is a combination of spicy and smoky flavours with a good measure of heat.
Pork Belly with Yuzu Kosho Miso
The Pork Belly with Yuzu Kosho Miso ($9.50) is moreish, with the morsels of pork belly melting in the mouth with an umami flavour.
Chicken Meat Ball with Creamy Egg
One of the top picks of the menu is the Chicken Meat Ball with Creamy Egg ($13.50). This chicken or the egg scenario lets you have the best of both worlds. Resembling the Lebanese Kibbeh, the minced chicken is complemented with onsen tamago egg, cooked a low temperature with coats the chicken with the delicious yolk.
Chargrilled Prawn with Shiso Amazu
The other highlight of the menu is the Chargrilled Prawn with Shiso Amazu ($33.50), a peppery Japanese herb and sweet vinegar emulsion. As large as scampi, with a sweet succulent flesh and spice, you may find yourself sucking the heads of these delectable prawns – when no one is looking.
Chargrilled Wagyu Sirloin Marinated in Japanese Herb Miso
The Chargrilled Wagyu Sirloin Marinated in Japanese Herb Miso ($48) completes the selection from the Robata and brings a delicious cut of meat, perfectly cooked to the right texture that enhances the favour of the beef.
Sticky Mochi-Mochi Tofu with Brown Syrup and Green Tea Ice Cream
To finish, the Sticky Mochi-Mochi Tofu with Brown Syrup and Green Tea Ice Cream ($12.50) is difficult to resist. The dessert balances the sweet and savoury elements very well,
Houji Tea Smooth Pudding with Sweet Potato
while the beautifully-presented Houji Tea Smooth Pudding with Sweet Potato ($12.50) challenges the palate at first but rewards with the smooth texture of the dessert with a hint of spice on the finish.
There’s so much to enjoy and appreciate at LiloTang. Chef Ota and the team bring well-crafted techniques, enticing flavours and textures to the table. Whether you are a resident of Canberra or a visitor, put LiloTang on your radar. The experience will be one that you will want to repeat.
LiloTang opens in Canberra on Thursday 15 January 2015.
Photography © by Kevin Burke & Corinne Mossati for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.
Gourmantic visited Canberra and attended the media preview of LiloTang as guests of Doma Hotels, Burbury Apartments and LiloTang.
The Burbury Hotel
Burbury Close, Barton ACT 2600
Ph (02) 6173 2700
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