It was only by chance that I found out that Lilotang even existed when I was browsing through my Instagram and Mount Majura Vineyard said that they were dropping off some of their TSG. Not long after, I found some friends to go with on opening night to see what they had to offer.2015/01/img_8658.jpgThey have a detailed drinks list with an extensive range of sake, but I felt that this was wasted on us because none of us were drinking.2015/01/img_8666.jpgWe were being lead to our table, I love the funky decor of this place. The large mobile panels reminds me of Lanterne rooms.

2015/01/img_8661.jpgThe table is set with all the utensils that you need to eat dinner.2015/01/img_8662.jpgSmall~ small plates to share2015/01/img_8676.jpg

Chargrilled cold eggplant with creamy sesame sauce ($12.50). This was a punch in the face. This dish has very bold pungent flavours of chargrilled-ness (am I making up words now?) and sesame. I found the chargrilled flavours to be too harsh and my friend described it perfectly when he said it was like he had just eaten a cigarette. Even though the flavours didn’t seem so strong after my second piece, I won’t be ordering this again.2015/01/img_8677.jpgRoast Umami vegetables with orange miso in orange pot ($11.50). I must admit I ordered this mainly based on looks but thankfully it was also really nice. A little orange is hollowed out to house uniformly cut vegetables which have a delicate miso flavour to them.2015/01/img_8682.jpg

2015/01/img_8683.jpgSauteed Edamame with shichimi salt ($8.00). This is the quintessential Japanese dish to have while drinking or as an addictive snack. I really liked these and the shichimi salt took it to another level; the chilli heat slowly builds but you cannot stop yourself from eating more.2015/01/img_8680.jpgChicken Namban-zuke with spicy tartar ($16.50). Not many people were a fan of cold chicken and it might seem like an odd description but when smothered into the creamy sauce, this dish reminded me of a potato and egg salad. That might not sound typically Asian or what you’re into but I really liked it, although it is a small bowl for that price.2015/01/img_8687.jpgThere were more patrons hidden behind the walls, the place was filling up and the pace of the food became slower because of it.2015/01/img_8690.jpgRobata~ Everything comes in pairs

Seeing how the yakitoris measure up against each other. There was a clear winner.2015/01/img_8704.jpg

Chicken thigh, inherited homemade yakitori sauce ($11.00). Your typical ‘meat on a stick’ from Japan, it was the more traditional tasting one out of them all.2015/01/img_8696-0.jpgChicken meat ball, creamy egg ($13.50). We were instructed to break the egg and use it to dip the chicken meatball. This dish has lots of yummy savoury flavours and I really enjoyed the onion chunks which gave the chicken meat ball more texture.2015/01/img_8700.jpgDipping my chicken meat ball pieces into the lovely molten egg.2015/01/img_8705.jpgPork belly, yuzu kosho miso ($9.50). I didn’t like the taste of the yuzu kosho miso by itself, you could taste the citrus flavours and something else that we couldn’t describe but when eaten all together it works well, although it was probably my least favourite yakitori comparatively.2015/01/img_8697.jpgWagyu sirloin, wasabi soy ($16.50). We  all saved this one for last on our plates. The Wagyu was ridiculously tender and the wasabi was subtle; the paired flavours work really well together. Despite the price, I was ready to order another serve.2015/01/img_8698.jpgSweet corn ($8.50). There was a fair wait before our corn arrived which is unusual because it just looked and tasted like char grilled corn, not exciting at all, I wouldn’t bother (I really gotta stop ordering corn from restaurants).2015/01/img_8706.jpgMains~ meant for sharing

BBQ Wagyu Okonomiyaki Japanese style savoury pancake ($29.00). This dish contains no octopus but a small amount of prawns just a FYI for people with allergies. For all those who can eat this must do so immediately.

I love how they have added a lot of red cabbage which almost gave it the same texture (and almost the same colour) as octopus. The more filling of the dishes and it is topped with all the yummy sweet sauce, mayonnaise and dried fish flakes. The BBQ Wagyu pieces gave it a big surge of saltiness but there really wasn’t that many pieces to go around.2015/01/img_8718.jpgChargrilled Wagyu sirloin marinated in Japanese Herb miso ($48.00). I ran into some other friends who were at another table and they loved this dish so much that they ordered two more serves immediately, based on this I had high expectations of this dish before it arrived on our table. Watching my friends divide three pieces into four serves was interesting (yes only three pieces for that price), but it was only when I started to watch them cut so effortlessly with just a normal dinner knife did I start to comprehend why it was so expensive. This was a really good Wagyu sirloin! The meat was well marbled, it was tender and just lightly seasoned to not take anything away from its natural flavours. I know they encourage sharing the plates but I was tempted not to.2015/01/img_8725.jpg2015/01/img_8723.jpgOh my, so juicy! Check out that marbling.2015/01/img_8730-2.jpgPork spare rib, black pepper balsamic soy ($30.50). I could really taste a strong Chinese wine flavour to this pork and not much of a black pepper balsamic soy that they claimed to have. Nothing really interesting here just a plate of meat, although they did offer steamed rice if we wanted some. My friends on the other table ordered lamb and they really enjoyed that, maybe I’ll try that next time.2015/01/img_8728-2.jpgThere was a wooden motif throughout the restaurant which was carried on through to the bathrooms, btw mind your step!2015/01/img_8693.jpgDessert~ You would think with only two dessert items on the menu that we would have this covered, but I couldn’t convince anyone to have a dessert with me. It took so long to arrive that one of my friends couldn’t wait any longer and left. In the end we waited 30 minutes for a dessert that was cold and looked like it pre-prepared already.

Houji tea smooth pudding with sweet potato ($12.50). I didn’t know what to expect from this dessert because I wasn’t exactly sure what I ordered. What arrived was a cold individual ‘cup’ containing a very smooth pudding with a texture of a crème caramel. This is a very Asian dessert because of the green tea flavours as well as not being too sweet (or barely sweet at all really). At first it had a strong green tea taste but by the second or third mouthful, the flavours mellow out in your mouth. The sweet potato was very sweet and complimented the green tea flavours.2015/01/img_8731-1.jpg

2015/01/img_8735-1.jpg2015/01/img_8736-2.jpgThere were a few hiccups which is expected for the opening night but things ran seemingly smooth for most of the service. There were a few hit and misses between the dishes and between us there were mixed feelings about the restaurant. I personally thought there were enough ‘hits’ to warrant a return visit in the near future although it wouldn’t be cheap. At the end of the night it ended up being $70 pp without alcohol. That might sound expensive at first but I was reminded that we spent basically the same at Akiba. I left content borderline full but I did enjoy the amount of variety that we got to experience because of the structure of the menu.

I wouldn’t have associated some of these dishes to being Asian let alone Japanese but I would recommend you come here and try a variety of dishes.2015/01/img_8673.jpgCheck out FoodPornJournal’s Lilotang visit here, she ordered some different dishes but she too could not resist Wagyu and wasabi. 😉

Venue: Lilotang

Address1 Burbury Close Barton, ACT

Phone: (02) 62731424


Lilotang Japanese on Urbanspoon