Il Lido, Darwin
Hmm well where do I start? Il Lido is a relatively new Italian restaurant in Darwin having only been open for a few months now. It has a funky feel to it with cool couches and bright red chairs to sit on and drink cocktails in the outside area. It’s located in a great spot, right down near Stokes Hill Wharf with views of the Darwin waterfront. I have walked past and perused the menu a few times so I thought it was only appropriate that I go there for dinner. Looking at the menu I noticed a few dishes that were strikingly similar to dishes on the menu at one of my fave Cairns restaurants Perotta’s At the Gallery (the Chilli Salt Squid Salad with Spiced Popcorn, the Warm Duck Salad and the Red Wine Braised Octopus with Watermelon Salad). These dishes are very similar if not almost the same as dishes at Perotta’s. On further research I found that Italian Chef Ivo Perrotta from Perotta’s At the Gallery is actually a Consultant Chef for Il Lido. Now this all makes sense. So I have heard mixed reports from people that have dined at Il Lido with some saying it was good and some saying that it was bad. Only one way to find out right?Il Lido is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it was quite busy for a Wednesday night with most of the outside tables occupied. The inside was quite bare with hardly anyone in there but on such a lovely night why would you want to sit inside? We had a few drinks at the Cocktail Bar next door first off. I had a Green Tea Mojito, which was very nice and then we moved to our table.
There was 9 of us dining this evening and as we sat down I noticed that the lighting was very dim and it was actually quite dark for the people sitting outside. We didn’t order entree’s and went straight for the mains. Three of the people at my table ordered the 250g Porcini Dry Rubbed Churchill Sirloin with Garlic Roast Potatoes, Balsamic Red Onions and Gorgonzola Butter (AU$34), all cooked medium rare. The waiter informed them that their Sirloin didn’t come with many veges and so asked if they would like a side of Spiced Broccolini (AU$8) to with their main. They consented to the Broccolini. RW ordered the Roasted Barramundi with Peperonata, Olives, Zucchini and Salsa Verde for $32. He also went with the Iceberg Wedges drizzled with Creamy Gorgonzola Dressing and Pinenuts (AU$8). Across from me, MG ordered a main of Linguini with Tiger Prawns, Cherry Tomatoes, Fetta Cheese, Chilli and Fresh Lemon (AU$26).
CM ordered the Il Lido Caesar Salad, which came with all the things you would expect to come with a Caesar Salad as well as white anchovies, grissini and chicken. Nick ordered the Warm Duck Salad with Mango, Candied Spiced Pistachio, Baby Beets, Endive and Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette (AU$23), while last but not least I ordered the 8 Hour Roast Lamb Shoulder with Three Wheat Salad, Date, Almonds, Pancetta and Spicy Cumin Yogurt (AU$33). The mains took about 20-30 minutes to arrive at our table and when they did come out they were staggered and we left waiting a good 5 to 10 minutes for some people’s dishes to arrive. The three with the steaks were surprised at how small the dish was and were glad that they had ordered Broccolini on the side, however one of the steaks came out well done when it was supposed to be medium. The waiter was informed of this and nothing was ever done about it. No apologies, nothing. That was pretty disappointing. The Broccolini however was delicious and crisp.
CM’s Caesar Salad was according to him “nothing special” and “my wife makes a better Caesar Salad”. Marcus’ Tiger Prawn Linguini was apparently very tasty and was a good serving size however, disappointingly the prawns were imported and on a closer look at the menu quite a lot of the seafood was imported. With the availability of high quality fresh seafood in Darwin there is no excuse for a new and pricey restaurant such as Il Lido not to have all Australian seafood on the menu. The Coral Trout had by Ray was cooked nicely but again it was a very small portion with hardly anything else on the plate and in RW’s words “there was nothing special about it”. The Warm Duck Salad ordered by NL went down well however he did comment on there only being one piece of mango on top of the salad and not through the salad as one would think.
Lastly, my Lamb Shoulder was very tasty. It came out in a sort of salad form though which I wasn’t expecting and was quite a small portion. It was delicious and the Almonds and crunchy Pancetta with the Spicy Cumin Yogurt complimented the dish nicely. So for my verdict and this was reiterated by the rest of the people at my table. The food was overpriced and the portions were too small. Again it’s disappointing to see imported seafood on the menu in a place like Darwin particularly prawns. And the ‘non-response’ from the waiter when told about the steak being well done was pretty poor. I probably won’t be back. Sorry Il Lido you have a great atmosphere but the food and service let you down.
P.S: Sorry about the dodgy photos, I blame the dim lighting (or it could have been the mojito and 3 glasses of wine).
19 Kitchener Drive, Darwin NT 0800
Ph: (08) 89 410900