If you’ve been to The Iron Fairies or Ophelia, you’ll have seen the amazing interior design for which Ashley Sutton is famous. His latest masterpiece, also in conjunction with Dining Concepts, is Dear Lilly, a romance-inspired bar and restaurant on the top floor of IFC Mall.
The space is designed as an enchanted florist, with 300,000 mini flower arrangements hanging from the ceiling, flowers in tiny vintage perfume bottles lining the walls, heart-shaped jewellery-box inspired booths and extracts from World War I and II love letters engraved into the floor and on the placemats. In the same way as Sutton’s other venues, it’s clear that thought has gone into every single detail here.
The drinks menu features a long list of creative cocktails, many of which are inspired by 1920s French drinks, featuring spirits such as Lillet Blanc and Lillet Rouge. I was quite surprised to find there were no mocktails listed on the menu for pregnant ladies or non-drinkers, but was offered a virgin Mojito, which was fairly standard.
The food menu is not overwhelmingly large and features a selection of modern European dishes. We started with the prime beef short ribs, which were truly excellent. They were both crispy and tender, cooked in a delicious honey glaze with sesame seeds and citrus fruit. Be sure to save a little bit of the bread to dip into this more-ish sauce.
The slow-cooked octopus was also lovely, carrying a nice char on top of tender tentacles. The dollops of roasted pepper salsa and seaweed hummus added an unusual yet tasty element to the dish.
To include some greens in our meal, we tried the grilled padron peppers, which were served very simply with olive oil and sea salt, needing nothing else to enhance the flavour.
Moving onto main courses, the grilled prime cut lamb chops were beautifully cooked to a tender medium-well, without being too raw for me to eat in my pregnant state. Whilst they tasted divine and melted in the mouth, they were disappointingly served cold, which unfortunately let them down a little.
I had been a bit reluctant to order the poached sea bass, as I thought it quite a boring choice, but was actually pleasantly surprised. The fish was wonderfully flaky and flavoursome, topped with salsa verde, served on a mound of herby crushed potatoes that soaked up the salsa verde beautifully.
Sides of skinny fries and creamed corn were very satisfying, particularly the latter, which I could have eaten straight from the bowl with a spoon.
When our first choice of dessert was unavailable, we weren’t that enthused about any of the other choices, but settled for the Berriolette dome, which was actually as delicious as it was beautiful. On a light pastry base, sat a dome of berry mousse, adorned with crunchy mini meringues.
Whilst service was not exactly bad, neither was it great. We had to ask more than once to see the drinks list after finishing our first round and, although I know he didn’t mean to downplay the food and this is probably just his manner of speaking, our waiter kept describing the dishes to us as “not bad”, which didn’t seem to me all that encouraging. Our meal for three people came to over $1700, which, considering we had only four alcoholic drinks between us and sufficient yet not abundant amounts of food, was a little higher than I had expected, but then again pretty standard for a Dining Concepts and Ashley Sutton collaboration. I do think Dear Lilly is a lovely addition to IFC’s dining scene and, given the fact that its theme is centred around romance, it would certainly make the perfect date night spot!
Shop 4010, Podium Level 4, IFC Mall
8 Finance Street
Tel: +852 2771 6060