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Review: Love is All Around at Ashley Sutton's New Concept Bar, Dear Lilly

By Sophie Pettit 12 March 2018
We had great expectations for award-winning designer Ashley Sutton's latest project, Dear Lilly, and we weren't disappointed. Located in a stunning glass-walled venue on the roof of ifc mall, this latest Dining Concepts restaurant and bar brings an air of lost romance back to our smartphone obsessed digital world.

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Although smaller in size than originally planned (this is Hong Kong after all), the venue succeeds in transforming you into an enchanting, fairy tale world filled with floating love letters, fragrant blooms, and more vintage perfume bottles and trinkets than a Disney princess can shake a magic wand at. [caption id="attachment_112605" align="aligncenter" width="618"] You want thingamabobs? I got twenty.[/caption] Inspired by the dreamy hole-in-the-wall florists found along the quaint boulevards in Paris, as well as Sutton's own fascination with the mysterious jewellery boxes kept by his female cousins when he was a child, Lilly is a delight to all the senses — and thankfully, that includes taste. [caption id="attachment_112602" align="aligncenter" width="660"] Inside the jewellery box at Dear Lilly's bar
[/caption] Stood within the heart-shaped bar, where clusters of radiant roses and love letters scrawled on scrolls levitate above the mixologists’ heads, guests can Instagram their way through a menu of French inspired cocktails, each beautifully presented with their own touch of elegance and magic, and garnished with edible flowers and sprigs of lavender to match the decor. Highlights include the adorable Mad Enchantment ($120), a refreshing concoction of Pere Magloire Calvados, Lillet Rouge, apple juice, lemon juice, vanilla syrup, and blackberry puree, served in a Victorian style teacup fixed to a wine glass stem (top points for originality there), and the Mademoiselle Lilly ($120) with vodka, Kwai Feh liqueur, Lillet Blanc, cranberry juice, lime juice, raspberry puree, and homemade hibiscus. But don't worry lads, there's plenty of beer and wine in this floral wonderland to keep you satisfied too. [caption id="attachment_112594" align="aligncenter" width="660"] Mad Enchantment, Mademoiselle Lilly, and Avignon (each $150)
[/caption] If we're being honest, Lilly is all about the cocktails, but if you are feeling peckish, they serve contemporary European cuisine, with particular attention paid to the flavours of the Mediterranean, and offer both a set lunch (either a two-course or three-course meal) and an à la carte menu. While portions are fairly small in size, they make up for it in flavour, with the Tuna Poke ($138) and Slow-Cooked Octopus with roasted pepper salsa, rocket and seaweed hummus ($128) standing out on the starters. [caption id="attachment_112598" align="aligncenter" width="660"] Slow-Cooked Octopus with roasted pepper salsa, rocket and seaweed hummus ($128) [/caption] Over on the mains, the Corn Fed Chicken ($168) is to die for, while the Chococaramel Tart with milk whip ganache, sable, and caramelised nuts ($68) is the must-order dessert. [caption id="attachment_112597" align="aligncenter" width="660"] Corn Fed Chicken ($168)[/caption] If you're really out to impress, you can dine in one of Lilly’s intimate heart-shaped booths designed in the style of supersized vintage jewellery boxes that completely ensconce the happy couple — or group. Just make sure to look down and admire the striking heart-shaped marble inlays set into the floor, each engraved with extracts from touching love letters written by soldiers to their sweethearts during World War I and II. The verdict? Overall, Lilly manages to pull off romantic without being tacky or overly commercial, playing more to the whole melancholy, long-lost love concept rather than a cheesy Hallmark cliché. In that respect, it's definitely worth the hype, and if all that doesn't melt your heart, well then ... go home ice maiden! Dear Lilly, Shop 4010, Podium Level 4, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, (+852) 2771 6060 The venue doesn't take reservations, so arrive early to avoid missing out.

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Sophie is always on the lookout for a great story and her next big adventure and loves nothing more than discovering the city’s hidden gems—and most delicious cocktails. When she’s not exploring new places, she’s off travelling and ticking countries off her bucket list.

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