Love, Tilly Devine. Sydney
For the last decade and a bit , Tim Webber and Matt Swieboda have operated Love Tilly Devine at 91 Crown Lane Darlinghurst. Its a small, 1920's prohibition style space doing anything but prohibition. Firstly you have to know where to look, then you have to find it. But the rewards when you do are incredibly rich.
Chef Webber has a small but very functional menu. Our most recent visit involved several favourites still available to us - sourdough with whipped white soy butter (I want to buy this by the kg), anchovies with kalamata vinegar and fried sage, some Sydney Rock oysters, some wonderful charcuterie including the best mortadella I have found in Sydney, a chicken liver parfait covered in burnt onion dust was heaven and some fantastic cheeses, including a comte - one of our favourites out of France.
But its not about the food as much as it is about Swieboda's impeccable wine selections. Beer and spirit lovers have an ample choice but for us its all about the wine, and for an inner Sydney venue, the prices are more than reasonable. No names mentioned but a recent visit to a very swish place had an $18 Dan Murphy's wine on the list at over $60, which you simply cannot get away with in these times. No such insult here.
We started with a Delinquente Tuff Nutt 2018 pet nat Bianco Dellasano, a wine we love as a still and have several 10 year old bottles on the shelf. A very clever drink and something we wanted to go again on, but there was a 300+ bottle list for us to be tempted by. More wine followed with a Between Five Bells 2016 ‘White’ which is a blend of Pinot Gris, Fiano, Riesling, Chardonnay. Also very reasonable priced, while our third bottle a Limus 2018 Marina Rose was spectacular. We were tempted for a fourth but the stagger back to the digs would have been somewhat unseemly.
What I love about this place and why I keep coming back is the superior levels of service, the fact it has a noble kind of bootleg house, named of course for Tilly Devine, as 1920's Sydney crime boss. They never miss a beat. Some reviews have suggested poor or arrogant service - I have never yet come across that and I wonder about the expectations. For me, with very high standards, this has never been a problem. Don't expect great big ass plates overflowing with food. Quite the opposite - beautifully plated, exquisitely presented and well executed food.
There is a reason this place has survived for over a decade.. its bloody good.
Love Tilly Devine is at 91 Crown Lane, Darlinghurst.
Open Tues - Sat 5pm - midnight