New casual fine-diner Lillius opens in Eden Terrace

by Kate Richards / 21 November, 2017
Photography: Tez Mercer
ArticleGalleryModule - Lillius

First Look: Lillius

The well-connected owners of new uptown fine-diner Lillius, Fraser McCarthy and Shannon Vandy, have some serious hospitality miles under their belts. The now-couple first met while working under Ben Bayly and Michael Dearth at The Grove – Vandy an AUT culinary arts intern at the time, on larder, and McCarthy on veg prep.

In 2011, after two years under Bayly, Vandy moved to Merediths on Dominion Road and McCarthy to TriBeCa under Hayden McMillan. Each spent about a year in their respective workplaces before Bayly, by now a friend and mentor, hooked them up with jobs in Chamonix – one of the great cheese-regions in France – working as private chalet chefs. Three years working Europe’s summer and winter, and travelling during spring and autumn, ignited a great appreciation of uncomplicated food in the pair, who returned to Auckland in 2014 to work at Baduzzi and Merediths respectively.

By this time, the young couple was seriously considering a restaurant of their own, but sensibly decided one of them would need some front of house experience before they could take the plunge. In a bold career leap Vandy moved out of the kitchen, training rigorously as a waiter at Baduzzi before being made an assistant manager back where her journey began at The Grove.  All the while, McCarthy continued to refine his kitchen technique at Merediths.

The couple has been out of the kitchen lately, however, project managing the build of their new restaurant with help from family and friends. The three months it’s taken to transform what was Khyber Tandoori seems remarkably quick when you consider the shift from the space’s old orange walls, dark wood and garish carpets to the modern, airy, and tactile space it has become. A complete refurbishment has revealed industrial concrete walls and floors, and opened the kitchen to allow diner and chef to feel connected.

The restaurant’s logo, a native pōhuehue vine, represents the twining together of the couple’s food experiences. McCarthy’s genuinely local and seasonal menu takes cues from all over: he loves cheese and sourdough bread, and will also be cooking with exciting ingredients like octopus, goat milk, seaweed and sago. The intimate supplier relationships he’s developed during his time as a chef will give a sense of time and place.

Open from Wednesday to Sunday, the couple are taking a no-waste approach at Lillius by offering only three or five-course menu options, favouring whole beasts and underused species, and using plants from root to tip. Like chefs do at other top Auckland and international restaurants, McCarthy will be asking his suppliers “what’s good?” rather than requesting specific ingredients all year-round. The drinks list leans towards New Zealand producers, with a range of both inexpensive and extra-special wines available both by the glass and bottle, craft beers, and boutique soft drinks.

Every Sunday the menu format will change to favour hospitality friends and long-lunchers. Lunch – five courses only – will be the only meal served that day, but the kitchen will stay open until 3.30ish. This casual approach will mean latecomers can begin eating late and not worry about being kicked out before dinner service – “like a fancy Sunday session,” offers McCarthy.

On Sunday night, following Lillius’ soft-opening, an Instagram post from Mo Koski and Leslie Hottiaux of Apero bumped the restaurant’s following up by hundreds overnight.  Subsequent posts on McCarthy and Vandy’s own page have gained likes and comments from friends at O’Connell St Bistro, Gemmayze St, Ampersand, Pasture, Sidart, and Miann. Hopefully the couple and their team are ready for a big week to come.

Lillius
19 Khyber Pass Rd
Eden Terrace
0210680992

Lillius is due to open Wednesday 22 Nov

 

Latest

Fighting fast fashion: the rise of ethical consumerism
95853 2018-09-25 00:00:00Z Business

Fighting fast fashion: the rise of ethical consume…

by Mina Phillips

In the era of fast fashion, what can consumers do to ensure what they're buying hasn't been made by exploited workers?

Read more
Naseby's chilliest night means a rare opportunity for curling
96697 2018-09-25 00:00:00Z Sport

Naseby's chilliest night means a rare opportunity …

by Guy Frederick

Weather conditions have to be perfect for an outdoor curling match – last winter, for the first time in seven years, Naseby delivered.

Read more
Students walk out of Hamilton high school over principal's truancy comments
96723 2018-09-24 14:06:35Z Education

Students walk out of Hamilton high school over pri…

by RNZ

More than 100 students walked out of a Hamilton high school in protest after the principal said truants are more likely to wind up being a rape victim

Read more
Colin Craig drops damages claim against former press secretary
96717 2018-09-24 13:10:01Z Politics

Colin Craig drops damages claim against former pre…

by RNZ

Colin Craig has withdrawn his claims for damages against his former press secretary Rachel MacGregor but is still suing her for defamation.

Read more
PM in New York: Ardern's first speech focuses on lifting children from poverty
96691 2018-09-24 07:54:36Z Politics

PM in New York: Ardern's first speech focuses on l…

by Chris Bramwell

Jacinda Ardern has used her first speech in the US to recommit the government to making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.

Read more
Give Kate A Voice: Bringing Kate Sheppard's speeches to life
96352 2018-09-24 00:00:00Z History

Give Kate A Voice: Bringing Kate Sheppard's speech…

by Noted

Famous Kiwi women read the powerful words of Kate Sheppard, who fought for the right for women to vote.

Read more
Ladies in Black – movie review
96686 2018-09-24 00:00:00Z Movies

Ladies in Black – movie review

by Russell Baillie

This nicely nostalgic female coming-of-age tale set in a Sydney department store almost sings.

Read more
A Southern man goes for gold in Garston growing hops
95518 2018-09-24 00:00:00Z Small business

A Southern man goes for gold in Garston growing ho…

by Mike White

Nelson and Motueka are well known for their hops but Garston hops are starting to be noticed by brewers.

Read more