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

The future of gangs in New Zealand
101322 2019-01-21 00:00:00Z Social issues

The future of gangs in New Zealand

by Philippa Tolley

Best of RNZ: Gangs have been a feature of New Zealand society for more than half a century. Philippa Tolley takes a look at what future lies ahead.

Read more
How some Germans are countering the extremist views of the far-right
101320 2019-01-21 00:00:00Z World

How some Germans are countering the extremist view…

by Cathrin Schaer

Germans face a familiar dilemma in finding ways to oppose the views of the far-right Alternative for Germany party.

Read more
White Noise: Who is shaping Auckland's future?
101439 2019-01-21 00:00:00Z Auckland Issues

White Noise: Who is shaping Auckland's future?

by Kate Newton

Some Aucklanders have more say in their city's future than others.

Read more
Stephen Fry revisits the world of the Ancient Greeks in Heroes
101242 2019-01-21 00:00:00Z Books

Stephen Fry revisits the world of the Ancient Gree…

by Lauren Buckeridge

In his delightful way, Stephen Fry dips back into the ancient world with more stories of tests, quests and feats of old.

Read more
Comedian Jo Brand on the benefits of not giving a toss
100970 2019-01-20 00:00:00Z Profiles

Comedian Jo Brand on the benefits of not giving a…

by Diana Wichtel

Jo Brand’s deadpan style is deceptive, as some blokes have discovered to their very public cost.

Read more
Green Book: A racially themed road-trip drama that stays within the white lines
101345 2019-01-20 00:00:00Z Movies

Green Book: A racially themed road-trip drama that…

by James Robins

Green Book joins a long tradition of civil-rights era movies that barely scratch the surface.

Read more
How I caught Marie Kondo's tidying up bug
101329 2019-01-20 00:00:00Z Television

How I caught Marie Kondo's tidying up bug

by Diana Wichtel

Four episodes into Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, something snapped.

Read more
The vital importance of full sleep cycles
100962 2019-01-20 00:00:00Z Health

The vital importance of full sleep cycles

by Mark Broatch

It’s a myth that older adults need less sleep, says University of California professor of neuroscience and psychology Matthew Walker.

Read more