Dining | Lizotte's hits all the right notes | Daniel Honan

SHOWPIECE: Diners settle in for a night of eating and entertainment. Pictures: Marina Neil
SHOWPIECE: Diners settle in for a night of eating and entertainment. Pictures: Marina Neil

WHAT better way to spend a Saturday night out than with dinner and a show?

Lizotte’s has been a long-time favourite of the musically-minded Novocastrian, who also enjoys a side of casual cuisine. Each week, down on Morehead Road, Lambton, the gorgeous old King’s Theatre hosts some of the world’s best musicians and entertainers, while the kitchen cooks up some pretty fabulous food and fare. Folks like Taj Mahal, Martha Wainwright and Wendy Matthews have all sang for their supper, at one stage or another, while hungry guests eat theirs at tables and chairs on the house floor, below.

On this particular rainy evening, my dining associate and I saw the lovely Holly Throsby play her delicate indie-folk with a three-piece accompaniment, which included entree, main and dessert.

Lizotte’s is a two-tiered room that’s lit by spotlights, down lights, and fairy lights. The stage is draped in folded layers of blood-red velvet. The mezzanine juts out over the auditorium, where people sit at comfy tables and chairs, sipping on their drinks while they wait for their meal and tonight’s act.

Not long after being seated, one of the attentive wait staff asks to take our order. Not having had a moment, yet, to look through tonight’s menu, we delay by ordering drinks. The drinks menu features a few wines by the glass, and even more by the bottle that includes an organic wine section. Local brewer, Murray’s rounds out the beer list alongside a standard selection of spirits and some musically-minded cocktails. We opt for a bottle of malbec, from Orange, but not before having to ask, who the producer is and what vintage it is from. These details aren’t listed for some reason. It turns out to be a bottle of juicy, spicy malbec made by Tamburlaine, from the quality 2015 vintage.

After the bottle arrives, our order is taken: Szechuan pepper squid for a shared entree, followed by roasted rolled lamb and flat head fillets for main, and banana beignets for dessert. Other foodstuffs include, ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers, smokey bourbon barbecue beef brisket, Indian vegetable curry, ravioli, salmon, raw chocolate torte, and an Australian cheese selection.

Despite not having heard of it before, the pepper squid - full name, Brian’s Famous Szechuan Pepper Squid - is a flavoursome combo of Asian herbed salad and chilli passion fruit sauce next to a pile of lightly crumbed and crunchy pepper squid that’s firm, but not chewy. The quirky passionfruit sauce enlivens the squid with sweetened acidity, while the thin strips of red onion, crispy sprouts and cilantro leaves refresh. 

We finish as the support act takes the stage to play a number of dispirited, ambient ’80s inspired folk-rock. Half-way through their set, our mains arrive to lighten the mood. My dining associate has the Lizotte’s beer and herb battered flathead fillets, served with thick chips, fresh garden salad, and a lemon aspen dressing with house made tartare sauce. The fish is steamy and moist inside its crunchy coating. Lemon aspen is a yellow coloured fruit from tropical north Queensland, which enlivens the salad and foils the starchy carbs from the flathead batter and elevates a standard tuck-shop fish and chips to theatre-worthy heights. My lamb is, essentially, meat and multiple veg. Two thickly sliced wheels of honey, hazelnut and herb encrusted lamb rest on assorted vegies. The lamb is a little over, just pink inside, but the crust is truly flavoursome. 

Dessert is shared just as Holly Throsby tip-toes through her second sweet song of the night. Liqueur soaked banana beignets (French donuts), served with a spiced chocolate dipping sauce and hokey-pokey ice-cream. Despite the donuts being a little too heavy to be light, and a little more ice-cream might be nice, all the flavours and textures are there. 

It’s a great way to finish a three-course meal, as we sit back and enjoy the show.

QUICK BITE

  • What: (Live and Cooking at) Lizotte’s
  • Where: 31 Morehead St, Lambton/ (02) 4956 2066 / lizottes.com.au
  • Chef: Rocco Spagnolo
  • Drinks: Soft drinks, beer, wine, spirits, cocktails
  • Hours: Wed-Sun (check show times for details)
  • Vegetarian: Yes
  • Bottom Line: $150 for two incl. drinks, dinner only
  • Wheelchair Access: Yes
  • Do Try: Szechuan pepper squid, banana beignets
CHOC TEXTURES: Pudding, mousse, chocolate soil, macaron and gelato.

CHOC TEXTURES: Pudding, mousse, chocolate soil, macaron and gelato.

BRAVO: Honey and pistachio herb crumbed and roasted noisette lamb roll.

BRAVO: Honey and pistachio herb crumbed and roasted noisette lamb roll.