If there’s one thing (I hope) we took away from Covid it’s a knowledge that good, simple, produce-driven food can be cooked at home, where it’s best shared around a table with good company.
Now we’re back in restaurants, I’ve been looking for that same vibe; be gone pretension and delicate little plates, I’m looking for generosity on the plate and in the spirit of a venue.
Which is something the team behind XO has always offered and now they’re dialling it up with their latest venture ILY.
ILY – an acronym for I Love You, and doesn’t that fit well with the hugs and kisses of XO – takes over the Morning Glory space in New Acton. Doors open on May 9 for day-time service and May 20 for night-time service.
Expect homely, simple food with a focus on execution and local produce, with creative flair and a strong dose of good humour, says co-owner Greg Lally.
“This is a home-style kitchen, but not at all how we know it,” Lally says.
“It’s a dance between modern Australian and European but we’re trying not to be shackled to either of those, we’re just trying to fill the dining room with smells of home-style classics.”
Tim West will head up nights in the kitchen. His CV includes Bowral’s Biota Dining, a five-year stint at Esquire in Brisbane, as well as an internship at Noma Australia.
“The ILY menu bristles with Tim’s pedigree and the creative freedom of a diverse and global career,” Lally says.
Lally is excited by the night-time menu: think roast chicken with spinach, confit garlic and artichoke; roast potato pie; kingfish wing with burnt scallion and pickled onion; and a beef cheek which uses a rub from spent in-house coffee from local roaster HAEL, partnered with malt glaze and cucumber.
By day think breakfast gnocchi and sweet potato hash or the familiar MG char sui bacon and egg roll for breakfast before transitioning to a lunchtime menu that delivers homely favourites including chicken fattoush, steak frites and a beef burger to die.
Coffee is sourced from local roaster and in-house barista HAEL, with an assortment of house made baked goods.
Morning Glory opened in late 2018 and during Covid the team’s focus was on XO. Lally says an evolution was going to happen sooner or later, and the key to staying in the game is reinvention anyway.
“Yes, it was a unique set of circumstances but Covid gave us the opportunity to rethink how we were doing business and how we wanted to engage with the market moving forward,” he says.
“We had time to think about what it was we wanted to be, what we wanted to cook, and it was a catalyst for us to shift to a format and how we what we wanted to do about and that was kind of a catalyst for us to shift to a format that threw off those constraints.
- Making the most of a wine list
- Canberra’s own best-selling booze-free beer
- It’s time for un ombra with Carlo Grossi
“The personality of ILY is borne from the team’s collective desire to explore the landscape of food and wine in Australia and service food that reflects this.
“ILY celebrates all that the team loves about food, wine and dining in Canberra and the patchwork of producers, innovators, instigators and consumers that support it.”
While Morning Glory’s feel was dark tones of timber, steel and stone, ILY has been given a makeover by the design team at Capezio Copeland.
There’s a fresh, light palate bringing new emotion and warmth to the dining room, with white, burgundy, and pink hues matching the character of ILY and the team’s focus on creating good food, with love.
- ILY, 15 Edinburgh Ave, New Acton. Days, Monday to Sunday, from 7am-3pm. Nights Thursday-Saturday, from 6-10pm.
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Team behind XO sharing the love
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