When it's O's birthday it's my duty as good friend/bad influence/study buddy/MOH/car pool leecher to take her out for a nice dinner with cocktails and wine. So when I gave her the option of where she wanted to go, she picked Lucy Liu. This is new in town and comes from the the people behind Taxi, The Smith and Circa. It is a modern Asian fusion restaurants that mixes up flavours from Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, China (just to name a few). With the entrance located on Oliver Lane, this is typical Melbourne styled eatery. It is off an alleyway with loud music, cool hipster waiters and a perfect atmosphere to catch up with friends.
To celebrate O getting older we got some cocktails to start with. Lucy Lui had a wide selection to pick from. I picked one with a ginger beer base and O got something sweet too.
We actually had difficulty choosing, there was a lot on the menu and it all looked interesting, it was only after a full 10 minutes were we able to narrow down and finally put our order in.
To start we got the kingfish sashimi. This has fresh pieces of Kingfish served with green chilli, toasted coconut and mint. I loved the creamed coconut milk and the citris base it came in. Along with the chilli, it has a beautiful way of enhancing the taste of the Kingfish while have a play with the combination of sweet, fresh, spicy and sour. I loved this dish, it is something I would definitely order again.
Next was the rare breed sticky pork belly. This came with 2 squares of fatty pork belly that was caramelised. The meat was tender and the skin still had the sticky bite to it. It was balanced out with a salad of coconut meat, coriander, chilli and mint leaves.
Then came the barramundi and scampi dumplings. This is a play on the classic chilli won tons that you see in most Shanghainese dumplings stores. The barramundi and scampi was wrapped in won ton skins and served in a chilli, ginger sauce. I loved the sauce but I think it overpowered the barramundi and scampi.
For the plates we picked the sake cured ocean trout. When we ordered this, we imagined it to be similar to the kingfish sashimi but to our surprise it was more a soba salad. It came tossed and piled with apple, raddish, pickled ginger, mint/basil leaves and black sesame. I found the taste to be refreshing and yet tantalizing. I would happily eat a large serving of this for lunch if they Lucy Lui was closer to my office!
Then it finally came time for the larger plate, we opted for the waygu and 2 sides. The waygu was medium cooked with a nice pink centre. It was was served with a light yakiniku (Japanese bbq) sauce and horseradish. I found the beef perfect with the yakiniku alone and didn't really need the horseradish but O liked it with, so it really came down to how much you like horseradish. The meat was tender and the waygu flavour was just perfect.
We didn't really need the sides but we got it anyway (and finished everything). O picked the green beans and musuna salad because she was intrigued by the idea of tofu dressing. This was a light sweet soy like dressing laced through the beans and ginger. I would reccomend this for anyone looking for a very light side.
I love my Asian greens so that was the go to for me. I found this a good pairing with the beef and jasmin rice. Guess you can't really go wrong with oyster sauce, chilli and ginger on Chinese broccoli.
I don't why we got dessert because we were on the verge of a food coma already. We got the Lucy's Knickerbocker Glory to share. This had lychee, lychee sorbet, honeycomb, cream and berry compote in it. The taste was good but it was missing something solid like a cake or biscuit base. It reads to be interesting on the menu but it failed to hit the mark for me.
Overall 16/20 I found Lucy Lui to be a nice surprise, I semi expected it to be yet another Asian Fusion restaurants with the typical menu offering. I walked out loving the place, our waitress was very attentive and put up with all the questions we had about the menu. I think it's a place worth trying and the best thing is, they take reservations, so you don't need to worry about lining up for over an hour to get a table.