Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar, Melbourne
I noticed Lucy Lius for the first time back in August on the way back to Flinders Street Station from the Time Out Melbourne Food Awards. Primary investigations and initial reviews looked very promising, so I was pretty excited when one of my lovely girlfriends asked if I’d be interested in a girl’s night dinner there!
Located down one of Melbourne’s seemingly infinite laneways, it’s hard not to have a bit of a giggle as you make your way to the entrance on Oliver Lane; let’s call it as it is, it’s an upper-class venue, with the front door located bang in the middle of an unevenly cobble-stoned road, so there are a whole lot of beautiful ladies wobbling precariously in their heels on said road. You can include the three of us in that category.
Relieved to be inside with all ankles intact, we were immediately greeted and seated; I have to be perfectly truthful here, I generally don’t expect much from the staff at these types of venues. As a very general rule, I’ve found in the past that the nicer the venue and the more expensive the food, the less attentive and less caring they tend to be. But full points to the guys and girls on the floor at Lucy’s; they were incredible friendly, very helpful with menu recommendations, super attentive, and made the experience that much better. Snaps to you, ladies and gents.
But let’s be serious, we want to know about the food. Excuse the quality of the photos – we were dealing with three hungry ladies and some serious mood lighting, so I did my best! The menu is designed for sharing, so that’s what we did.
Can I be completely honest here? I was SOOOO pleasantly surprised! The food was incredible! It’s always hard when you’re dining at a place for the first time that’s had so much hype around it; you go in with very high expectations which aren’t always met. No such thing here.
First round of plates, from left to right, as follows:
2. Crispy fried quail with shichimi pepper and spicy plum dressing ($15.00)
3. Barramundi & scampi dumplings with chilli, ginger and spring onions ($14.00)
4. Peking duck dumplings with Lucy’s hoi sin sauce ($16.00)
I couldn’t pick a favourite from this first round, seriously. Those pancake rolls were absolutely phenomenal – the soft shelled crab was the best I’ve had, and I have eaten some lovely soft shelled crab in some very lovely restaurants before. This one takes the cake. The quail was perfectly crispy, and those dumplings were something else. I was just a little bit smitten with the sauce that came with the barramundi and scampi ones.
And next up we had, from left to right:
2. Stir fried Asian greens with garlic and chilli ($8.00)
3. Lucy Liu Wagyu beef F1 7+ with yakiniku dipping sauce and hot mustard horseradish ($38.00)
That trout and noodle salad was perfect in between heavier flavoured dishes – it was so crisp and fresh and clean, and that trout was so melt-in-your-mouth soft. Veggies weren’t just veggies – they packed the most delicious punch. And the beef was everything you’d have expected from such an establishment; it didn’t almost melt in your mouth. It actually did. The accompaniments were perfect, and it’s something I’d order again without hesitation.
So, yes, Lucy DID live up to all the hype. There’s a very good reason this place is on everyone’s lips at the moment, and why it’s always packed full of diners. It’s high end, so expect to spend a decent amount, but I’m a firm believer that good food is worth paying a little more for. And frankly, it wasn’t just the food; it was truly a dining experience. It was an upper class venue with a relaxed atmosphere, the food was fantastic, the guys and girls working the floor were first class, the recommendations were completely on point, and we had a seriously great night!