23 Oliver Lane, Melbourne
Embodying Melbourne’s cross-cultural identity and blurring the lines between cuisines and stereotypes, Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar is one of the city’s most loved restaurants. Together, owners Michael Lambie and Zac Cribbes have created a venue that encapsulates all the things that make Melbourne such a great cosmopolitan city.
Zac’s influence is evident across the front of house team. Alongside his long term venue manager, Owen Brockfield, they have implemented a high level of service while still keeping that fun vibe Lucy Liu is so famous for. Primarily a stylish space buzzing with the sounds of chatter, the sizzling of delectable food being whipped up, and the shaking of some fantastic cocktails, the restaurant is also a well-oiled machine when it comes to delivering an inimitable, polished service.
Michael’s experience is wide and varied throughout some of the best restaurants in Europe and then Melbourne. When Michael created the award-winning Taxi Dining Room, he employed Zac as a young chef. Zac who is better known now as Lucy Liu’s Executive Chef has a passion for Thai and Chinese flavours, which both play a huge role in the bold and enticing Lucy Liu menu. Joining Zac in the kitchen is Head Chef, Jenna Louise North.
Classic Asian hot, sour, salty and sweet flavours fill every dish on the menu. The fact that Michael, Zac and Jenna are not bound by strict traditions in their food means that Lucy Liu is able to marry new flavours and borrow bits and pieces from an array of Asian cuisines. The result is fun, exciting share style dishes that are rarely found in the typical Asian establishments around the city.
For years, the house favourite has remained the Raw Kingfish doused with lime juice, green chilli and cooling dabs of coconut cream, topped with a generous dusting of toasted coconut shreds and hot mint. Those who find themselves to be partial to the ‘Dumplings & Buns’ section of the menu will know the Soft-Shell Crab Jianbing Pancake Roll, which combines flavours and traditions from China, Malaysia, Japan and Vietnam in one neat little parcel.
Lucy Liu’s modern, experimental menu is complemented perfectly by the polished design of the venue. An elusive entrance off Oliver Lane gives the restaurant an air of mystery. Once inside, guests are introduced to Lucy’s stylish, minimalist design. Concrete floors, exposed bricks and a ceiling of impressive wood batons mirror the menu’s Asian influence. Booths and bar-style low communal tables fill the open-plan restaurant, topped with hologram-decorated menus and Japanese Mino ware.
The Lucy Liu experience, though refined, has been created to be fun, exciting and accessible for all. A kaleidoscope of cultures and flavours, this venue has helped to fashion Melbourne’s lusted-after food identity. A buzzing dining room, filled with crafty cocktails and some of the city’s most sought- after pan-Asian dishes – what more could you want from a Saturday night out on the town?
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