Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more
Judging by the number of softshell crab jianbing flying out of the kitchen, this must be one of Lucy Liu’s most popular dishes and no wonder. The crab is deliciously crunchy and perfectly offset against the tartness and slight sweetness of the spicy hoi sin mayo. And with all those vegetables, I can almost convince myself that it’s healthy.
I’m at Lucy Liu’s for dinner, a fusion Asian restaurant with heavy Thai influences. The restaurant is chockers when I arrive, and it’s only because I’m alone that I get seated at the bar on the one remaining bar stool. The couple in front of me are told to come back in half an hour – and it’s a Wednesday night.
My seat at the bar gives me a perfect vantagepoint into their busy kitchen. I am right in front of their massive deep fryer, and if you subscribe to the theory that fat equals flavour, everything coming out of there must be good.
Lucy Liu’s menu is designed for sharing, I’m informed, which means that much of it is beyond my single means. I am told to focus on the left side of the menu, where the Small Bites, Dumplings and Buns, and Plates reside. It is good advice, as I’m only moderately hungry, and my two selections fill me up just nicely. I have been eyeing their Korean-style crispy pork hock for a while though, and judging by the way they dump the giant joint of meat into the deep fryer, there can only be goodness on the other side.
My second selection is the Nah Khao Tod, or a Thai salad with crispy rice, smoked trout, peanuts and lots of Thai basil and coriander. The dish is a flavour sensation, with the tangy dressing marrying perfectly with the strong herbs and smoky fish. The crunchy rice and peanuts give everything a great texture.
Would I come back again? Absolutely, and this time with a big party so I can sample the crispy pork hock.
23 Oliver Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Open 7 days for lunch and dinner from 11am til late
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