Another lane, another Melbourne hotspot. And yet these places continue to suck us in, with their low-lit entrances, fun-loving menus and bold attitudes. It's also hard to ignore the whispers that go out around town like wildfire. But this particular whisper — the news that Lucy Liu was opening up in place of the now-retired PM24 — was like music to my ears. Or like succulent wagyu to my tastebuds, even.
Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar — not to be confused with the Charlie's Angel — is a modern Asian delight of a venue. This here is something worthy of its newbie hype. Reservations are accepted (huzzah!), but if you prefer to wing it and rock up unannounced, you might possibly get the best seat in the house: at the counter overlooking the kitchen.
It's a well-oiled machine, I can tell you. And as a machine that's been running for less than a month, it's an impressive one. The service is efficient, if not ever-so-slightly imposing — but that's really no bother when the food is this good.
An exciting menu is on show at Lucy Liu. Tempura soft shell crab ($16), kingfish sashimi ($18) and rare breed sticky pork belly ($20) are 'small bites' standouts, while the dumpling menu features fillings such as Peking duck, steamed pork and chestnut, and barramundi and scampi. Salads and sides are there, but don't really get a look in with so much other stuff worth ordering. Larger plates are still to come, and the hero here is definitely the wagyu beef with yakiniku dipping sauce and hot mustard horseradish ($38). It's likely that the menu will have your eyes glazing over with anticipation, and if that's the case, just sit back and let 'let Lucy choose' five or seven of her finest plates for you ($55 and $65 respectively).
Letting a tender slice of wagyu melt in your mouth (quite literally) while you sip a glass of Lucy's Red and overlook the kitchen superstars calmly plate up some beautiful food, you could be anywhere in the world (and the middle of Manhattan might indeed spring to mind). But by the same token, at Lucy's, there's nowhere else you'd rather be.