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10° & CLOUDY ON FRIDAY 21 SEPTEMBER IN MELBOURNE
By Jo Rittey
April 02, 2015
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Lost Heaven

A light and bright piece of Sichuan utopia.
By Jo Rittey
April 02, 2015
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The Hutong Group's newest member in its growing family of restaurants might be the youngest, but with seating for 250 and an already-strong Friday and Saturday night following, it is certainly holding its own. Lost Heaven is a little — or in this case, rather large — light and bright piece of Sichuan paradise. The decor is contemporary with clean lines, pale timber and hanging lights, with just enough red and gold to give a subtle Asian feel.

Garlic, chilli and Sichuan pepper are the stars in this showcase of modern Chinese food. Friendly and attentive staff are happy to recommend dishes when asked, but otherwise, diners are free to make their selection on the iPad provided. With a range of seafood, hot and cold dishes, snacks and soups, the menu is extensive and offers dishes for the adventurous diner (hot blood curd combination, anyone?) through to the more conservative, for whom braised pork belly in soy sauce will suffice.

The signature wontons ($10 for eight) are mouthfuls of bliss. Delicate pastry encases a seasoned pork mince filling. These are then steamed and served with a garlic and chilli sauce that packs a light, but nonetheless spicy, punch. It is no wonder these little parcels come so highly recommended, the combination of flavours and textures are delicious. It's melt in your mouth loveliness with a spicy finish.

New on the menu is the braised lamb shank served with a sauce of finely minced chilli, garlic, spring onions, capsicum and the uniquely flavoured Sichuan pepper. When meat just pulls off the bone, you know you're in for a good time — and this shank did not disappoint. Beautifully cooked, savoury lamb, with a slight crust on the outside was taken to the next level by the sweet spiciness of the sauce.

If you're looking for something a little different to the more prolific Cantonese restaurants in the city, this is the place to come. But, as with any search for utopia, Lost Heaven is a little elusive; hidden in an inner city arcade and up two flights of escalators, it is a higher place worth the journey. For a couple, a family or a large group of friends or colleagues, Lost Heaven is a calm and welcoming oasis above the bustle of the city.

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