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This little South Melbourne fine diner serves up wildly inventive fare in three-, five- or seven-course degustations.
By Libby Curran
January 18, 2019
By Libby Curran
January 18, 2019

It's been three and a half years since Lûmé first crashed into our food scene, with head chef and co-owner Shaun Quade's wildly inventive fare quickly making a name for the South Melbourne fine diner.

Now, as Quade gears up to kick-start his next culinary venture, he's given the whole place a spruce-up and handed over the all-important kitchen reins to mentee and celebrated young gun John Rivera. He recently won the San Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year, as well as the Gault & Millau Young Talent of the Year in 2017.

The first thing he's done is make the menu smaller; Lûmé's signature $210 14-course degustation has been replaced with the option of three slightly more approachable offerings: three courses for $100, five courses for $140 and seven courses for $170). To that end, you can expect an all-new menu, delivering Rivera's interpretation of modern Australian fare — but still with that Lûmé edge. Dive into thoughtful and unexpected creations like the calamari matched to coconut, cucumber and chrysanthemum; melaleuca-smoked duck with leatherwood honey and cherries; and shiitakes with oyster and charred kombu.

Each menu comes with four clever snacks that promise to be just as good as the main event. Onion doughnuts come with fresh sea succulents, dainty smoked tomato tarts feature burnt barley and "salted egg", while black banana makes an appearance as an unlikely glaze for the barbecue pork bites.

Lûmé's penchant for great wine holds strong, the list championing big names alongside new and interesting drops. If you've got extra cash to splash, opt for one of the expert beverage pairings ($60–130) to see the team's booze prowess at its best. One to add to your must-visit restaurants of 2019 list.

Food images: Shaun Quade.

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