LuMi manages to delight guests with every dish in an unpretentious and subtle way.
Chef Federico Zanellato has an all star resume, with stints at The Ritz London, Noma and Attica. But it’s his time in Japan, specifically at the three Michelin starred Ryugin, that has had the greatest influence on his cooking. His masterful blending of Italian and Japanese ingredients produces dishes that are familiar yet full of surprises.
The 8 course degustation starts with a generous serving of snacks, the first 3 are presented together as a trio. We start off with crisp sheets of pastry that have been dotted with chicken liver parfait and a dusting of dried raspberry. Next, we have a pair of fried mussels with a dab of aioli. And finally, there’s the potato rosti sprinkled with tomato powder.
The fourth snack is Italian Chawanmushi, Chef Federico’s take on the traditional Japanese egg custard. As I take my first bite, the sharp flavour of the Parmesan cheese cuts through the silky custard. My eyes are telling me Japanese but my mouth says Italian, this delightful surprise is the first of many to come.
With the snacks out of the way, the home made rye and spelt sourdough arrives fresh and warm. The burnt butter mascarpone melts away onto the bread (and into my heart).
The degustation starts off light with an intricate dish of crab, scallop emulsion, finger lime and tomatillo.
Next, we have quite the divisive dish – beetroot. When I eat beetroot, it’s usually wedged in a burger or mixed into a salad. At LuMi, it’s salt baked and served warm on a bed of goat’s cheese sauce and cherry-beetroot juice. A blanket of black sesame sauce is laid on top, providing quite the contrast of colours. Who knew beetroot could be fancy.
As I bite into the agnolotti pasta, I am completely caught off guard by the warm rye dashi that bursts out. My only complaint is that there were only 4 of these precious parcels!
Typically, tagliatelle is served with pork or beef but at LuMi it comes with duck, kombu and umeboshi. And since it’s truffle season, I opt for the supplementary truffle. What we end up with is a dish that’s packed with intense umami.
LuMi’s Lamb Rib is, hands down, the most tender lamb I’ve tasted. As I slice it the meat with my knife, it melts away and falls off the bone. The pairing of the pickled heirloom carrot and the lime kosho adds a one-two punch of freshness to the dish which helps cut through the richness of the lamb.
After all the heavy flavours of the mains, we have a refreshing palate cleanser in the form of yoghurt sorbet, raspberry granita and tarragon oil.
Dessert comes in the form of a chestnut tart with shaved white chocolate and a hint of balsamic vinegar.
Unsurprisingly, LuMi has extended the Italian/Japanese fusion to the drinks list, carrying quite the range of Italian reds and whites, as well as several sakes from all over Japan. Sommelier Michela, who also happens to be the wife of Chef Federico and co-owner, has taken classic cocktails and added a creative twist to them.
The LuMi Bellini switches it up by adding a blend of raspberry and lychee to Prosecco, which results in a fruity refreshment.
For the most part, we are served in a friendly and polished manner. However, the service becomes slightly hurried towards the end of the meal as our table is needed for an eight o’clock booking. The staff does offer us the choice of sitting in the lounge area.
As you make your way along Wharf 10, you will spot the glass walls of the restaurant. Stepping inside, it’s inviting and stylish, the casual atmosphere makes guests feel at home. If you tilt your head, you’ll spot the trademark array of lumi hanging above.
LuMi is easily one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney – it’s innovative, approachable and affordable. Chef Federico has truly finessed the fine art of fusion cuisine.
This review was based on an independently paid for meal.
LuMi Bar and Dining
56 Pirrama Road