Japanese and Italian restaurants seem to be on every street corner you look. Restaurants that bring these two cuisines together however are far less common. After eating at the two hat fine dining restaurant Lumi however, you may well begin to ask why not! The restaurant is located by Pyrmont Pier, which provided us with amazing views of the water and boats. We came here for Valentine’s Day, which made for a lovely occasion to remember.
To whet our appetites we started with some drinks while we waited for the flow of food. We order a glass of Red – the 2013 Village Pinot Noir from Gembrook Hill in the Yarra Valley – and a cocktail – the Coco Rosie – a deliciously rich cocktail with citrus, coconut and rose notes. The waiter then explained our 8 course degustation menu to us and we began!
We started with some amuse bouche, which is always an exciting part of the meal. Some grilled baby corn with pericino grated over has a nice char and was presented inside it’s original husk! There was also a dainty italian style ‘pork sandwich’ which contained some flavoured pork tartare sandwiched between layers of a thin wheat crisp and with some avocado puree. This second amuse bouche was particularly delicious – I would loved to eat 20 of these! The flavour of the pork was spot on.
This was another beautifully presented amuse bouche. It was a savoury japanese egg custard flavoured with scallop broth and topped with caviar. The custard was delightfully smooth and practically melted as soon as it entered my mouth. The saltiness was not overpowering and the pop from the caviar added some nice texture variation.
Still in the ‘snack’ phase, we then moved onto the bread. Straight from the oven, the bread broke apart beautifully and was delicious with the subtly sweetened whipped mascarpone that spread easily over the warm bread. It was one of my favourite breads that I have been served in a fine dining restaurant, it literally tasted like a croissant and was beautifully presented!
Finally onto the actual meal, the first course was the Bonito with feta and fermented cucumber. Previously, i had only ever consumed bonito in it’s ‘flake’ form with japanese snack foods so was curious to try it in it’s full form. The bonito had a mild flavour that balanced well with the similarly mild flavours of the feta and fermented cucumber. There were also some slivers of jalepeno in the dish that added a subtle zing. Overall, this was a great dish to get the tastebuds tingling!
The second course was the miso-strone, a japanese twist on the traditional italian minestrone. When I saw the dish being prepared in the kitchen the mass of multi-coloured balls led me to believe that we were being served some sort of fruit salad. The lovingly scooped balls of a variety of vegetables were served in a miso broth poured at the table which kept the vegetables nice and crisp. I am normally wary of vegan food as it often does not have enough flavour for my liking but this dish exceeded my expectations!
The previous mildly flavoured dishes got our tastebuds warmed up nicely for the round of pasta dishes. The third course was the Mushroom Agnolotti with mushroom and rye. Upon biting into these little parcels of pasta the rich mushroom reduction burst and coated your mouth with a delicious layer of creamy goodness. By the time i finished with the four little parcels it felt like my mouth had just received a warm hug!
The fourth course was the Tagliolini with Scorpion fish and capsicum. It moved away from heavy creaminess of the Agnolotti and towards lighter seafood flavours. The knot of tagliolini pasta was flavoured with little chunks of Scorpion fish and topped with crisp flakes that added added some crunch to the dish. The Scorpion fish flesh was nice and firm with a subtle flavour that worked well with the sweetness of the capcisum.
The fifth course was the wagyu with carrot and chilli koshu, it was the only meat dish in the degustation. The braised waygu had the right amount of marbling to make sure it was nice and juicy without overpowering the outer glaze. It came served with a little Chilli Koshu paste that added a nice kick – but stay away if you don’t like the heat as it was quite spicy! It also came with a carrot puree and grilled pepper and was dusted with some matcha powder. Each element of this dish came together beautifully and in harmony. The rich fattiness from the meat, the spice from the koshu, the sweetness from the puree – absolute heaven!
Next we moved onto the desserts. The sixth course was the Granny Smith Apple and it was certainly a unique dish. It started with a granny smith apple that was hollowed out. That hollowed out apple was then then made into a puree almost sorbet concoction which was then chilled. The outer apple shell then acted as the encasing for the puree. The puree was delicious and fresh and as you dug down you were rewarded with some cream that added a nice richness.
I’m not sure if it was intended, but i also enjoyed eating the apple itself – it was nice and cold and has a great crunch to it! The waitress had a bit of a giggle when they took our plates away because an apple was eaten, I guess not a lot of the guests can bear to eat a frozen apple!
This seventh course was the douglas fir rhubarb with olive oil, it was a scoop of ice cream that was infused with douglas fir which gave it a unique herbal flavour. The ice cream sat on top of a tart rhubarb reduction and a little dollop of olive oil sat inside an indent in the top of the ice cream. This was definitely one of the more unique desserts that i’ve had. The olive oil flavour came out strongly and worked surprisingly well with the dish without adding too much richness.
To close the dining experience the eight and final course was slices of watermelon that had been infused with Yuzu. The watermelon had taken on a strong yellow colour and was a delicious way to reset the pallet after the entire degustation.
At $115 for eight courses, this was one of the best value degustations going around in not only Sydney but Australia. The unique blend of flavours is not something I’ve ever experienced before and the service was excellent. It made for a fantastic dining experience!