Shining a Light on the Obscure
Claim to fame: Australia’s most daring diner
Reason to go: Gastronautic thrills
To look out for: Great drinks and snacks at the bar
It’s not every restaurant that cites Flaubert on its website. “Be regular and orderly in your life,” quoth the master, “so that you may be violent and original in your work.” What exactly does this have to do with dinner? At Lûmé it’s about a polished front-of-house offer and crisp technique married with wild ideas. It turned more than a few heads when it opened in 2015 offering the likes of smoked cow’s udder and calamari guts, and it hasn’t looked back since.
This is the restaurant, after all, that did a special one-off dinner in collaboration with a perfumer that took diners on an eight-course tour of the smells of Australia, region by region. If you’re looking for comfort food, Lûmé might not be the restaurant for you.
If, on the other hand, you’re adventurously inclined, you’ll feel right at home here. Menus are offered under three headings; A Proposition (an easy four or five courses, salt-grass lamb cooked in olive caramel and barbecued greens among them), An Incitation (eight to 10 courses, with the more provocative likes of grilled octopus with sea urchin garum and kohlrabi in the mix), and The Road, “the complete Lûmé experience” which kicks off with a sea-corn taco, then a seaweed-cured scallop and ice-cold geranium, trips through another dozen or so courses to conclude with Meyer lemon and leaf on an almond cloud, and “a simple piece of vanilla”. (Hint: it’s not that simple.)
Opt for the pairing and the drinks will be a just as outré. That grilled octopus is teamed with red wine made on the volcanic slopes of the Canary Islands, while the yellow wine of the Jura and a junmai genshu sake from Ishikawa are offered as complement to abalone simmered with rice and emu ham. Even the alcohol-free beverage options are dubbed “dry, but far from boring”.
Bread and butter? How about potato bread and eel honey? Ice-cream? Let’s make it with olive oil. Crab? Sounds like a good thing to turn into custard.