Since opening late in 2014, LuMi Bar & Dining has been on my radar for a while. I’d seen lots of photos on Instagram and heard about the awesome pasta dishes, so when my birthday rolled around earlier this year (yes, this is a very delayed post!), I requested to have my birthday dinner at LuMi.
The cuisine is a unique blend of Japanese and Italian influences, brought on by head chef Federico Zanellato’s training both at Ryugin in Tokyo and Ormeggio at the Spit. There is an option of an a la carte menu, but we decided to go with the 8 course tasting menu which was only $95pp.
The restaurant is located where the old Ripples at Sydney Wharf used to be – right on the pier overlooking Pyrmont Bay and facing Metcalfe park. The glass walls of the restaurant let in lots of natural light during the day, but be warned that it does get quite dark at night so apologies for the declining photo quality as the night goes on!
We start with a plate of four snacks which are perfect mouthfuls to whet the appetite. My favourite was the cheese tartlet with corn – a classic flavour combination. The rice chips with salt and vinegar were also interesting wafer-like rice paper sheets that melted in the mouth, just leaving the salt and vinegar flavour behind.
The next course is chawanmushi, a silky smooth egg custard flavoured with tomato and parmesan. Sir D commented that it tasted like exactly like pizza, and it totally did!
The white cucumber dish is pretty as a picture, and has discs of white cucumber, apple and radish interspersed on a bed of sour cream in a cucumber flavoured liquid. It was a cooling and refreshing dish, cleansing the palate for the next dish to come.
The veal tartare comes out like a painting on a plate, with finely chopped veal mixed with chopped roasted capsicum, on a vividly green tarragon emulsion. Puffed buckwheat is sprinkled on top of the veal to add a nutty flavour and texture, and there’s a hint of spice from the addition of togarashi pepper.
The spelt ravioli is my favourite dish of the night. The delicate parcels of pasta are filled with a pumpkin puree, and drizzled in a burnt butter sauce which coats each raviolo. There’s a bit of avruga caviar to top off the dish.
The second pasta dish is a squid ink spaghetti alla chitarra. I’m a bit sceptical about the orange bueere blanc sauce, but it actually goes really well with the other elements and accentuates the sweetness of the raw scampi. Sardinian bottarga shaved over the top adds a salty flavour to the dish.
Although we initially had pork jowl listed on the menu, we were told that this had been replaced by beef cheeks for the night. Fine by us, as these beef cheeks are slow braised, rendering them soft and unctuous. They’re served with a cos lettuce and spinach puree, and pickled carrots to cut through the richness.
One of LuMi’s signature dishes, Evergreen, was the first of the sweet dishes. The vivid green colours come from the use of herbs to create this dish. There’s sorrel sorbet, lemon basil granita, mint meringues, shiso jelly, and parsley salt, all combining to make a refreshing palate cleanser before the final dessert dish.
The final course is a ginger ice cream with white chocolate foam, passionfruit powder and yoghurt crumble. Despite the white chocolate, the dessert remains not too sweet and has a nice balance of textures and flavours. I’m not usually a fan of ginger but this ice cream was creamy and smooth with just a little kick of ginger spice to it.
At only $95pp, I thought that the tasting menu at LuMi was great value and all the dishes were executed really well. When I told people later that LuMi served Japanese x Italian food, they looked at me in a puzzled way but all the elements had been combined together really well to make some really unique dishes. I wouldn’t hesitate to come back again – especially for those pastas!
LuMi Bar & Dining
56 Pirrama Road
Pyrmont NSW 2009
Ph: +61 2 9571 1999
Lunch: Friday to Sunday, noon to 2.30pm
Dinner: Wednesday to Sunday, 6pm to 10pm