Contemporary Asian premium dining experience Luna Lu is the latest restaurant to make its home in the newly restored Campbell’s Cove, joining fellow newcomers PLOOS and Bay Nine Omakase, and the more established 6HEAD, at the waterfront dining destination. An offering that is set to rival the likes of China Doll or Mr Wong, Luna Lu looks offers a new, indulgent choice for long business lunches: a private, curtained upstairs area is ideal for high-profile guests or celebrities. The unsurpassable vista Luna Lu’s terrace offers of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House lends the venue a special, memorable quality.
No expense has been spared on the custom fit-out of the limestone-and-wood boned building, the impressive work of interior design firm DS17. Bespoke furniture rules inside and out; a collection of in-vogue rattan and gloss two-seaters and generously sized dining chairs in mustards, deep teal greens and blues, peppered with boldly shaped loungers and marble tables, and custom-made wooden grooved buffets and cabinets, finished in gloss black. Tables are painstakingly laid with hand-made ceramics, cutlery and chopsticks edged with gold and engraved with ‘Luna Lu’, above them hang pared-back gold and white lanterns, with a showstopper chandelier-size lantern commanding one of the two private dining rooms upstairs.
Commandeering the kitchen is Head Chef Lucas Doan, who has worked in high-end kitchens across Australia, and most recently Mr Wong, who has been given 100% creative freedom to develop a menu inspired by the flavours and favourite dishes of his own heritage, coming from a Chinese/Vietnamese background. The star of Doan’s show is an 180g Marble 9 Black Opal Striploin, (MB9) served on a bed of asparagus, drizzled with cold smoked soy and wasabi relish. Marble 9 is the most hard-to-find marble score, less than 1% of Wagyu cows.
Locally sourced high-quality Australian ingredients abound on the menu, including Appellation oysters from Merimbula, Mooloolaba Swordfish, Queensland Moreton bay bug, and beef from the Ranger Valley. Another highlight is the live Lobster Tank, which takes pride in place at the front of Luna Lu’s kitchen – customers can take their pick of a live Eastern Rock Lobster, and have it prepared with wok-fried Chinese yi mein noodles and dressed with Doan’s house-made Luna Lu XO sauce. Also in the tank are WA Shark Bay Green Abalone, which is braised in Japanese Saki with white seaweed and dashi (with the option to add 5g of Oscietra Caviar).
A brilliant pink Seafood Candied Fried Rice (XO Hokkaido scallops and prawns, beetroot fried rice, pickled cabbage and ginger) and the Wild Truffle Mushroom Spring Rolls (Wild shiitake, white fungus, Swiss brown and porcini mushrooms, premium-grade Italian black truffle served with truffle mayo and tamarind sauce) are also unmissable, while the Chocolate Brownie Pagoda is an Instagrammer’s dream; a chocolate Pagoda shaped shell encasing a warm chocolate brownie with crushed honeycomb, topped with chantilly cream and a raspberry and pomegranate sauce. For those wanting to leave it to the chef, Luna Lu offers a three-course set menu for $98 per person (min. 4 guests), or a larger set banquet menu for $150 per person (see set menu options on the website).
An extensive drinks list is led by a selection of Penfolds wine; the menu also offers the option of Chinese Yellow Wine, one of the oldest wines in the world, with a 2,500 year history. Each bottle comes in a beautiful encasing; an exquisite porcelain vessel, yours to take home to keep. A selection of Chinese distilled grain spirit Baijiu is also on offer, along with Sake and Japanese whisky options (including Asahi Dassai 45% Junmai Daiginjo Migaki).
Behind the drinks curation is accomplished mixologist Kenny Le, who cites his cocktail creations for Luna Lu as the mastered version of 15 years of experimentation. Le, a judge for the International Spirits Awards and Whiskey Live Australia, has woven Asian culinary touches throughout his cocktail list – his ‘Spicarita’ take on a margarita, features a Birds Eye (South East Asian) Chilli instead of a Jalapeno, his ‘Yuzoni’ take on a Negroni comes with a light and delicate Yuzu twist.
Limited Time Only – Japanese whisky flight – giving those new to the wonderful world of Japanese whisky a discovery opportunity: a triad of Nikka By the Barrel, Nikka Taketseru and Nikka Yoichi can be sampled for $49, or Suntory Chita, Suntory Hakushu or Suntory Hibiki Harmony for $79.
Dining Dome by Luna Lu, as an exciting addition for a limited time only on their terrace, is a striking, standalone Dome with panoramic views of the Bridge and Opera House, that’s available to be booked out privately, with a 5-course degustation set menu offering and VIVID-inspired cocktail (Tenshi’s Kiss: Japanese sake, blue curacao and sparkling water). The Dome is $150pp Wed, Thu and Sun, and $200pp Friday and Saturday (will continue beyond VIVID).