Happy 2015, everyone!
I know there haven’t been many updates on Delectably Degusting, but K and I are working on it and hopefully will eat and write more in 2015!
Once upon a time, I could only afford to splurge on degustation menus for special occasions but with such a great valued degustation menu at LuMi bar and dining, I guess I can spoil myself a little more often. LuMi bar and dining offers an 8 course menu for $89 which I think is fantastic value for such delicious food. Prior to my visit, I was unsure of the mix of Italian and Japanese but I would say the food at LuMi was mostly Italian with just a hint of Japanese and it worked very well indeed.
We arrived at the restaurant in time before the sky was too dark dark and were able to appreciate the beautiful view around the wharf. With simplistic decor and pops of green and purple shades, the dining room was effortlessly appealing.
Snacks to start included chedddar sablee with shavings of cheddar cheese, bitter melon puree on a crumbly, shortcrust pastry. Then, a very thin and delicate salt and vinegar rice crisp; and finally, potato focaccia with butter and herbs.
The dish that was most obviously influenced by Japanese cooking style was the Italian chawanmushi, a steamed savoury egg custard.This version was smooth like it should be, and hints of Italian flavours from the cheese. I also enjoyed the raw enoki mushrooms which added a bit of texture and earthy flavour to the dish.
Trying to get every tiny bit of crab meat out of its shell is always a struggle but to my delight, this dish was heaven for lazy crab lovers. Described as sand crab, dulse, jerusalem artichoke puree and oyster powder, this dish was light and consisted of lots of fresh crab meat, and the crispy rice provided crunch against the otherwise soft textures.
The spelt ravioli has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention on various social media platforms and it lived up to expectations. Encased in very thin and delicate ravioli skin was perfectly balanced burnt butter and sweet pumpkin puree filling that exploded with flavour, all topped with aguyura (or sea urchin if you’re lucky) and chives. This was so beautiful, definitely my favourite of the night.
The next dish was also a pasta, chittara made with stinging nettle which had a wonderful bite to it. The chittara was served in an emulsion of silverbeet and mussel which packed a punch of flavour but was also too salty for me, and then finished off with crispy pork crumbs and fennel pollen. I’ve also seen photos of this dish being served with sea urchin.
My least favourite dish of the night was the eggplant covered with pistachio, served with roasted potatoes and bonito consomme. The soft eggplant by itself was again a bit salty, but nicely balanced when eaten with the consomme. However, I thought there was nothing special about this dish. If you be more optimistic, it’s not bad but just didn’t stand out from the rest of the dishes.
It wasn’t until we uncovered spinach until we saw a piece of local pig jowl topped with crunchy buckwheat that provided constrasting textures with the gelatinous meat. However, I found my piece to be too fatty so I ended up having to pick out the strings of meat.
LuMi’s palate cleanser, Evergreen, is actually one of their signature dishes. It consisted of shiso jelly at the bottom, lemon basil granita, mint meringue kisses, parsley and a quenelle of sorrel sorbet. Some may find this dish too herb-like and grassy, but it was so refreshing, just how a palate cleanser should be. My second favourite dish of the night.
I didn’t find the description of the dessert too exciting – milk ice cream, sour cherry, citrus sabayon, milk crumble, cocoa nibs, salted caramel – but I was pleasantly surprised. The sabayon was light but didn’t have the unenjoyable foamy texture (I’m not a fan of foamy food). The salted caramel and cocoa nibs provided richness, which was then offset by sour cherry and citrus flavours.
I totally overused the word “balanced” in this post but that was my main thought of the food at LuMi – well balanced in terms of both flavours and textures, always providing crunch against softness, and sweet against sour. Now I know which restaurant to recommend the next time someone asks for degustation with fantastic value!