From cafe, to bakery, to restaurant, Sydney’s Luxe seems intent on TAKING OVER THE WORLD. Okay, maybe I’ve been watching one too many action movies, but you get the idea.
Luxe started from a little cafe in Westfield’s Bondi, and then proceeded to open a bakery in Newtown to control the quality of the baked goods they serve. And now, they’ve moved on to restaurants, opening the first one in Singapore earlier this year, and now a beautiful location in Woollahra accented in white and gold.
And with Chef Chui Lee Luk on board – whom I had previously met at Asia Town – I jumped at the invite to sample their new winter menu.
We started off with Grilled Octopus with Chui’s XO Sauce. Tender pieces of octopus are balanced with cooked capsicum, and Chui’s take on the omnipresent XO sauce that is used everywhere in Asian cooking. Traditionally, XO sauce is made with dried shrimp, scallops, chinese dried ham, chilli, garlic and ginger (amongst the bazillion other ingredients that could be in there). Here, Chui uses bacon instead of chinese ham to echo the other parts of the Luxe menu that already uses bacon.
And really, there’s always a reason to use bacon.
For mains, we were served up the Roasted Barramundi, Plum Pickled Eggplant and Ginger Butter Sauce, and Balsamic Glazed Duck to share.
And of course, veggies, because…something something balanced diet.
Chui has extensive experience as a chef and an intimate understanding of Asian ingredients, and it definitely shows in the conception and execution of this menu. The umeboshi (Japanese plum) pickled eggplant delivered pops of tartness which made the Roasted Barramundi incredibly more-ish, and the slaw and broccoli lightened up the rich, dark balsamic glazed duck.
And even though we ate SO MUCH – I can’t help myself – I actually walked away still feeling light and food coma-free! Even with a Pear and Apple Tart for dessert, it was a nice kind of full. I would have liked to see more Asian elements from Chui given that I know how well she can manipulate the ingredients, but it’s really decent food in very posh surroundings. I really liked how they married the “luxe” decor with a relaxed cafe style service, and a menu that sits somewhere in-between.
If this is the winter menu, I really need to go back and have a look at their lunch!