Lucy Liu

Hi Everyone. Sorry I have been MIA (missing in action for a while). I have accidentally locked myself out of this account by entering the incorrect password too many times >.<

I have since successfully recovered my account so here I am, back to blogging about my forking adventures and reproducing meals sampled. Today I would like to Lucy Liu.

Who is Lucy Liu? No she is not that famous Chinese Hollywood actress you are thinking of. She is an eclectic multicultural Asian eating & drinking space designed to cater for people wanting Asian sharing tastes with cool drinks in a buzzy, stylish and fun street food environment. She can be found at 23 OLIVER LANE Melbourne Vic 3000 in the same alley way right next to Coda.

This gal possess a quite understated exterior, with a red neon sign lit up in a dark alley way. Once Lucy opens up to you, you will see she has a lot of character. Inside you will find a long communal dining space, with a modern industrial feel. Here you can decide whether you would like to chill at the bar sipping on exotic cocktails, dining in the booths or long communal table.

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My other half and I dined at the kitchen bar. We got a full frontal view of chefs working their magic transforming raw ingredients into scrumptious bites.

Feed wise we opted for the let Lucy chose option, the 5 plates at $55 pp presents great value. We got to sample some of Lucy’s signature’s best selling below:
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Freshly shucked oysters for two

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Crab Croquet

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Crystal prawns and bamboo dumplings.

Lucy also fed us steamed flounders and some yummy Pork belly. We really like Lucy and think she may be the new Chin Chin (without having to wait upto 1hour for seats like you do at Chin Chin). Lucy’s little helpers (staff) were very attentive and friendly, overall a great dinning experience. Great dining space for all occasions.

It so nice to have my access back on this blogging community. Thanks for following and reading my post.

Modern Australian fine dining Attica

Attica Melbourne, currently number 21 on the World’s Top 50 and is now to be the best restaurant in Australia. The venue was located 74 Glen Eira Rd Ripponlea, VIC 3185.

Ben Shewry, the head Chef of this venue created his menu based on his belief that “food should have deeper meaning than just another item to consume; it can be evocative, emotional and thought provoking, appealing to all of the senses” with that Ben delivered a modern Australian Dining experience by using lots of fresh plants and herbs sourced straight from the Attica’s Garden.

I was intrigued with Attica when my girl friend Preet mentioned that the wait time to get a table was minimum of 3 months if you were lucky. She advised she tried to reserve a table for the pass six months without any luck. Weeks leading up to their birthday both Preet and Travis admitted they called the restaurant every second day to inquire about cancellations but to no avail. Preet explained the reason it was so hard to get in was because the restaurant only release a booking opportunity on the first day of each one for booking 3 months in advance. Upon further reading I was even more enthralled to learn that some people have been on the waiting list for seven months. We were very fortunate to have been shortlisted and was able to secure a table of 4 to celebrate Preet’s upcoming birthday. I would like to use this thread to share our experience here and tips on how to be shortlisted and securing a table.

For those who were curious as to why the wait time was so long. It was because the venue itself was quiet small and can only sit a cozy 40 to 50 people maximum. As we entered we were greeted by the open bar, matte black walls, tables draped with fresh white linen and dimmed spot lights shining over the tables. The restaurant was quiet low key but had a world class vibe to it. We were surrounded by tables of executives and businessmen. Not to name drop or anything but *cough* John *cough* Elliot casually dined behind us. 😉

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(Double click image to zoom)

As we sat, placed in front of us were a bowl of Quandong seeds. Hungry and curious I quickly popped one in my mouth thinking they were exotic nuts of some sort when a waiter rushed over to me advising “Oh no NO, you cannot eat those Miss. They were used for decorations only” *Face palm* Preet, Trav and Fedja laughed at my expense. In the same picture we were presented with a bowl of whipped olive oil and smoked chestnut, sea salt and Jersey house churned butter, creamy thick and flavor enriched the butter was amazing spread over the House Made Rye Sour Dough.

Trav and Preet went the the pairing wine selection with their degustation, while Fedja and myself decided to pace our drinks as Fedja had to drive and I wanted the cocktail option.

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Our thoughts were provoked when the waiter placed the platter of Crème Fraîche, Alpine pepper & lemon myrtle dip paired w/mustard leaves onto the table. Such unusual elements, just leaves on dried branches, the four of us were puzzled. Our observant helpful waitress smiled and advised “you can eat the whole thing dipped in Crème Fraîche”. It was interesting, soft Crème Fraîche with crunchiness of the leaves and its stalk, combination of the two delivered a fresh fulfilling bush tucker like feed.

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Our second appetizer came in a form of baby corn steamed in its own layers with butter and spices. This is was a fresh awakening to the tastebuds

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I was so happy when they brought out this dish. This was what Attica was famous for, a sampler of Ben’s Shewry’s famous Plight Of Bees desert (featured on Masterchef) paired with frozen cheese curd this dish was so exciting and a joy to eat. (Chefs and bloggers around the world flew here for this)

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The Wallaby Black Pudding Pikelets, Foam and Flowers: the black pudding made of Wallaby blood and buckwheat base, its texture was soft and fluffy almost spongecake like. To me it tasted like a bite sized meat pie. The table erupted in laughter when I thought that out loud.

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snowcrab

Snow Crab and Sorrel, another signature plate of Ben’s. An understated dish waiting to be discovered. At first glance it was easy to mistake this for a vegan dish. As glossy green leaf was lifted the hidden gem found underneath consisted of tender, juicy fresh snow crab flesh with its flavor enhanced by a tangy mandarin gel.

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Marron and Ground Green Crayfish tail accompanied by ground kale, tarragon and chicken with onion and pork fat puree. A light yet fulfilling dish with rich savory flavor.

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Salted Red Kangaroo and Bunya Bunya salted kangaroo cured by garden fresh citrus vinaigrette juice with Bunya Bunya roots. Similar to a beef Carpaccio.

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Minted Potato,Medium rare well cooked potato served on a bed of curd cheese and butter. A humbling dish

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King Gorge Whiting in Paperbark this dish was a perfect representation of Australian dinning as it utilized a traditional Aboriginal paperbark cooking technique.

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Under the layer of Paperbark laid a juicy tender strip of Port Arlington Whiting marinated with butter, sea parsley and lemon myrtle. Slowly grilled over a mallee root charcoal, just simply delish!

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Pork, Rotten Corn and Lemon Aspen. I found this dish a bit of a let down as the elements did not gel well with the meat.

We were offered a break from meal and given a garden tour of Attica.

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to our right were the herb garden of fresh organic herbs used in our meals.

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Straight ahead of us were a little camp fire, it was raining so we hovered by the fire to keep warm. Our lemon and myrtle tea was served to us a man dressed as an early settler Australian, but his accent gave him away and he was grilled by Preet and Trav, thanks to their detective work we found out he was actually Canadian. (Sneaky, sneaky). Feeling duped we made our way back into the restaurant.

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Marshmellow Anzac biscuits. Preet loved it so much she asked for seconds before heading back inside.

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Whilst the boys took their time (re touching their make up 😉 ) in the restrooms. Preet and I sneaked in a selfie

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Pears and Maidenii. A tantalizing palette cleanser tasted like a frozen yogurt with fresh fruit and herbs. It was gone in sixty seconds

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The Industrious Beet Mixture of shredded coconut,cheese curd, honey comb and mandarin gel this dish gave me a bit of a deja vu of the earlier Plight Of Bees Appetizer.

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Our last surprise was the Pukeko egg. White chocolate egg shells with Caramel fillings. Preet was petrified and refused to eat it as she thought it was a real egg, it was quiet hilarious.

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After 5 hours of dining we decided to get the bill.

****The Verdict***
Very friendly staff with helpful explanation of what you are eating, where it was sourced, how to eat it (lots of unusual greens).
Casual, cultured and humble ambiance.
Can be pricey
I high recommend going with a group of 4 or with someone you really like as you will be sharing dining space with them for 3-4 hours.
A good dining experience, highly recommended

********How to get a table*******

Currently waiting list for Attica is 3 months for weekdays and 7 months for weekends.
Don’t waste your time on phone booking as most times the lines are engaged.
To get a table at last minute one way is to follow Attica on Twitter, As they will normally notify of table availability due to last minute cancellations there.
Their booking system will not allow you to book any earlier than 3 months. You can only book on the first day of each month
But you can send email booking to meet@attica.com.au Clearly state the date you are hoping to reserve in subject.
Be polite to the reservations team, introduce yourself. As they shortlist people who are travelling, bloggers, foodie.
You will need to leave your credit card details to secure booking.

Photo Credit: Preet Samra. Taken with Samsung S4.

High Tea at 1881 Hulett Heritage House – Hong Kong

Up until 1996 Hulett House was used as a Marine Police headquarter, fast forward to 2014 this building had been revamped into a heritage hotel which featured a shopping mall, exhibition hall and a haven for high tea lovers.

This hidden gem, the creme building (next to DIOR) was located at 2A Canton Road behind the concrete jungle of luxury designer boutiques of Tsim Sha Tsui.


Source: Google maps (double click to zoom)

Once we entered the site we then took the escalator up, walk around the corner and up a set of stairs, here we found a historic yet contemporary site that took our breaths away.

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Source: Trip Advisor

On the long balcony overlooking the exhibition hall, and peaceful court yard where patrons retreat to distant themselves to the hustle and bustle of the busy shopping chaos of Tsim Tsa Tsui.

the parlour

This place is called the Parlour

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This court yard was a wedding photo shoot hot spot. We saw about 4 weddings time we were there.

As we patiently waited in the queue for our seat the staff advised us there were no seating available outside. Even though we saw 3 empty tables, when I challenged the waiter he said they were reserved and made us wait a while longer. It was only when I asked to speak to a manager the waitress escorted us into the bar.

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Source: Hulett House banner

Here a waiter hurriedly threw a drinks menu at us.

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Taken with Iphone 4, No filter.
My partner ordered a Hennessy X.O and I ordered water that never arrived. Only when questioned they advised they do not serve water here. How’s that for a service.

We waited about 30 minute to order some High tea but was advised High tea has finished they could only served us sandwiches.

We left The Parlour quiet disappointed at the poor service, pretentiously priced food and drinks (spent about $130 for one drink and plate of sandwiches and bar nibbles)

We proceed to explore the site by making our way downstairs to left side the court yard. It was here we discovered 1881 cafe. I noticed people had 2 tier platter on their table displaying colorful samples of finger food. Even though I was fed not-so-long ago my eyes were glued to the food, my tummy rumbled, my mouth salivated as if I had been starved for days. I skipped across the yard and started a light conversation with the waiter to find out what people were having. The waiter advised afternoon tea have finished but he is happy to serve us. Yay! All the negative experience at The Parlour were immediately replaced with a positive one with 1881 Cafe.

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We had a set high tea menu as pictured above with 2 coffees and a coke, this only cost us $54. And service was exceptional.

**** The Verdict****

For a piece of historic Hong Kong I would highly recommend visiting 1881 Heritage House. I would strongly advise to stay away from the Parlor due to the poor service, and overpriced food and drinks. Prior to writing this comment I visited Trip Advisor to ensure that I am not giving the restaurant a bad feed back based on a one-off experience, I realized we were not alone, others have experienced the same treatment.
I highly recommend the 1881 cafe as the service was amazing. The High tea is fresh and delicious, the drinks did not come with a pretentious price tag and food were served in bounty.

Vue De Monde – a sky high dining experience

It was Fedja’s 28th birthday, to celebrate the special day I reserved a table with Vue De Monde (VDM) simply because we both shared the same passion for food and experiences. I tried to book this restaurant previously but often it was booked out. So for this occasion I decided to book well in advance (3 weeks prior) for dinner to avoid disappointments.

Vue de Monde is a modern Australian with a bit of French influence fine dining restaurant owned by the talented Author, Chef Shannon Bennett. The venue was located on the 55th floor of the Rialto tower on Collins street, as we entered the building we saw a cafe on the ground floor (and thought it was the actual restaurant *face palm*), when we advised a passer-by we were there for Vue de Monde he helped guided us around the corner to the concierge, who confirmed our booking and escorted us to the private elevator. The lift accelerated so fast it made my stomach turn as if I was at a theme park on a high adrenaline ride. The transporter stopped at level 54 and we had to be guided into another lift to take us level 55.

The lift doors opened like a portal to distant realm. We were greeted by the dimmed wine cellar hallway displaying an extensive variety of exotic alcoholic glass bottles. Yes! I was cloud 9 or shall I say cloud 55, I was over stimulated but maintained a poker face as we walked through to the dining area, mesmerized in the rustic Bush tuckered Australian themed space, for a minute I had completely forgotten I was in Melbourne CBD. My eyes were drawn to the orange L.E.D shaped vines on the matte black walls, dimmed Edison orbs hung from the roof looked like little stars and planets in the dark skies, the ambiance was quite modern and space age. Our table, made out of patches of kangaroo leather, big enough to sit 6 people were dedicated to just the two of us.

Scattered on our table were river stones that cleverly double as salt and pepper-shakers, butter serving vessels and cutlery holders. The Roo skin also made another appearance on our fluffy armchairs. As I placed my bag on the table the waitress quickly brought over a stool for my bag, (how was that for service!) Snacks arrived in bounty: hand cut chips with whipped onion cream, truffle marshmallow, Salt cured wallaby, fresh sucked oysters, smoked eel on white chocolate and caviar. (Click on image to zoom)

The waiter in black tie handed us the wine list, but with the novel so intense we opted for the Sommelier’s choice. In a charming French accent he recommended us the Frankland Estate Poison Hill 2011. The red wine had a crisp start but with a smooth sweetness to the back of the palate and after the first sip Fedja and I both agreed it was a good choice.

It was quite a theatrical site the way waitress rolled our cured wallaby (baby Kangaroo), cooked by rock salt with a pair of chopsticks. It tasted like beef carpaccio.

Our first course was presented to us like a delicate fine art. Simple, colorful and almost too pretty to be eaten. There were not many ingredients in this dish however it did not fail to intrigue our curious taste buds. In one bite I consumed the prawn’s head, creamy caviar sauce bursted onto my palate as the crispy prawn cracker like head dissolved in my mouth. The prawn was soft and smokey, again was consumed in a single bite.


Our next course was presented in a rather Heston Blumenthal-esque contraption, our chef called it a Conar. The device was actually made for brewing coffee, VDM transformed it into a vessel and made the most amazing Melbourne onion soup with it. In front of us was a bowl containing several textures of onion, Gruyère cheese foam, a Comte cheese tuille and a brioche crumb. After our onion soup base was filtered through the top layer of the Conar it was infused with fresh onions, herbs and aromatics. This sweet smelling compound was then poured into our bowls. This simple yet complicated dish was possibly one of the most outlandish soup I have slurped in my entire life.

I was still blown away by the onion soup food science concept when our waitress presented us with the next dish. Pan seared Barramundi fillet with cucumber, pineapple sage , nettle, young garlic and prawns. This seafood dish was light and refreshing, the young garlic gave the whole dish bit of a zing.

Next up was the Western Australian Marron with tarragon brown butter and pork floss. The waiter advised for a true experience to use our fingers to drag the Marron onto the soft butter and rip it apart with our teeth rather than using cutleries. This dish turned our formal dining into a lot of fun dining, it brought out and inner child in us, as Fedja and I were playing with our food as if we were children again.

Suddenly, Our Christolfe cutleries were removed from us. NOoOOoo! Was that it? it surely cannot be the end of our culinary adventure, way too short, we wanted more. Fedja and I started to recall and count how many dishes we had been through to ensure we had experienced ten.


As we ponder over whether not our dining journey had come to an end. Our waitress delivered us each a mortar and a pestle. She advised us to grind our fresh herbs and flowers while a male waiter poured liquid nitrogen to freeze the ingredients as I grind. I was then instructed to add the cucumber sorbet to the frozen power. This dish was designed to cleanse our gustatory cells in preparation for the next dish. Yay there were still more to come (thank goodness I wore a dress, Fedja had to sneakily loosen his belt buckle under the table)

Up next we had Pigeon with chestnut, amp and quince. The pigeon claws intimated us a little bit, however the juicy tender pigeon meat made up for it.


If the prawn cracker was fine art, then this plate would be the food masterpiece. Rich and fatty Blackmore wagyu seared at our table over a portable charcoal BBQ, paired with beetroot, salt bush and black truffle. This dish tapped all the right spots both taste and tummy wise.

We took a much needed break to enjoy the romantic 360 degrees panoramic view of Melbourne city lights.

Sorry I couldn’t wait for Fedja to take pictures of this, I started to dig into this 3 layers desert of Chocolate soufflé, chocolate mousse and crème anglaise as soon as it was presented. It was yummolicious!

White chocolate Pipi shells, see if you can pick the real shells apart from the actual desert.

Petit-fours Rum and bourbon jelly coins

Lamington and eucalyptus ice pops, again I apologize to have performed a taste test prior to taking the picture >.<


Fedja’s birthday cake oh and what the eucalyptus ice pop looked like before I took a chunk out of it (*^u^ *)

As our night came to an end we were handed a little bag containing brioche, muesli, tea, honey and everything you needed for breakfast the morning after. I thought it was cool to take a piece of VDM home and reminisce over breakfast the next day.

The verdict: At $200-$250 per head or $500 per head for premium matching wines, I wouldn’t recommend frequenting for lunch or dinners daily, weekly or monthly unless you have lots of spare change. I would highly recommend Vue De Monde for special occasions such as proposal dinner, birthdays and anniversaries for memories that would last you a lifetime. As their attention to details service here is second to none. Dining at VDM is more about the culinary, nostalgic experience rather than the food itself. It was a restaurant of great beauty, depth and inspiration. However if your loved ones prefers a hearty feed, don’t take them here as it will be a waste of time and money as most of the proportions served were bite size. Our experience had been a very pleasant one and we look forward to returning for an anniversary in the years to come.

***Did you know***

The total cost of setting and fitting out this restaurant was about $10 million Australian dollars?!
The Christofle Jardin d’Eden cutlery cost $4100 per 36 pieces set.
The twigs used to rest cutleries on were 10 years old grape vines sourced from Penfolds Grange vineyard
The bread used are made fresh in-house daily
The Echire butter served were imported by Shannon Bennett himself from France.