TOP 100 QUEST: LUME, South Melbourne
When Shaun Quade, JP Fiechtner and Sally Humble opened Lume last year they’re on record as saying they wanted it to be amongst the best restaurants in the world. Feichtner and Humble may have since left, but Quade is certainly doing a damn fine job of making that dream a reality. My meal at Lume was certainly one of the best – if not THE best (dare I say it!?) that I’ve had in Australia. Yes – this restaurant has me questioning my Top 3 of all time. Up there with the likes of Brae, Momofuku Sieobo and Orana, it has left me in a bit of a Top 3 quandary!
Lume is situated in adjoining terrace houses in South Melbourne – rumour has it, the site of a former burlesque lounge. With a rather humble exterior, it’s pretty easy to walk straight past it. Past the bar, the kitchen and some tables to the left, we were seated in the large back room. Being lunch time, it was nice and bright, and great for photos.
With his business partners having left, head chef Shaun Quade, is now in full control and his experience at the Royal Mail Hotel, Quay, Urbane and Biota Dining has lain the foundations for him to create the magic that he’s serving up today. In the restaurant it’s degustation only but you can partake in a la carte in the front room/bar. To put it bluntly, you would have to be NUTS not to have the degustation. It’s $165 for the food and you’re required to pay in full when you book but I tell you, it’s worth every cent and more!
This degustation is bold and adventurous, with a few surprises along the way. As you enjoy each course, you wonder how the next could be any better… and then… somehow, it is! I’m not going to talk too much in detail about the food because I don’t want to give too much away but what I will say is that things are not always quite what they seem. The cheese that’s not really cheese, the lamb that looks more like a dessert, the baby corn that’s not, the berries that sometimes aren’t berries… And then there’s just sheer beauty and brilliance – that super-sexy cured egg yolk – I can’t stop staring at the photo, and just wait for the final showstopper dessert! I want to say so much more, but I’ll stop there… you would have to torture me, or offer me food. In fact, for those of you who don’t want to know any more, don’t even look at the photos below.
A few times during the afternoon, I was rendered speechless. Me – speechless – Unheard of! With a great wine list to match and faultless service by an excellent team, all I can say is well done Shaun and to all involved! This is first class dining.