LuMi is hidden off a wharf in Pyrmont, just a stone’s throw away from where the pyrmont growers markets are held. On Sundays your only option is the degustation menu, which is $95 per head without drinks. You can add matching drinks for an additional $80 per head. This set menu certainly does make it easier for the kitchen staff.
We started off with cocktails: and since I had run* 5km that morning, I thought I should follow up this healthy exercise with a celery tonic ($20):
Freshly pressed celery juice combined with Citron Vodka, Lemon, Agave and it is charged with tonic. This was really very refreshing with the lemon sharpness and celery flavour not being too overpowering. I should try and make this at home.
On the food front, we have a few palate cleansers.
Salt and vinegar rice crisps:
Breathe in at the wrong time and you get a whack of vinegar powder up the nose. Like one of those prawn crackers, except without the prawn.
Frozen Porcini brisee with blackberry powder:
The plate was cold, like it had been stored in the freezer. Well duh, I hear you think. Still it was a surprise. “Brisee” is like a shortcrust pastry, so I guess it was mainly butter and a bit of flour holding the porcini grounds together. It was a bit gritty. The freeze dried blackberry powder had the sharpness of the berry.
Frozen daikon with shredded dried squid:
I missed the explanation of what else bonded the squid to the daikon, but it was creamy. Not mayonnaise, perhaps cream. The dried squid had quite a fish-like taste; it reminded me a lot of Japanese bonito flakes.
You hear the word ‘parfait’ you seen the macaron, you think ‘sweet’. Nope, it’s ‘parfait’ as in liver parfait. I know that you can only make the macaron with sugar and egg whites, but it is an odd combination. Instead of sweet and sour; it’s sweet and savoury. I know the bits of paper say “Lumi” in fancy writing. But the stylised ‘lu’ when seen upside down really looks like something dreamt up by the golden arches. Sorry.
The egg custard had been flavoured with parmesan. The dashi stock very very faintly of lime.
I think that I had first encountered a ‘steamed egg custard’ at Whalen’s hotel; followed by a tofu and egg white one with scallops and asparagus at the Golden Century. That latter one was like eating fluffy clouds. This was…. almost plain. If I hadn’t known of the parmesan and the lime flavour, I don’t think I would’ve noticed either.
Spanner crab and kohlrabi:
Now this is why I want a mandolin. So I can shave my kohlrabi into paper thin strip of fettucine. The spanner crab was hidden under an egg white emulsion – which made everything creamy, and showed off the spanner crab. Those things are a pain to get the meat out of ~ as I remember when I was trying to make clam chowder. Or was it bouillabaisse? Something that involved me going to the Norwest fish shop.
Beetroot, black sesame, cream:
Salt baked beetroot with three sauces, black sesame seed emulsion, cream with goat cheese. At first, I was thinking how amazingly rich and creamy this was, and that I should try salt-baking a beetroot myself sometime. Someone declared it their favourite dish thus far, and that it brought back memories of eating black sesame pudding in Japan.
Ravioli, gruyere, porcini butter:
This was a single piece of ravioli, with a meltingly soft pasta casing and gruyere filling. There were raw swiss brown mushrooms as a topping, and the option of fresh shaved truffle for an additional $12. This was quite a meaty in mouthfeel dish; I wonder if braising the mushrooms in butter would have made it too rich? Certainly the raw swiss browns did add a lighter, non-buttery element to the dish.
Burnt Semolina Spaghetti, Quail, Marjoram:
Many people declared that this was their favourite dish. Perhaps because it was the first appearance of meat? Certainly the semolina spaghetti made the whole very hearty. The crispy garlic breadcrumbs gave a nice crunch and were very moreish.
Lamb rib, red miso, leek, lime kosho:
Meat off a lamb rib, no bone. The lamb had been marinated in the salty red miso and barbequed, giving a meltingling soft texture, with tasty crispy burnt bits. Noms. Wikipedia says that kosho is a kind of paste made from chilli peppers, yuzu peel and salt; in this case the lime peel replacing the yuzu fruit peel, which I don’t think you can get fresh in Australia. Kind of like a preserved lemon (lime) paste. That’s the little green blob on the plate. The leek had been shaped into a rectangle, just the inner tender part of vegetable.
Yuzu. Mandarin, Licorice, Wakame Powder:
The licorice had been used to flavour a meringue ‘crisp’ a startlingly black colour. Yuzu flavoured the white sorbet, mandarin flavoured the orange coloured sorbet. It almost looks like a just poached egg, nestling under a house of black slate. This was a really refreshing – yet another palate cleanser without being too acidic.
Ginger ice cream w/white chocolate foam, passionfruit powder & yoghurt crumble:
Don’t forget the scraped bits of sweet white chocolate. The ginger icecream also had bits of crystallised ginger that explode in your mouth with intense gingerness.
Lumi presents you with really interesting flavour combinations that make you wonder “How on earth did they do that?”. The enforced degustation menu on Sundays means that the kitchen can do all the complicated things in advance. The venue has gorgeous views during the daytime (although bring your sunglasses!). I would definitely be going again, and it works well as a special occasion venue.
street: Wharf 10, 56 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
Lunch: Fri-Sun, 1200-1430
Dinner: Fri-Sat 1800 – 2200; Wed, Thu, Sun: 1830-2200
* by “run” I mean half walk, half admire the view.