A little background: In 2015, a terrace house in South Melbourne that was formerly home to a burlesque club was overtaken by Shaun Quade and Mr Harry. They set about creating a venue with the bones and soul of a restaurant but with a theatrical and multi-sensory approach.
With a deep respect for produce and technique, Lume’s team share an unrelenting desire to experiment. They honor tradition, yet at the same time are hell-bent on building their own.
Starting out young, Shaun formed his skills in the kitchens of acclaimed Australian restaurants such as Quay, Biota and Royal Mail, where he earned a reputation as a pastry wizard. As he refined his craft over the following years, Shaun’s involvement in the creative process has gained widespread recognition within the hospitality industry and led to the opening of his first restaurant, South Melbourne’s Lûmé, at the age of 32.
Known for his interdisciplinary and open-minded approach to modern cooking, Shaun is not just fascinated by what’s presented on the plate. He’s inspired by the process it took to get there, and how that translates into providing a multidisciplinary, sensory experience for Lûmé’s diners.
My visit: Like some degustations, the menu wasn’t given to us before the meal as it helped keep an element of surprise.
Our adventure began with the sea corn taco. The sea corn had a soft texture with sweet crab notes. The cured camel hump was also soft and unctuous in texture while sweet on the palette, the marjoram brought both ingredients together with a grassy punch.
My favorite had to be the pearl on the ocean. We were recommended to eat the pearl first. I popped the whole thing in my mouth! The shell was slightly sweet and crunchy, and once it was broken, it gave away to an ice cream center. Hidden underneath the seaweed and succulent was a lightly smoked native angasi oyster that was fat and juicy. The salty gel and foam as well as the Korean chili sauce added many contrasts to the dish and brought an amazing flavor experience. It was truly a taste of the sea.
The sourdough was hugely satisfying and the honey and butter served on the side were made from burnt barley flour and a little fresh goats milk cured rolled in eel ash creating subtle, savory and a mild smokey fish flavor.
The calamari was meltingly tender and delicious. The carrot intensified the flavor of the sauce and the honey added a sweet component to the dish.
The gorgeously plated salt grass lamb was succulently tender and the rich au jus added astounding depth to the dish. I loved the sweet garlic which was poached in milk and mixed with lamb fat to give it moisture and creaminess.
For dessert, we were served a Meyer lemon mousse which was sweeter and less acidic in flavor compared to regular lemons. The mousse was encased in a delicate candy shell and it was paired beautifully with a soft pillowy almond meringue.
Verdict: I had suspected that Lume was going to be good, I had not expected it would surpass my expectations. Each dish came with a story or an extra sensory stimulus. It was indeed a flawless meal that I’d be happy to pay over and over again.
Happy eating 🙂
226 Coventry St, South Melbourne VIC 3205, Australia
+61 3 9690 0185