I AM a bit sceptical of crowd-funding, especially when it involves middle-aged men subsidising films they want to see. Does the world really need Debbie does Dalkeith, Red Dog versus Predator or Kath and Kim: Confessions of a Sanitary Towel.
For better or worse, new noodle bar Lucky Chan’s was a $100,000 crowd-funded baby, conceived in a test-tube on the internet.
In terms of aesthetics, the funds have been well spent, and Chan’s three-level restaurant has been stylised to within an inch of its life: kitsch neon, exposed brickwork, industrial lights and a funky, dimly-lit bar.
Despite the onslaught of Melbourne chic, the styling never feels forced, and the designers pull off that difficult trick of whisking you away from spreadsheets and pencil sharpeners on your lunch break.
We climb the narrow flight of stairs and emerge in a stunning rooftop bar, where tables are packed tighter than Magic Mike’s briefs.
The menu includes ramen, dumplings, nibbles (szechuan peanuts, crispy pigs ears), oriental mains (Thai yellow fish curry, roast pork belly) and desserts.
We ordered the Danny Ramen ($15.90), the prawn and snapper ($13), sticky beef shin ($14) dumplings, and the lamb bao wow ($7).
Lunch service was borderline slow but the waitress was friendly and did have to climb three flights of stairs from the ground-floor kitchens.
My Danny Ramen, the house speciality, featured szechuan pork mince, buttered corn, spring onion and bean sprouts.
When I picked up the wooden ladle and stirred the ingredients into a messy swamp of colours, the flavours blended into a satisfying whole—like looking at a Jackson Pollock after two glasses of wine.
It had a nice warmth—I selected 15 on the spice scale of 1 to 20—and was comforting on an autumn day.
The boa wow (think a steamed bun sandwich) were the standout: mizo glazed lamb was jolted into life by a pickled orange and carrot relish—delicious.
The freshly made prawn and snapper dumplings tasted decadent and included squid ink shao mai and caviar.
Meanwhile, the sticky beef shins were super-addictive, like dainty blobs of heroin, mitigating the thought of going back to the office.
Chan’s had a stylish bar, selling cocktails, wine, beer and Asahi ($10.5) on tap!
The food was good, without being wow, and the prices very reasonable.
Atmosphere is the real winner, which is good, as some Perth restaurants have all the charm of a multiplication table.
You can’t deny the feel-good factor at Chan’s, and a fortune cookie, containing a tongue-in-cheek proverb, was a fitting epilogue to our meal.
by Stephen POLLOCK
Lucky Chan’s laundry and noodle bar
311 William St, Northbridge