If you’ve dined at Bondi Beach’s Raw Bar, you’ll know tables are hot property. After almost 30 years of serving locals some of Sydney’s freshest sashimi – alongside famously excellent views – it’s become a beachside institution. In 2021, in an attempt to keep up with demand and expand its repertoire, the team launched RND (Raw Next Door), an izakaya-style bar that opens in the evenings in the group’s Bondi cafe, Harry’s. Now, there’s a new member of the Raw family: Lulu.

“People keep on asking if [Lulu is] an Asian-fusion restaurant,” Jonna Kristiansson, the group’s operations manager, tells Broadsheet. “And I say no, it’s not fusion – we are sticking to our guns here – it’s pan-Asian.”

The new restaurant and bar is just down the road from its siblings, tucked away on Hall Street. While it might not have the same sparkly ocean views, the charming golden-hued room makes up for it. Behind the fit-out is local designer Petra Ryberg from Design Studio Berg, who is also responsible for the latest revamp of Raw Bar. The walls are painted a plush pink, interrupted by a series of sconces. Perch up at the curvaceous marble bar or slink into the plush banquette seating – either way, it’s a space you’ll want to settle in and linger for a while. And the menu is designed for doing just that.

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Dishes, intended for sharing, have been designed by Lulu executive chef Shintaro Honda (former head chef at Raw Bar) and head chef Bryan O’Callaghan. Japanese-style favourites you’d find at Raw Bar (like seared salmon nigiri and tuna sashimi) make up around half of the menu; the other half features new flavour-packed dishes inspired by other Asian countries.

“We draw inspiration from Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and a little bit of China,” Kristiansson says. “One of the most popular dishes since we opened would have to be the Lulu fried chicken – that and the Hokkaido toast. I still remember the first time trying the Hokkaido toast and thinking, ‘wow’.”

Its wow factor is thanks to a mix of prawn and scallops, offering a different take on prawn toast. The seafood is served on a crisp, golden, thin layer of bread and topped with mentaiko (pollock roe) and warm sudachi ponzu.

The menu’s more sizeable dishes include steamed market fish served with shallots, coriander, tomato dashi and mint; succulent Wagyu drizzled in sansho pepper sauce (it’s a standout); and the Peking chicken, cooked with a honey hoisin sauce and served with bok choi, shallots and coriander. To finish? A spin on the Japanese dessert monaka: miso caramel ice-cream is served like a sandwich between two wafers.

Asian flavours also run through the drinks list. Favourite cocktails are reinvented (like a herby twist on the Margarita made with chilli-infused Patron tequila, Thai basil, agave and lime), plus there are international beers and wines.

Lulu has already proven popular among the Bondi community since opening last month – it’s often booked out. But a new venue wasn’t part of the plan for the Raw Bar group.

“Lulu was a bit of a spanner in the works,” Kristiansson says. “We got the opportunity for a beautiful spot in Bondi and didn’t really have a fixed idea on what to do with it. So, we put all our minds together to create something fresh and exciting … something new to the dining scene in Bondi.”

Lulu
75–79 Hall Street, Bondi Beach
0422 738 433

Hours:
Wed & Thu 5.30pm–9pm
Fri midday–3pm, 5.30pm–9pm
Sat & Sun midday–9pm

lulubondi.com.au
@lulubondi_