The Bridge Room had only been open for three years and it’s owners weren’t planning a renovation quite yet. But earlier this year a small flood from the roof caused water damage in the restaurant and the entire floor needed redoing. Co-owners Sunny and Ross Lusted (who are also general manager and chef respectively) decided to make the most of the renovation, also updating the wallpaper, panelling, glassware, ceramics and menu. “We feel like we have a brand new restaurant, like a little relaunch,” says Sunny.
The chic, minimal aesthetic has been maintained, so the change may not be immediately apparent. “We used a stunning Tasmanian blackbutt on the floor. It is a 1930s building and has an original parquet cut, which is not actually made anymore. The wood exudes these gorgeous honey tones – especially during the day when it’s floodlit with all the gorgeous light from the huge windows.”
The menu has evolved rather than moved in a new direction. Ross has kept a few dishes that have become favourites, like Moreton Bay bugs with endive leaves, tamarind, roasted chilli paste, celery salt and also a dish of whipped black sesame, toasted sesame powder, melon, black rice and coconut sugar. With the new dishes, he tried to capture this moment in time: the end of winter, moving into spring. “Ross really stays true to the ingredients. The dish has to be fresh today or it’s off the menu. If he’s offered an unexpected ingredient, he’ll make up a dish on the spot. I’ve been married to him for 16 years and it’s still so exciting having new dishes all the time.”
Dishes such as crisp and sticky pig’s tail, prawn, fresh peppercorns, green mango and liquorice basil show off Ross’s knowledge of Asian cuisine. “It’s not what you call fusion, but because we lived in Asia for a long time there are dishes that have heritage from one of the Asian countries we lived in,” says Sunny, like Singapore, Bhutan and Bali.
The staff has had a break while Sunny and Ross worked on the refurbishment and it has completely changed the dynamic. “Everyone has butterflies. When we came back together it felt like the glue had reformed. I didn’t anticipate that.”
The Bridge Room
44 Bridge Street, Sydney
(02) 9247 7000
Tue to Fri noon–3pm
Tue to Sat 6pm–10pm