For an exemplary restaurant reflecting modern fine dining, check out Fujisaki, Lotus Group’s newest and most ambitious venue.
The kitchen is run by Ryuichi Yoshii, a sushi master who was last seen at Yoshii doing omakase (chef’s selection) menus, and Chui Lee Luk, the ex-head chef and owner of Claude’s. They each have their own domain. Yoshii serves sushi at a small bar overlooking his kitchen space. And Lee Luk takes charge of the modern Japanese fare (a cuisine she’s never cooked professionally before) on the main menu. “When [Lotus] extended their invitation it was about getting out of my comfort zone and doing something totally different,” she says.
The menu is categorised by Japanese cooking techniques (deep-fried; robata-grilled; raw; and steamed and simmered). It conceals the fine-dining technique and creativity Lee Luk is known for. She describes a salted-duck dish that mixes French, Japanese and Chinese techniques. A soy-free tofu-like creation is made by melding kuzu starch, pumpkin, lotus and Japanese radishes. A seemingly simple skewer of octopus is layered with cured pork jowl and cabbage, then brushed with a fermented chilli paste and yuzukoshō (a paste made from chilli, yuzu peel and salt). “I want to bring a lot of elements to each dish, just as the sushi and sashimi section will,” says Lee Luk.
Because Fujisaki has a dedicated pastry chef (an increasingly rare recruitment in new high-profile restaurants), the end of the meal is just as intricate, particularly if you order the Sweet Wasabi. It’s a mix of white-chocolate mousse and mango that’s artfully shaped to resemble a wasabi root sitting on a patch of soil.
The dining room is lavish and textured and looks out onto the Barangaroo bay. Design Clarity is to thank for the black, navy and brown tones that set off the restaurant’s bold features – golden-velvet seats, a back-lit onyx bar, brass trimmings and a central see-through wine cellar. “The bespoke wine room is a centrepiece of the dining floor, housing a broad range of vintages leaning towards aromatic whites and lighter reds to match the clean and fresh flavours of the food,” says Tara Sullivan, director of operations at Lotus Dining.
The 300-plus wine list is the biggest in any Lotus venue, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a signature Lotus cocktail offering, too. “Expect to see interesting, seasonal ingredients such as cherry blossom, edamame and shiso in the cocktails,” Sullivan says.