The Bridge Room
Utah has many things. Great mountain ranges, vast numbers of Mormons and isolation. What it doesn’t have is a great deal of culinary diversity. Sydney is a vastly different story.
Chef Ross Lusted and partner Sunny, the co-owners of The Bridge Room, have been absent from the city’s dining scene for 10 years with stints in Singapore, Bali, the Middle East and Utah’s Amanresort. Perhaps the desert landscape started the momentum towards Sydney’s sparkling harbour. Regardless, they’re back.
There’s a telling internationalism about the dishes. Ross was the executive chef at Rockpool before becoming an ex-pat and the couple’s ambition is to become a permanent feature of the Bridge Street corner that used to house a clapped-out Indian restaurant.
After a complete renovation, the kitchen is still a miniature version of their nearby competition, although from what comes out of it, a diner would expect a greater army of cooks. A small flood in 2014 from the roof caused water damage in the restaurant and the entire floor needed redoing. Sunny and Ross decided to make the most of the renovation, updating the wallpaper, panelling, glassware, ceramics and menu.
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.
"Ross really stays true to the ingredients," explains Sunny. "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.”
The Lusteds have really perfected hospitable surroundings with a bit of subdued flash. Whether it’s suits power lunching or a slow evening dinner stretched out over a few hours, The Bridge Room effortlessly spans old and new.