Going beyond the laundromat to eat at Lucky Chan’s

When it comes to Perth restaurants, Lucky Chan’s exploded on the scene with their heavily media featured crowdfunded campaign as the team from The Classroom and Cocktail Gastronomy got their latest venture up and running. A playful nod to all things Asian, Lucky Chan’s is tongue in cheek, kitsch and just tacky enough in decor that it gives me tingles – I love the faux Asian look and feel, but with food that is definitely firmly in the authentic camp. 

The owners have been hard at work renovating this old Northbridge site into a three storey venue that from day one has attracted long lines of curious diners waiting for their chance to dig into ramen, dumplings, bao and more. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to go in to see how their restaurant compared to my first ramen experience with them during their initial fundraising, and their bao at the Night Noodle Markets. 
Remembering I’d actually pledged and had some goodies to pick up there, it felt like the right time to stick around and have dinner with my friends Sherilyn and Carlie for a long overdue catchup. It’s crazy how time just pass you by so quick these days that regular hangs can stretch out to irregular. But I guess that’s life, and the power of sustainable friendships is it doesn’t matter how often you get to see each other – when you do, it’s all quality. And good food too right?!
Image from Yahoo News
We’ve all heard that the wait for a table at Lucky Chan’s is pretty epic, so we decided to head in straight after work one night. Sherilyn was first to arrive and scooped up a prime location near the door – one of the last tables available. Yes, it gets busy early there. While waiting for Carlie to arrive we decided to order a couple servings of prawn crackers with togarashi dusting ($1.00 per serve).
Seriously addictive stuff. A little kick from the seven spice mix and the crackers were crisp and fresh. I’m not going to lie, we ordered more – they were a great price and a lovely way to kickstart our meal. 

For our dinner we all decide to get a bao each, then a main item. Since I loved the chicken bao so much last time I’m quick to choose that option, which is buttermilk ramen chicken with iceberg lettuce and chilli mayonnaise ($7.00). The girls both opt for the miso glazed lamb shoulder with pickled orange and carrot relish and coriander bao ($7.00).

My chicken had great crunch, and I thought the use of ramen noodles in the coating was really clever. I did however find that it wasn’t as good as their crispy chicken bao from the night markets – there was something a little bit moorish about that version. But that chilli mayo needs a bit of a special shout out, that was just plain delicious!

Carlie and Sherilyn both rave about the lamb shoulder and I can see why. It looks vibrant and textured, with lots of fresh injections of flavour to compliment the pillowy soft bao. I’ll have to try that one next time!

For her main, Sherilyn chooses the shoyu ramen ($14.90) which is hanoi chicken in a soy based broth with 62 degree egg, fishcake and nori. She chooses to add chashu pork for an extra $3.50. This had a lovely layered flavour profile which wasn’t quite as intricate as others I’ve tried but a decent enough rendition, and I thought that the egg was extremely appealing the way it slowly oozed out into the broth.

I love the large wooden spoons that accompany all ramen bowls there too. It might be a little on the trendy side, but I think they’re quite functional too – meant for big mouthfuls perfect for slurping.

Not feeling too hungry Carlie chooses the roast pork belly with ginger wine jus and lychee salad ($16.00). It came out on an awkwardly small plate not really ideal for cutting into the meat or even accessing the salad without spilling it everywhere. But that said the pork had a finger-licking good sticky sauce that complimented the freshness of the lychees and fresh ingredients.

I did find the crackling crisp but a little too sticky for my personal preference, but the meat was quite moist and tender which made up for this. All in all, a nice dish but definitely one I would think is better as part of a share meal than individual. It ended up proving a little too rich for her to finish.

It took me so long to choose what to order. The ramen definitely caught my eye but in the interest of trying something different I ended up choosing the szechuan pepper soft shell crab with watermelon and nam jim dressing ($17.00). It came out as five chunks of crab accompanied by young mango and raw enoki mushrooms.

I love soft shell crab but I do think that the accompanying flavours need to be mindful of the delicateness of the meat. It’s so lovely and sweet, and in this case it was overpowered by the szechuan pepper flavour which was a bit of a shame. I did think that the crab was wonderfully crunchy though which is definitely what you want when eating a dish like this. The watermelon in this was the perfect accompaniment – somewhere between sweet and sour, and juicy.

I thought this dish was pleasant and tasty enough but didn’t quite reach the heights of other soft shell crab dishes I’ve had elsewhere. Also without a side of rice or noodles it became a bit same same. Next time I come I think share dining is the way to go which is probably what they intended for this part of the menu.

Not feeling quite satisfied we tossed up getting more savoury items to eat but ended up unable to distract ourselves from the dessert options. We decide to share a serve of the fried jackfruit wontons with black sticky rice and coconut ice-cream ($15.00). I loved the sound of those flavours!

The wontons were golden and crisp; the jackfruit sweet and syrupy. I thought the black rice texture was on point – glutinous and slightly nutty in flavour. The real star on the plate was the coconut ice-cream – it was jam-packed with creamy coconut goodness; every bite was wonderful when you scooped this up. A nice way to finish our meal for sure.

All in all I’m glad I got to try Lucky Chan’s in the restaurant and to see their range of dishes to order. While our dishes weren’t perfect by any means, I do think that it’s definitely worth trying for yourself to experience the charm of this place. 

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    WenY
    12 July 2015 at 7:17 am

    I have read both Don's and your review Kristy. Still not convinced to go to Lucky Chan yet hehe.

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    12 July 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Haha I say give it a bit more time to settle and then see? I think I'd like to go back and try some of their other dishes before making my mind up 🙂

  • Reply
    Gourmet Getaways
    12 July 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Yes, that ramen coated chicken does sound clever! We love baos, too and ramens and the best Asian dishes!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  • Reply
    Sandy @ Hungry Again
    14 July 2015 at 2:25 pm

    The colours on the soft shell crab dish look so pretty! Like Weny I haven't been convinced though haha

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    16 July 2015 at 12:13 pm

    I love bao! They seem to be all the rage at the moment but I was lucky enough to grow up on them 🙂

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    16 July 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Haha fair enough 🙂 I think I'm going to give it one more go. The dessert was definitely the highlight for me though

  • Reply
    Martine @ Chompchomp
    24 July 2015 at 8:12 pm

    I STILL haven't managed to get to Lucky Chan's yet despite having my name written somewhere on one of the chairs that I crowd funded! Did you happen to see if there were any GF options?

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    26 July 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I didn't manage to catch if there were any GF options 🙁 but I'm so sure there would be! I'm looking forward to your blog post when you do go 🙂

  • Reply
    AlissaandDon
    27 July 2015 at 7:25 am

    I have been wondering about whether I should go back and give them another try, but after reading your review I'm not convinced to go back any time soon.

  • Reply
    GrindsMyGears
    3 September 2015 at 3:32 am

    Normally I would say the Roast pork would be GF. HOWEVER, keep in mind that this is a fasian (faux asian) restaurant and as such most likely use kikkoman soy. (Ingredients Water, Soybeans, Wheat, Salt). So if this is the case, anything with soy won't be GF.

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