Luxsmith, 5 Gamon Street, Seddon. Phone: 9362 7333
This Gamon Street address encapsulates the recent history of Seddon – and our own history in the west.
When we moved to Seddon, 14 years ago, there was not a lot of coffee stops so Le Chien became a regular.
It was a friendly place with basic food served and – to my delight – Blue Note jazz albums festooning the walls and on the sound system.
It changed hands and got bigger, taking over the TAB next door.
As the area – and the inner west – developed, it became just a very occasional stop for coffee.
We never did dinner there so have no idea how that was.
Now it’s changed again, having undergone a very zippy makeover and becoming a purveyor of what can accurately be called Asian fusion.
We do well do be served at all.
After all, seven of us have bowled up two nights before Christmas and the place is very busy.
But it’s a lovely night so we’re happy to take an outside table.
Things start slowly for us, with the our various drinks taking a while to arrive.
But once the food starts arriving, it does so in a steady flow.
There’s so many of us, we take something of an expansive approach, ordering all the mains and quite of a few of the small, medium and side plates as well (see menu below).
And happily and successfully, we put in double orders of some of the more appealing items.
Here’s what we enjoyed:
Tofu glazed in pepper sauce with crispy shallots, chilli ($10) – nice enough but we quickly move on.
Korean fried chicken wings with Asian slaw and red dragon sauce ($8) are excellent.
They’re hot and crisp and sauce is of just the right quantity and piquancy.
Crispy pigs ears with five spice and hoisin ($10) are delightful nibbles that are both chewy and crunchy.
Sichuan pepper lamb ribs with spring onion and ginger ($18) are outstanding.
They’re fatty, as ribs are, but the lamb flavour is a powerful kick.
Miso-braised eggplant with smoked tofu, shiso (perilla leaves) and sesame ($27) is one of our larger serves.
It’s a sweet, slithery delight with grand eggplant flavour.
Vietnamese lamb curry with potato, chilli and mixed herbs ($29) is nice, with plenty of lamb submerged in that gravy.
But it strikes me as being so mildly spiced as to be bland – and that’s even taking on board that Vietnamese curries are often of a mild bent.
Snake beans and Asian mushrooms in oyster sauce, ginger, onion ($14) are a crunchy/slippery wonder.
Whole fried baby snapper with, coconut caramel, crispy garlic and Asian herbs ($37) is OK but could use more sauce/lubrication as it comes across as quite dry, and that includes the herby covering.
Rare-grilled hanger steak with kimchi puree, ssam sauce, butter lettuce and mixed herbs ($29.50) works a treat, with the beef beautifully cooked and having wonderfully charry flavour.
Soft shell crabs with “traditional Singapore sauce” and grilled lime ($28.50), like the tofu we began with, fails our table’s sharing approach.
Soft shell crabs are ephemeral enough at the best of times; there’s simply not enough crabiness here to register among seven eaters.
The sauce inspires very little by way of comments one way or another from the two Singaporeans at our table, nor another who has lived on the island.
Every single member of our group regularly eats the cheap and cheerful western suburbs variations of the Asian food that inspires what Luxsmith provides.
Yet we all know that making direct comparisons between the two is like comparing apples and oranges.
But because of the pricing, it is unlikely to be the sort of place we’ll head simply upon discovering the fridge is bare.
Our next visit is likely to be to try the congees on the lunch menu!
Many thanks to CTS pals for allowing a social occasion to be photographed!
Check out the Luxsmith website here.