The opening of Lana restaurant on Wednesday, June 9, is a promising sign the Sydney food scene is finding its edge again.
Lana is not just 100 seats of luxe, its kitchen will also nudge the boundaries of Italian cuisine after a period of culinary caution in the harbour city.
Italian food with Asian tweaks around the edges, say what? Lana has made a last-minute poaching, nabbing chef Alex Wong, who'll throw sambal shade on bug tortellini with his opening menu.
Wong might just have the pedigree to pull off the high-wire culinary act. The Australian-raised chef of Chinese-Vietnamese lineage always had a strong passion for Italian food.
He's just come off a two-year stint as head chef at Russo & Russo in Enmore; before that he was making pasta at Eugenio Maiale's Flour Eggs Water.
Take his roasted crayfish. The chef wanted a subtle nod to south-east Asian pepper crab, so he's used native pepperberries to make the dish sing from a subtle Singaporean song sheet.
The Asian influence is more of a nod than a takeover. Instead of a traditional salsa verde, Wong will construct a spring onion verde and pair it with Murray cod.
Lana is the latest addition to the sprawling Hinchcliff House wool store development.
Its entry-level Grana eatery and attached bakery have already opened, along with Apollonia, the basement bar they had to cut into the Circular Quay bedrock to accommodate.
Wong is planning a few other surprises. "I've been working on an arancini with marron, I'd like to get it on the menu," the chef says.
Open Wed-Sat noon-3pm and 5pm-late.
5-7 Young Street, Sydney, 02 7228 1400