Aussie restaurateurs Rupert Noffs and Matty Bennett were the toast of New York City, so there was a bit of an adjustment when they recently swapped the Big Apple for Woy Woy.
They've transplanted their Lucky Bee restaurant from Manhattan's lower east side to NSW's central coast, swinging open the doors this month.
"We got really nervous when local [MasterChef winner] Julie Goodwin came here, despite serving everyone from Chris Rock to Salman Rushdie in New York," Noffs says.
Partners in life and business (The Village Voice even anointed them best restaurant couple of the year), Noffs says they'd tired of big city living after seven years and chose the central coast because they love the area and its proximity to family.
"Brisbane Waters is beautiful, they call it the Venice of Australia," he says. "We happened to pop into the Bayview Hotel, which had just had a $7 million reno. We got chatting to the owner and did a deal to bring The Lucky Bee to Frankie's Rooftop, a cocktail bar with 60 seats."
Bennett, who spent six years at Longrain before heading stateside, worked in the kitchen at The Fat Radish before opening The Lucky Bee.
The Aussie incarnation has a similar blend of Asian flavours, with Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese influencing its menu.
Bao buns are stuffed with twice-cooked pork hock, mapo tofu comes in cups of iceberg lettuce and fish of the day is coated with Sichuan pepper and salt then fried.
The duo believe they've hit an eating precinct on the rise. "Woy Woy has some fantastic dining options launched by young entrepreneurs like Tropicana Pizza, Young Barons, the newly renovated Fishermen's Wharf and Costa Centrale," Bennett says.
Open Wed-Thur 5pm-9pm; Fri-Sun 12pm-3pm and 5pm-9pm.
2 The Boulevarde, Woy Woy, facebook.com/theluckybee/