Former Crew From Lau’s Family Kitchen Have Opened Their Own Restaurant

Instagram/ @benyuekitchen

Beloved hospitality venues being forced to close down, was one of the most devastating aspects of the COVID lockdowns in Melbourne during 2020 and 2021. And, while there were many moments of sadness, one of the biggest blows was the closing of Lau’s Family Kitchen, a Cantonese institution in St Kilda.

They shared the news through an Instagram post, in early March of last year, announcing their closing. It read:

“We regret to inform you that we have decided to close the restaurant at the end of March due to end of lease.

“Lau’s Family Kitchen could not have been as successful without your support,” it went on. “We thank you for 15 wonderful years.”

Opening back in 2006 by restaurateur Gilbert Lau, who also opened Flower Drum in 1975, the restaurant was St Kilda’s hot spot for incredible Cantonese food.

It was a destination. Not only for the unbelievable food (the best crab omelette I ever ate in my life), but for the always-buzzing atmosphere and family warmth. Lau’s sons, Michael and Jason, went on to run the St Kilda restaurant until it’s end, while Gilbert himself, would be sitting at the back of the restaurant, glass of red in hand, greeting you as you went past him to the loo, and checking in that everything was okay.

And while there will never be another Lau’s, we have a reason to celebrate, as the Wu family, who previously worked for the Lau’s, have opened their own Cantonese restaurant, featuring some of the iconic dishes that were once enjoyed at Lau’s Family Kitchen.

Located in Aberfeldie, Benyue Kitchen opened a few weeks ago, with a focus on traditional Cantonese food, and a core team of former Lau’s Family Kitchen Crew.

“We are a family run business and with the gap left by the sad closure of Laus Family Kitchen,” the Wu family tell Thrillist Australia. “Our chefs believed there was a unique and special opportunity to offer Melburnians high-quality and freshly made Asian cuisine.”

“After many years of working as a team under Gilbert Lau’s tutelage, we’ve stepped up to a new challenge, that allows us to respect and celebrate the Lau’s Family Kitchen legacy.”

And so they do. Not only is the service super friendly and warm, and in an authentic environment, but they’re event serving some of the same dishes, with the same recipes and methods that were used at Lau’s.

Things like the fresh crab meat fluffy omelette (yay!), salt and pepper quail, and quail sung choi bao are appearing on the menu once more, with the Lau touch, plus everything the Wu family learnt at Lau’s and their own knowledge of Cantonese food and culture… there’s literally zero chance of not being mind-blown.

Although it makes us feel like doing a happy jig, the decision to carry the torch through to a restaurant of their own wasn’t a quick or easy decision for the Wu family.

“After lengthy family deliberations and then a great deal of extensive research for the best location, as well as an equally important blessing from Gilbert, we opened Benyue Kitchen.”

“We have so much respect and acknowledgement for what Gilbert taught us, and we think he is happy to see members of his old team blossom and grow at Benyue.”

That being said, you should get down for a crab omelette, like now.

You can visit Benyue Kitchen’s website here, for bookings or takeaway.

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