Chef and restauranteur Luke Mangan says it was a meal at a restaurant from heavily-awarded French chef, Joel Robuchon, that triggered him to explore the union of French and Japanese.
The result? Mangan’s Sydney venue Luc-San, located on Pennys Lane in Potts Point and open since Saturday, September 16. Mangan describes it as a neighbourhood French Izakaya, with all dishes shareable, combining influences from Japan and France and made from local, sustainable ingredients — including wasabi leaves grown in Mangan’s own garden.
“They’re my two personal favourite cuisines,” says Mangan. “I think the bold flavours work so well together. I love when the butteriness of French food meets the signature umami flavours of Japan.”
Menu highlights include a prawn dish in seaweed beurre blanc, that takes a classic French butter-based sauce and blends it with seaweed to introduce Japanese umami flavours. The Tuna Croissant with Hokkaido Scallop Salad is also expected to be a crowd favourite, as well as a selection of skewers cooked on the Robata grill, which include flavour combos of chicken, yuzu and crème fraiche.
A ‘Trust the Chef’ tasting menu is available for those looking to try a bit of everything or celebrating a special occasion. Mangan’s favourite dishes on the menu are the Market Fish Sashimi with Mandarin Ponzu to start, followed by the Confit Duck or the Sirloin for a main and then White Chocolate Pudding with green tea and lime Chantilly to finish.
“I gathered all my experience from owning the restaurant Salt in Japan, combining it with my classic French training under Michel Roux,” Mangan says. “I placed a big emphasis on healthy, quality ingredients.”
The drinks menu continues in the French-Japanese theme, with classic French drinks laced with punchy Asian flavours. The Luc-San Martini is made with Summum Vodka, Shochu, Massenez Lychee, and pineapple and ginger, while the Okinawa Vesper is based nori-infused gin, Lillet Blanc, Shochu, saline and togarashi.
Mangan’s favourite cocktail is Chiyo Gimlet to start, and the Negronic — “imagine if a Negroni and a G&T had a lovechild” — for dessert, which he pairs with the pudding.
A collection of sake is divided into options ‘Clean and Crisp’, ‘Savoury and Umami’ and ‘Sweet and Fruity’. A Japanese Whisky collection ranges from Suntory, to a sweet and spicy, 19-year-old Kuroyosi. The wine list features drops from France and Australia, including Burgundy and the Barossa, all picked to pair well with the food menu.
Designed by Five Foot One Interiors, the 90-seater restaurant is dimly lit with a deep red ceiling, grey textured walls and two murals each depicting a woman’s profile, one French, one Japanese. A red terrazzo bar greets guests when they walk in — Mangan recommends they sit there with a drink before sliding into a timber-finish table for dinner.
Luc-San is now open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 4pm until late, at the corner of Pennys Lane in Potts Point.