Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON reveals her list of Canberra’s top five restaurants for 2017.
Photos by MADDIE McGUIGAN
WHEN I was a kid – many years ago – and my family gathered around the kitchen table celebrating Friday night with takeaway Chinese, a lazy Susan was always front and centre. I delighted in twirling it round and round, watching the colourful dishes zip by.
No one really knows when these circular dinner turntables appeared on the dining scene. Some say it was the 18th century when Thomas Jefferson invented one to make daughter Susan happy. You see, Susan was always the last to be served and continually left the table starving. Others say the Chinese made them famous, especially for dim sum.
What delights me today is the gold versions sitting pretty on some of the round tables at Lazy-Su, a new restaurant in Braddon (well, another new restaurant in Braddon).
A full wall of beckoning cats wave as you walk in, promising good luck. Then you enter a different world. The décor pops with colour, neon lights abound, rows of bright-blue, paper lanterns form a statement element, and the cool bar is built around lightboxes, advertising a curated selection of spirits such as bourbon and whisky. Elements of pop culture abound, even in the loos (over to you to discover).
We sat towards the back, in an area slightly elevated, and settled in to watch the happenings. This is casual but fun dining at its best. The food is high on taste and a refreshing change for the Canberra market. Nothing is over $30, with many dishes priced well under that.
Small dishes to start are from $6 for edamame beans with miso soy sauce to $13 for KFC (caught you… Korean Fried Chicken) with a smoky sauce and Japanese mayonnaise. Yum. Traditional Korean and Japanese flavours are celebrated with an intriguing mix of American influences, which some diners might find initially strange but, trust me, Lazy-Su has nailed the tastes.
Poke fans will drool over the items in the “Salaryman-lunch” section of the menu ($15 to $17) – the raw salmon and raw kingfish salads (served everywhere as a starter in Hawaiian cuisine) are delish and addictive. Another American influence is the charcoal-grilled, succulent, beef short ribs ($26) which you wrap in lettuce. The pickle is punchy, the ssämjang paste thick, spicy, colourful and the short ribs melt in the mouth.
Noodle fanatics won’t be disappointed, and I reckon everyone will worship the noodles dished up in 12-hour broth with pork belly, soy egg, crispy lardon and nori ($18). Bao-gers (see what I mean about the mix of cuisine inspirations?) include a pork belly, chicken with peanut sauce and a tasty tofu ($9 to $11).
The front part of Lazy-Su features rows of booths and bar seating. Everything is designed around yakking, sharing and applauding sensational tastes.
Lazy-Su, 9 Lonsdale Street, Braddon.