Lost Heaven? Well yes, it can be hard to find, as Lost Heaven's website concedes. Tucked into the labyrinth of the 206 Bourke Street development, otherwise known as the glamorous face of Chinatown, Lost Heaven is Melbourne's Hu Tong restaurant group gone Sichuan - which translates as good regional food with smartly honed design principles.
It's a new culinary route for the parent Golden Age Group, founder of the popular Shanghainese dumpling restaurants. Its eighth restaurant delves into the panda-province's cuisine with a menu focused on DIY hotpots, where diners pick their own soup base, sauces, meats - from wagyu to ox tripe to duck gizzards - and exotic Chinese fungi and vegetables.
Like many of its other venues, the 250-seater mixes rustic-leaning Chinoiserie with Melbourne design tics such as bare light globes.
Headed by prominent businessman Jeff Xu, the Golden Age Group is primarily a development company (it's behind the Victoria One and Collins House residential skyscrapers), but its culinary exploits are no less significant. Its portfolio includes the two Hu Tongs (in Market Lane and Prahran), the more glamorous Man Tong at Crown casino, and student haunts China Red, Da Hu Peking Duck Restaurant and Spicy Fish. Late last year it opened East, a Hecker Guthrie-designed Chinese "tapas" wine bar at the new Sheraton Hotel.
Adjacent to Lost Heaven, Golden Age also owns the decidedly upmarket Rainbow Karaoke, with its Barbie-, cowboy- and pirate-themed rooms.
Former tenant Dainty Sichuan, meanwhile, has chosen Swanston Street to open a third branch of Tina's Noodle Kitchen, named after co-owner and chef Tina Li.
Lost Heaven, Level 2, 206 Bourke St, Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9650 2188