Well that was quick. Just over six months after chef Victor Liong (Lee Ho Fook) opened Lawyers, Guns & Money, his Chinese street food joint in the legal precinct of Melbourne's CBD, he's shutting it down, foiled by the limitations of the space.
"I really loved the concept of Lawyers, Guns & Money but I think we jumped into it too quickly without looking at the operational constraints of the site," says Liong. "The back of house just couldn't cope with what we wanted to do, no matter how we looked at it. We tried to tweak it but there were bottlenecks in every change we tried to do. We could do noodles and congee but we couldn't also do fried chicken. It was always the case of one thing or the other. We couldn't do what we originally wanted to do."
There was the money factor too. Realising that there was no way to do any more than 130 people at lunch due to the lack of storage space and size of the kitchen Liong came to the conclusion that the business wouldn't be able to pay for itself. In this space.
The proviso is important because the concept of LGM is not gone for good, it's just searching for a new home.
"It was not a fun decision to make but it was one we had to make," Liong says. "We always had the idea that LGM would also be a nighttime venue where you could get congee until two in the morning. I imagined it as a bit of a hospo hangout. The concept's not going away, we're just looking for the right space."
In the meantime, expect to see LGM pop-ups in the next few months or, if the site is right, a fully-fledged permanent version.
"The concept is ready to go so it will be very quick to activate," says Liong. "If we find the right space we can open anytime."
Lawyers, Guns & Moneycloses this Friday, 29 July, Cnr Church Ln & St James Ln, Melbourne. (03) 9614 0445, lgmmelbourne.com.