Restaurant Reviews

Good Luck Restaurant Lounge

It's been a minute, but Merivale is back with a vengeance – and a concept that's hard to pin down, writes MATTY HIRSCH.
Merivale's Good Luck Restaurant Lounge bar in Sydney CBD with bar staff and waiter walking towards camera
The bar at Good Luck Restaurant Lounge
Steven Woodburn
SYDNEY
Address
11 Bridge St, Sydney NSW

When word of a new Merivale project got out last December, the press release didn’t do a great job of selling it. “Think Totti’s,” it read, “but then add soy, dashi, vinegar with fresh herbs, citrus and chilli.” On the one hand, you could hardly blame the hospitality behemoth for wanting to replicate chef Mike Eggert’s wildly successful new-wave trattoria with a few Asian accents. On the other, was it a sign that the future of Hemmes HQ hinged on nothing but variations of puffy wood-fired bread and antipasti?

Comparisons to Totti’s, it turns out, aren’t all that apt in the basement of the heritage, castle-esque Burns Philp Building on Bridge Street, where Good Luck Restaurant Lounge landed in late April. Yes, there is house bread, but it’s a sticky, fluffy, pull-apart loaf decorated with scorched onions, seaweed and sesame seeds. Raw kingfish and burrata have also snuck onto the menu, because people will order them. But really, this is a far more intriguing offering than that, with echoes of Eggert’s vast, varied CV bouncing around a menu that runs upwards of 50 dishes.

Order the wispy, brittle nest of fried eggs, whipped tofu and chilli (served with scissors to snip into a gloriously gooey mess), and you’ll taste his years at Billy Kwong. There’s evidence of time spent in experimental fine-diners such as Sepia and Oscillate Wildly, in a spongy seafood boudin blanc of sorts, made of fish and prawns and wrapped in betel leaf. The slip and chew of house-made linguine in a buttery ginger and spring-onion sauce, meanwhile, are telltale signs of a cook that paid attention at Buzo and 10 William Street.

Chilli scallop, sake, black sesame paccheri. Credit: Hugh Davison

More than any other venture, the clearest point of reference at work here is Good Luck Pinbone, the Chinese-ish pop-up Eggert ran with chef Jemma Whiteman, which shuttered in 2017. Mains like fatty lamb ribs covered in chives and cumin-scented onions pretty much pick up where that project left off, as do sides like stir-fried green beans in an excellent sardine-spiked XO sauce. So, too, does the glitzy, glamorous, nostalgic fever dream of a space that harks back to Hong Kong’s vintage cha chaan tengs and Australia’s suburban Chinese restaurants.

As you may have gathered by now, it isn’t a particularly cohesive experience. It is, however, a whole lot of idiosyncratic fun, with all the makings of a Big Night Out writ large, including live seafood tanks, a lavish 18-seat private dining room and a note-perfect Piña Colada deepened by black cardamom, tonka bean and (welp!) a $30 price tag. Sommelier Jacqueline Doucette’s wine list – commendable for its focus on fizz, chenin blanc and pinot noir – also wastes little time sailing straight into three-figure territory.

It’s easy to take aim at restaurants like this one, especially in a climate that feels more controlled by conglomerates than ever. Regardless, there’s something unchallengeable about the amount of inspiration and optimism on display. I’d wish the place good luck, but I suspect it won’t need it.

People at restaurant with neon pink sign reading "Good Luck" in middle at Merivale's Good Luck Restaurant Lounge in Sydney CBD
The neon pink Good Luck sign ushers you into a good time. Credit: Steven Woodburn
Good Luck Restaurant Lounge
11 Bridge St, Sydney NSW
Chef(s)
Mike Eggert and Prince Jeganathan
Price Guide
$$
Bookings
Recommended
Opening Hours
Lunch and dinner Tue-Sat

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