The rise of casual eating out has well and truly taken hold in Canberra, and about time. But now there is a new twist – enter Lazy Su – the new Braddon eatery is cool, exciting, and healthy all at the same time.
I know that the word healthy is fabulously off-putting – everyone’s inner self screams “I should eat this, it is good for me, but I don’t want to”, but Lazy Su pulls it off. The food is clean and fresh, combining big flavours, high protein and sticky grilled things with spicy condiments, wrapped up in crunchy lettuce. So Korean meets Japanese with a side of American diner and cool cocktail bar – the combination/fusion thing that Australians do so well.
So the first dish we try is none of the things I have described (surprise is always clever on a menu) – wagu and cheese sauce spring rolls ($6 each). Our waitress tells us they are really good and really popular, so despite serious hesitation we indulge. If you have had the dubious privilege of sampling Philadelphia’s state dish the Philly cheese steak (layer upon layer of thin sliced beef, and nuclear cheese gloop jammed into a soft, sweet roll) you will be afraid of this dish. While there are some similarities – this is good. Tender, juicy beef is housed in a very crisp wrapper, and the cheese sauce for dipping is good. Not a dish I would eat every day, but successful nonetheless.
Staff are keen and engaged, clearly enjoying their work. Return trips to refill drinks are a little haphazard, but there’s plenty of bustle and flagging staff down isn’t hard. The casual vibe gets a little louder as the night goes on, and sharing extends to double-sized cocktails with two straws. The layout is a feature of the place, with plenty of different nooks, bar seats, booths and curvy benches to seat diners and drinkers alike.
Steamed pork and cabbage dumplings ($8) are much more true to type, tender casings holding a lovely subtle stuffing, all set of with tangy dipping sauce; this is a superior dumpling.
But on to the sharing mains.
Pork fried rice ($14) would make a nice lunch in itself, that is if you can resist the rest of the menu. There is plenty of flavour and variety in the bowl, with none of the greasiness that can plague inferior versions.
The sashimi platter ($28) is a wonderful collection of generous slices of wonderfully fresh fish, with all the texture, clarity and bite that great sashimi has. Real wasabi clears the cobwebs away.
But the beef rib platter ($28) is the highlight. Tender, crusted slices of terrifically tasty beef rib, sit up on the bone ready for collecting and adding to crunchy lettuce cups, along with fresh pickles, Kimchi and a wonderful rich chilli sauce.
A pork belly version ($28) riffs on similar themes and is almost as good.
Dessert is not a big deal here, but a hot sweet about bun stuffed with green tea ice cream and butterscotch ($9) is great.
Lazy Su is a great place for a special, fun family dinner, or a virtuous but indulgent dinner for one, and cool to boot.
Address: 1/9 Lonsdale St, Braddon
Phone: 5105 3812
Owner: Andrew Duong, Jared Calnan, Shao Yi Kuek and Ben Ilic
Chef: Shao Yi Kuek
Hours: Midday-11pm Tues – Thurs, midday-1am Fri and Say, Sunday midday-11pm.
Wheelchair access: Yes
Noise: moderate to high depending on the time of night.
Vegetarian: a good range