At the intersection of Carpenter Street and South Bridge Road, a 70-seat restaurant and bar named Lumo has come into being just weeks before the pandemic. While it was closed for takeouts only during the Circuit Breaker, Lumo has just re-opened for dine-in only today.
Designed with two distinct spaces – a bar and a restaurant – in mind, a bar by the entrance welcomes guests with a menu of light-themed craft cocktails and, further in, a dining room that abuts an open kitchen serves a modern European menu of snacks, small plates, meats, seafood and desserts.
Occupying several units of ground floor space, the spot-lit Lumo offers little by way of interior embellishments, but what it lacks in decoration, it makes up for in its food and drinks offerings.
For the drinks menu, the bar team has put together an abstract menu conceptualised around the “prismatic nature of light”, the launch menu focusing on “breakfast” with seven categories of “brew”, “milk”, “fruit”, “ABC”, Impossible Salad, “toast” and “treat”. Tough as it is to comprehend, the boundary-pushing concoctions here are interesting although they are anything but breakfasty.
The modern European fare by head chef Martin Wong, on the other hand, is more approachable even if the cooking techniques involve some amount of fermentation and cutting-edge equipment like the Centrifuge. Think of it as well executed comfort food to go with your swizzles.
The dish of aged chicken mid-wings aigre doux ($17) is Wong’s interpretation of sweet and sour and, thankfully, it does not showcase the same ubiquitous sweet and sour sauce we find in tze char joints. First brined in ginger and salt water for a day then dry-aged for three days, the wings are hot-smoked in applewood and finished with a dazzlingly sweet and tangy housemade BBQ glaze of white and red wine vinegar, ketchup, sugar and ginger. It’s a mess to eat but so finger licking good.
Tomato lovers will rejoice at the arrival of the tomato tempura dish. Tart tomatillo and mildly sweet momotaro tomatoes ($16) are battered and deep-fried until it’s moreish and tender inside and crisp with a good bite outside. Served with a side of spiced buttermilk dip in case you prefer a creamy finish, the tempura of tomato wedges are a delicious spin on tried and tested tempura vegetables, only thing is that tomatoes are far more succulent.
But for the ultimate comfort food, you would have to order the oh-so-crispy-potato hash ($15). Cubed potatoes are triple-cooked (blanched and fried twice) and served with folds of home-cured duck breast proscuitto for savoury relief and splotches of piped sour cream to add a touch of acidity. It’s quite simply some of the tastiest nuggets of potatoes you can get your hands on.
For proteins, you can’t do better than the Westholme wagyu intercostal ($32). Grilled till medium rare, the marbled meat arrives in veal jus and topped with confit of shallots as well as pickled kohralbi. This marbled muscle found in between the ribs are beefy in flavour yet adequately fat so that with each bite, you get the best of the wagyu’s meat and fat. Highly recommended.
Just so to complete the comfort food theme, it’s mandatory that you order classic apple pie ($16) to finish – a gigantic pillow of deep-fried puff pastry with Granny Smith apple, cinnamon and moreish rum-infused raisins ensconced within alongside a scoop of homemade vanilla ice-cream.