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Published May 5th 2015
For Those Who Like To Experiment & Push Sensory Boundaries
I think they have made a mistake with the name of this restaurant. They left out one very small but important word…'in'. The name of this sublime restaurant should be Lost 'in' Heaven. This is absolutely the only place to go for those who like their food hot!
You can't see it from the street, but it's worth looking for. This culinary gem is just up the escalators upstairs on Level 2, 206 Bourke Street. For those who love only the very best in Chinese food, you will be familiar with the well renowned Hutong Group (specialists in creative and authentic Chinese cuisine).
Lost Heaven is one of their latest additions to their group of stunning Chinese eateries offering of the authentic oriental flavours. Inspired by the spicy Sichuan Province in China, this decadent dining experience offers a hot unique dining option that is a modern twist on traditional Sichuan dining. Hutong Group Food and Beverage Director, Eric Chew, said 'We do not compromise on flavour or heat, so bring an appetite for spice'.
Lost Heaven, prides itself on mouth watering flavours and puts a modern twist on traditional Sichuan dining. Garlic and chilli, as well as the unique flavour of the Sichuan peppercorn feature throughout the menu. But don't be afraid, diners can modify the level of spice based on their individual taste and courage. They have the market sewn up when it comes to offering new dining experiences.
Lost Heaven is new to the city, but, Wallace, the manager of Lost Heaven, says they already has many regular customers coming back time and time again for their delicious spicy food. Eighty percent of the meals are spicy, perfect to warm you up on a winter's day. Fish with chili oil is a popular dish. There's none of the run of the mill items like my kid's favorite lemon chicken or sweet and sour pork on the menu, but for those who like the familiar they are happy to cater to your tastes. Wallace says that their job is to help their customers select the perfect dishes for them. He also added he was happy to see Westerners enjoy their culture.
There's no Chinese tea on the menu either but they do sell soy milk to temper down the heat if required.
It might seem strange to comment on the publication of the menu but it looked more like a glossy coffee table magazine than a menu. The photos make all the dishes look enticing and easy to get a sense of what you are ordering.
Choose from the Steamed Live Barramundi with Diced Hot Chili, the Lost Heaven Signature Spicy Hock or Scallop with Eggplant Clay Pot in Szechuan Chili Sauce to get the taste buds tingling. Other crowd favourites are the Hot and Spicy Yabbie (1kg) and the other live seafood.
Don't be deceived… these cold appetisers are hot!
The food is surprisingly inexpensive. We had two cold appetisers; Spicy chili chicken with peppers and lemongrass ($10.80) and Sichuan styled cold noodles ($10.80). This is definitely for those who like their food hot! The peppercorns make the tongue feel numb.
The crispy lamb shank was enormous and only $13.80. My companion was very impressed with this. I enjoyed the deep fried chicken with chili, bok choy and mushrooms. Although it's fried in chili, it's not that hot. This large serve was $25.80. It's okay to pick them up in your hands and eat around the bones. To complement the spicy dishes we had mushrooms in a delicious oyster sauce and lightly steamed bok choy. I would recommend every single dish we tried.
Mushrooms in oyster sauce and lightly steamed bok choy
I can never resist a Hutong dumpling. They are in a class of their own. This is a must try, especially for those who have never added vinegar and slurped up the remaining soup from the soft dumplings.
The best dumplings you will ever try
For a bit of fun, diners can create their own Hot Pot right at their table. Diners select their preferred soup base, sauce, meat and vegetables and then cook it themselves, providing an authentic experience. I remember doing just this with my kids in China and it was a memorable highlight of our trip.
There's a lot to be impressed about Lost Heaven. The restaurant has massive windows right across the front looking out into the centre of the city. The venue's interior exudes sophistication with a soft color palette of red, which is contrasted against natural timber and complemented with many modern hanging lights. The effect is a classy modern Chinese feel.
Another informal dining space
The spacious venue has several 'zones' that caters for 250 diners, however it is perfect for any occasion from intimate dining to bigger groups with booths and separate sections. We were most impressed by the private booths, large tables and …something I have never seen before…. the hot plates built into the middle of the table to keep the temperature of the food just right.
True to Hutong style, the service is quick, and the staff courteous and ready to meet your needs. The water was never below 2/3 of a glass. For those who are curious like me and have questions, feel free to ask, as the staff knows a lot about the food they serve.
Located on the same level as Lost Heaven is also Hutong Group's Rainbow Karaoke. So here's a plan, order a banquet of hot Sichuan food, down a couple of refreshing cocktails and be ready to belt out a tune or two.
So are you up for a spicy Chinese challenge? Try to find your way to Lost Heaven and eat your way to paradise… you might never want to be found!
Level 2, 206 Bourke Street, Melbourne and is now open for lunch and dinner.
Monday – Sunday: 11.30am – 3.00pm (Lunch)
Sunday – Thursday: 5.30pm – 11.00pm (Dinner)
Welcome to Lost Heaven
Once you have tried Lost Heaven you are sure to want to try out some of the other Hutong restaurants. Enjoy!
Hu Tong City - 14-16 Market Ln., Melbourne
Man Tong Kitchen - Level 1 West End, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank
East - 25 Little Collins St, Melbourne
China Red- 206 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Spicy Fish - 209 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
Da Hu Peking Duck- 171 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Ten Miles - Crown Casino food court, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank
Hu Tong Prahran, 162 Commercial Road, Prahran