Australia's First Crowd-Funded Restaurant OPEN for business
I still don't know who Lucky Chan actually is, but I do know he is lucky. Built from the crowd-sourcing dollars of 600 West Aussies, the guys from Cocktail Gastronomy and The Classroom who decided they wanted a noodle bar in the middle of Northbridge and decided to ask the public to help them do it, have built a quirky and fun tower of ramen.
Open now for three months, Lucky Chan's is primarily a noodle and dumpling bar. But it is so much more. If you prefer your pasta with personality and don't mind being squished in next to some strangers at the next table, then Chan's is your kinda place.
You walk into a small entry hall fitted with old-style washing machines and kitschy Chinese paraphernalia, then walk into the first room which is dominated by the bar along one wall, and a chain-mail staircase at the front.
There are three levels including the open air roof-top bar which is where you will find the Wall of Chan – the names of all the people who contributed money to help built Lucky Chan's from the ground up.
There I am on the Wall of Chan for pledging money which helped build the restaurant
Then the menu ranges from Lucky's Little (things like whitebait, prawn crackers, spiced seeds and pigs ears) through dumplings and bao wow to Chan's Chow which is a selection of larger dishes like pimped up salads and curries.
The cheapest thing on the menu is $1. The most expensive – a yellow Thai fish curry – is $30. The majority of the menu is under $15.
All dishes – but mainly the ramen – can be personalised according to the Chilli scale, where 1 is 'weak' and 20 is 'chilli fire'. The waitress recommended 15 if we wanted a decent heat you can feel but not burn your mouth off. My friend chose 12 and it was perfect. I stayed safe with an 8 – it was spicy but not hot. You can always up the ante with a spoonful of the rich chilli paste on the tables.
We started with the intriguing dish of togarashi (chilli) dusted prawn crackers ($1) which came with a bowl of mayonnaise - kewpie of course. I have never before even considered dipping a prawn cracker in mayo – it seems to be just adding fat to fat – but that's possibly why it tasted so good. It was strangely addictive and something you should definitely try at home.
All noodles are made in-house, in a glass room on the second floor. You can watch them work – we did. Actually, you can watch a lot of people work – the good folk at Lucky Chan's have nothing to hide here, and everything is on display.
We had gone for ramen - and your choice is salty, soy, veg or chef's choice. I chose Soyu (soy) which came with Hanoi chicken and a 62 degree egg. Well, I had to remind them about the egg but that's cool. It wasn't overburdened with meat, shall we say, in fact it felt quite light on, but for a lunch time meal the size was perfect and I still couldn't finish all the soup.
My friend ordered the veg which included sweet tomato, buttered corn, mushroom and tofu. She was kind enough to share some of the buttered corn (which comes in only some of the ramen). It was fabulous and I would recommended pimping your next bowl and adding it from the 'extra's menu.
Lucky Chan doesn't take bookings – he's more a 'she'll be right' kind a guy, so you might need to hedge your bets if you have a large group on a Friday or Saturday night. Even if you're a couple, you might find yourself sharing a table with 'new friends'.
If you can't handle this, then maybe stick to lunchtime (they are open every day of the week from midday). And don't forget your dirty laundry.