Renowned South East Asian cuisine moves to Ettalong Beach
The Queen Bee has landed in Ettalong after the renowned and trendy restaurant, Lucky Bee transitioned from Hardy’s Bay into the hive of The Galleria. Founded in New York City in 2015 before arriving on the Central Coast in 2018, The Lucky Bee has earned its reputation as not just a restaurant but an experience.
Owners Matty Bennett and Rupert Noffs absolutely own their specialty of authentic South East Asian cuisine with the restaurant's modern dim sum menu, tiki bar of expertly crafted cocktails, and extensive wine list. Similar in vibe to Bang Bang or Chin Chin in Sydney, The Lucky Bee has a cheeky and relaxed edge that makes it so charming you’ll want to visit again and again.
“When you go to a restaurant it needs to be a whole experience, you’re going out for a reason. We want people to walk in and say WOW! I want them to get to know us, our staff, and our food. It’s not fine dining, it's fun dining because we can’t stand restaurants that are stuffy and prescriptive about what you eat. The Lucky Bee is an inclusive space for good food, that’s the most important thing,” Rupert said.
Speaking to Rupert you can’t help but get turned on by the concept, and every element of the restaurant draws you in. One room is painted neon pink, the other green, while an eye-catching mural by young local queer artist Ollie Vincent dominates one wall.
Rupert, Matty, and their Head Chef Drew did everything for the Ettalong fit-out themselves as owner/operators and it’s their “all in” nature that shows their love and dedication to the Bee.
The relocation was always on the cards as the Hardys Bay location was only short-term, and with the reinvigoration of Umina and Ettalong, the move has been a raging success.
Travel was somewhat difficult to the picturesque yet secluded Hardys Bay, whereas The Galleria has developed a concentration of restaurants and bars into a nightlife hub. Located close to the Palm Beach ferry Rupert says the area has found a similar atmosphere to Noosa.
Now operating with an enthusiastic staff of 10, The Lucky Bee has expanded significantly into two kitchens, a whole new grill station for a chargrill menu, a wok station for stir fry dishes, and a new expanded yum cha menu for lunch and dinner including a Sunday night service.
Regulars can rest assured the old favourites are still on the menu including Chef Matty’s signature whole-fried Szechuan Salt and Pepper Snapper and curry made from 38 ingredients from scratch.
“This is Lucky Bee 2.0, we’ve leveled up, it feels like it did in New York.”
With 40 years combined experience in hospitality, including the award-winning Long Grain, Rupert and Matty have achieved a lot, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down. After only one week of opening in Ettalong, they were booked out for every service with 75 diners and up to 35 on the waitlist with guests including local MPs, actress Toni Collette and fans of their work in Sydney and Frankie’s Rooftop (Woy Woy).
“The positive response has been overwhelming, we are so lucky and I really mean that, having a good team and good staff is so important.”
The Lucky Bee team now means Rupert and Matty have space to focus on other things such as collaborations, special events, working with local purveyors and producers, wine tastings, catered experiences, and perhaps even a franchise opportunity on the horizon.
“The Lucky Bee has found its hive, we’re in for the long haul now, we have an incredible location and community. What they’ve done with The Galleria is just amazing, we love seeing everyone walking in happy and walking out even happier.”
See what all the buzz is about with a visit to the Queen at The Lucky Bee.