The nectar of Hardys Bay
Sitting street side with Matty Bennett and Rupert Noffs of The Lucky Bee you know they are part of the fabric that makes up Hardys Bay, we are interrupted by locals saying hello and regulars asking what’s new on the menu. The ease of interaction makes it clear they are at home. Two years ago, this breath of fresh air was a whirlwind to the local restaurant and bar scene and what a sensational addition it has become to the Central Coast.
I will go out on a limb and say The Lucky Bee maybe the only restaurant in Hardys Bay championing a disco ball installation over their newly opened PlanBee café – previously it was a dance floor from their 2019 expansion to the shop next door. Being able to spin on the dancefloor and in real life is key to their success.
PlanBee is one of the innovations the team created since the NSW Lockdown restrictions, the other being The Lucky Bee pre-batched takeaway cocktails and signature curries which were happily received – and it's not surprising it kept them buzzing along until things loosened up again.
The Lucky Bee pride themselves on being authentic South East Asian cuisine. When you settle in for a meal be prepared for some genuine spice!
Rupert assures us that “when we say something is spicy, it’s legit spicy”.
They mark this as their authenticity of the cuisine and key difference to other South East Asian restaurants. They like to keep the menu fresh with it changing every two weeks, but some things are steadfast items.
Chef Matty’s signature curry has 38 ingredients made from scratch with quality produce; the whole fried Szechuan Salt and Pepper Snapper and Betel Leaves with Coconut Poached Prawns are customer requested favourites and what keeps them on the menu.
Yum Cha more your style? Then you may be lucky to have the freshly house made fluffy Steamed Pork Buns or maybe the Duck Wontons with Five-Spice Chinese Black Vinegar on the menu when you visit.
The confidence Matty has with his food and menus is not unfounded. The Manchester, UK born classical French trained Chef did not just stumble upon South East Asian cuisine. He was the Sous Chef at Sydney’s esteemed Longrain restaurant, before moving to New York where he worked in the city’s first farm-to-table concept, The Fat Raddish, and soon after he and partner Rupert opened the first Lucky Bee state side.
The creative tweaks on the menu are consistent with the team using what is in season from their local produces and ensure they're delivering fresh, super spicy South East Asian food, making for a great excuse to return a second or third time. You could even get your gang together and enjoy one of the banquet tables (all within Covid19 restrictions of course).
Even though the dancefloor has been repurposed, this pink, white and neon lit bay side restaurant is not just humming along - the Queen Bees are keeping ahead of the curve. Two years in and this is only the beginning, Rupert and Matty are already talking about what they may do next - special events and even long lunches (yes, please!). With this highly adaptable and capable duo the possibilities are endless.