Raising the bar in pub dining, it's time to revisit The Lucky
The Lucky, one of Newcastle’s best known and most well-loved venues, embraces a progression into the next stage of its lengthy journey.
With a playful redesign of its interiors, a bright, airy all-weather outdoor dining area, and a fresh, thoughtfully-curated menu, the hospitality and design experts heading up The Lucky have masterfully struck a balance that will characterise the venue’s next chapters: it at once balances fun, modernity, and a sense of curiosity, with the comfort of a traditional Australian pub environment.
The Lucky’s new Head Chef, Stephen Scott, has worked tirelessly with his team in the kitchen to pull together a menu that pays homage to the venue’s roots, while looking with enthusiasm towards its dynamic future.
After working in London, in a number of Gordon Ramsay’s most renowned venues, Steve returned to Australia, progressing his culinary career through work in Matt Kemp’s kitchen at the Charing Cross Hotel, and Matt Moran’s kitchen at The Paddington Inn. His experiences in the big smoke instilled in him a love for approachable meals that don’t compromise on quality—which, it’s clear, are values that underpin his menu at The Lucky.
“My ethos, or style, is to make nice, impressive dishes but which, when you break it down, really aren’t that much more complicated than meat and three veg. We want our menu to feel familiar, and to be comfortable and unintimidating, but we want to grow and change too.”
The menu features a diverse range of dishes, with options to cater to every preference and palate. It combines small share plates, perfect to snack on while enjoying a drink in the courtyard on a sunny summer afternoon, with hearty meals and all the usual pub favourites.
The Fried Chicken Tenders are a must-try, served with the customer’s choice of a sweet and sour house-made plum sauce, or sustainably-sourced smoked avruga caviar, for a more luxe experience.
The Spring Green Linguini is a quiet achiever on The Lucky’s new menu, likely to appeal to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike! With sauce made from whole green zucchinis, the dish is vibrant, healthy and fresh, finished with confit garlic, salted ricotta, and fresh sliced zucchini.
If seafood is your thing, try the Tuna Tostada—sashimi-grade tuna, tossed in a house-made XO sauce of chilli, ginger, garlic and spring onion, on a crispy corn chip.
The Lobster Mac n Cheese, finished with salmon caviar, crème fraiche and fresh herbs, is another standout on the menu, perfected after a few rounds of trial and error.
“Zac Davis, Regional Manager, and I both knew we wanted lobster on the menu, but we didn’t want it to be a $100 dish. We wanted it to be approachable, originally we created a lobster roll—a sandwich, essentially. From there, it went through various iterations until we landed on this nice, homely pasta dish.”
For those looking for a substantial meal, the Steak Frites is worthy of a special mention. The dish is essentially a peppered Angus steak, but with native pepper berries sourced from Indigenous suppliers, Oz Tucker, in Redhead, Steve puts his own spin on the pub-classic.
“The pepper berries have a nice fruitiness to them that marry so well with the beef. On top of that, we make jus from real bones through a 5-day process that’s well-worth the effort.”
And because no pub menu would be complete without a solid offering of schnitties, parmies and burgers, Steve and his team have put their own spin on those too!
The Chicken Parmigiana features a house-made tomato and vodka sauce finished with a pinch of chilli, garlic, onion and basil, for a nice, bold flavour, while the Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Burger offers customers a crispy, gently warming meal which, Steve assures me, is lighter than other similar competitors on the market.
“We want people to be able to enjoy the spice—there has to be a reason for it. You need to be able to enjoy the heat, and hold a conversation too!”
The Lucky draws inspiration from Palm Springs, California, transporting its customers across the world to its palm-lined esplanades, understated glamour, and the serenity of urban backyards with their pastel-coloured beach-umbrellas and tranquil blue swimming pools.
From a culinary perspective Steve says this brief afforded his team significant creative licence in designing the menu.
“Palm Springs is a melting pot of all different cultures—it takes a bit of consideration to pull it all together effectively, but it means you can have Italian classics, or burgers, mixed in with other, more contemporary dishes. You can have dishes from all around the world which are very separate, but which actually come together really well in an Australian pub environment.”
With a menu that nods to the venue’s lengthy history, while offering new experiences and aesthetics, Steve Scott and his team in the kitchen ensure that The Lucky Hotel is a place where everyone is welcome.