Adding to the rise of Asian fusion restaurants around the Auckland CBD, Lucky Buddha adds its own flavour to the expanding Fort Street scene. With Korean owners and a Filipino chef, the Asian fusion tag is well and alive as East meets East.
This makes things interesting on the menu: there’s beef tatare, lamb ribs, ‘halo-halo’ (a Filipino dessert), sake, buns. You don’t quite know what to settle for. Inside, a shared long table dominates one side but most diners prefer to be seated at separate tables.
Going there at 6pm on a Friday night, we were asked whether we had reservations to be seated at one of those separate tables. I got nothing against the shared table philosophy but typically on a weeknight, I had my bag full of things collected from a week of teaching, and an end of the week desire to lean back and ooze. That night though, it was considered too busy so we didn’t have a choice but to sit at the bar stools at the long communal table.
The drunken chicken first caught my eye but it was nothing like what I had expected! I had imagined juicy and tender whole slices of chicken soaked in rice wine as a traditional Chinese dish. I guess this is where the fusion fact comes in. My friend did like it though, the bean sprouts and fresh coriander in the salad made it refreshing and moorish.
My favourites were the beef tatare and the spicy chicken. The chicken was juicy and not soaked in oils, accompanied with rice balls lightly dusted with crispy seasoning. Even though it was listed as a shared plate, I could have easily settled on this as a main for myself. The beef tatare was one of the best I’ve had – it was kept light with nashi pear and crisps, a good balance of sweet and savoury flavours.
There’s so much on the dessert menu that I wanted to try – the durian ice cream, halo-halo…but the combination of chocolate, coconut and pandan cream was a winner. Have a bit of everything on your spoon and you’ll be transported to a waffley soft chocolate heaven.
Food is a bit of a hit or miss at The Lucky Buddha. From what I had, I was seduced enough to want to go back and try more – just as we were leaving I saw the dish of lamb ribs that made me want to reach over and snag one. As with most newly opened eateries, the atmosphere is young and bright with waiters attentive to every eye catch. I just wished the dishes came out all at once but I guess that’s something you can add while doing the orders. The shared plates were a winner so go along with friends who like to try a bit of everything!
Lucky Buddha Eatery
Ph: (09) 309 3990
48 Fort St