Lua is a two story place with the main dining room downstairs and a bar/casual dining upstairs. Downstairs the 7 large tables are nicely spaced and set with nice linens but no flowers or condiments. They did have pleasant background music but you couldn’t appreciate it until the climate control cut out. The napkins are tied with a knotted string that was not easy to untie or get off the napkin. The only option in the main dining room is a surprise 9 course tasting menu for 65 euros or with wine pairings it is 90 euros. The staff is okay but their English was limited and thus the explanations of the dishes was minimal. This seemed odd for a Michelin starred restaurant, but the general vibe of the place was really laid back and not overly inviting.
We chose to have the wine pairings with our meal as it is difficult to select wines when you don’t know what it’s going with and the staff offers no help. The pours were appropriately sized and refilled when needed. The meal included one amuse bouche, a faux olive in a bowl of olive oil. It did have good olive taste but was not as full of liquid as others I’ve had. The oil, in a giant porcelain oyster shell, was left on the table, I’m guessing for dipping your bread into. You are also served bread from a tray of 3 different varieties. We chose the corn and white breads. They were average, but not stale.
The tasting started with a squid tartar served with apple and salmon eggs. The squid was also the source of dye for the crispy, greasy chip it was served on. It was to be eaten by hand. The squid was a bit chewy and the all the flavors mild except for the nice eggs that also have it a little textural fun.
The razor clam was served with red onion. It was a good sized, mild, tasty and chewy clam but the surrounding ingredients had a definite fishy overtone.
The last appetizer was a foie gras biscuit with smokey cheese pear sauce. The sauce was really tasty and the biscuit had a yummy goodness that was rich and full of flavor. It was slightly caramelized on the top which gave is a bit of crunch.
The scallop and green tomato sauce was studded with bits of vegetables. The sauce had a definite Mexican influence, with the tart taste of tomatillos. The scallops were tender and although the taste was nice it was not overwhelming. It all worked together well but would rate only a solid good.
The celery, shrimp and rice was a beautiful combination of colors. The rice was nicely al dente and the shrimp was just barely cooked both of which gave the dish nice texture, but the celery was turned into way too much green goo and contributed a fairly strong celery taste. It was accented with some stringy things (celery?) and some slimy leaves.
The first main course was octopus with jello and mushrooms. The meaty octopus was excellent but was surrounded by a very salty sauce. A nice assortment of mushrooms which were very good helped save the dish.
The lamb shoulder was covered with a sauce a lot like a barbecue sauce. The lamb was tender and not too greasy. The usual globs of fat had been rendered or cooked out to produce melt in your mouth meat. It was simple, not sophisticated yet really tasty. This sauce was a bit heavy on the salt too but overall this one was well done – a winner.
The first dessert was apple and lemonade, a sugary topping on lemon jelly. It was VERY tart and thankfully had no wine pairing. The weird texture was dominated with strong lemon flavor. It didn’t cleanse my palate as much as sterilize it.
The Russian cake was on top of some ginger soup and accompanied by a meringue-like foam. The ginger broth was a bit bitter and detracted from the tasty cake, which was really good and full of wonderful textures and tastes.
The after dinner treats were a cinnamon twist, marzipan blond cakes and chocolate covered butter cream with a bit of crunch on the outside and was a yum x3 whereas the first two were just okay.