The crack team behind The Classroom, Cocina Bandito and Cocktail Gastronomy – Adam Keane, Andrew Bennett, Daniel Sterpini, and Sasha Verheggen – have pulled another rabbit out of their hats with Northbridge bar Lucky Chan’s Laundry + Noodlebar. It’s not only Australia’s first permanent crowdfunded restaurant, but also home to a killer bowl of ramen. We chat with co-owner Andrew Bennett about the journey from concept to completion.
You crowdsourced more than $100,000 to open Lucky Chan’s. What was the experience like?
The project was conceived and spearheaded by Lucky Chan’s co-owner Sasha Verheggen, and we’re immensely proud this became a Perth first – and truly humbled by the amount of support we received from the community. Hundreds and hundreds of people – folks we’d never met before – from across WA, Australia, and even internationally were prepared to back us and believe in us. For any new business, that kind of support – not just financial, but emotional – is incalculably valuable. Being an Australian first, coupled with a relatively new concept of funding, had its challenges, but we believed in the process from the very beginning. We saw it as an opportunity for real people – future patrons of Lucky Chan’s – to help bring the project to life and ultimately affect the way it was presented.
Noodles are having a bit of moment in Perth. Why do you think that is, and what makes your noodles unique?
Noodles – particularly ramen – are an undying passion of ours, so much so that before Lucky Chan’s opened we devoted more than 12 months just to perfect our ramen. Six months just to work on the master broth, four months on the noodles alone, and every spare moment devoted to making the best possible product we could. We acknowledge many of our contemporaries buy in their noodles, their dumpling wrappers or wonton skins, and even though some dismiss noodles as the byproduct of a good dish, we think they’re often the star performer. So we imported a $30,000 Japanese noodle machine and created a temperature-controlled noodle-making room at Lucky Chan’s. From there, the rest was easy… Highly trained staff work with reverse-osmosis water and scientifically blended wheat strains to create our very own signature Lucky Chan’s noodle flour recipe, before hand-making each batch of noodles fresh every day.
You guys are known for going above and beyond when it comes to fitting out your venues. What lengths have you gone to for Lucky Chan’s?
With Lucky Chan’s, we saw an opportunity to honour the legacy that Asian migrants created when they settled in Northbridge during the Gold Rush Era, creating new enterprises and business opportunities for the state – among them the concept of the Chinese laundry. There is a rich cultural history in Chinatown and William Street, so it was beholden on us to create a venue that spoke to that history, but in a way that didn’t have to only be rooted in the past. Lucky Chan’s co-owner Daniel Sterpini spearheaded the project build and much of the space design, and brings with him an immense talent for creating unique spaces and places with personality. Lucky Chan, after all, is a man of exceptional experience and taste, so it had to be good!
Any sage advice for budding small-bar owners in Perth?
Don’t for a second think that Melbourne and Sydney have a monopoly on best practice, exceptional service and world-class venues. Perth punches well above its weight on the hospitality scene, and we encourage those who want to push the standard of service even higher to help make Western Australia’s bar, restaurant and hotel scene the envy of the country.
311 William Street, Northbridge.