DINING REVIEW: Lure at Wests New Lambton

CATCH: The fruits of the sea chowder at Lure at Wests, where the menu focuses on all things seafood. Pictures: Marina Neil
CATCH: The fruits of the sea chowder at Lure at Wests, where the menu focuses on all things seafood. Pictures: Marina Neil

I always forget just how big Wests at New Lambton is until I visit again. It’s not your average club with a bistro and a bar and a pokies room. It’s a behemoth of a place. I’m reminded of this when I realise they can sustain five separate sit-down, a la carte restaurants, as well as the buffet and smaller open eateries downstairs. And the restaurants aren’t slap-dash affairs. We are talking fine dining, quality produce and service with sincerity.

REEL DEAL: You can select your own fresh fish from the display.

REEL DEAL: You can select your own fresh fish from the display.

Lure is one of these restaurants you’ll find if you ascend the stairs. As the name suggests, there is a focus on seafood, either as the main event or as a key ingredient, so best to walk on by to the Chophouse Grill if you prefer the beasts of the land to the creatures of the deep (although Lure does offer some turf amidst the surf). There’s a blackboard at the front door letting you know what the fish of the day is, sourced from either the Newcastle or Sydney fish markets. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a glass cabinet opposite the front door where the fresh fish are on display, on ice, so you can select your own if you’d like.   

Although the restaurant has glass along the front making the window seats a little like a fish bowl, it’s a haven away from the hustle and bustle of the passing punters. There’s a nautical feel to the place, but no lifebuoys on the walls. Think wooden, pale blue furniture, candles, and white napkins. 

We start with some mixed oysters where you can select two options from natural, kilpatrick, mornay or battered. Rather than the usual half dozen, Lure serves up eight plump molluscs; the natural is briny and fat, the mornay is not overtly cheesy. 

Many dishes can be ordered as entrees or in main sizes. An entree of three blue swimmer crab cakes are crumbed, pan seared, but ever-so fragile. And I’m detecting a hint of cinnamon in them to add a new dimension. Its lime aioli and rocket and fennel salad add texture and freshness.

The seafood chowder is thick and creamy and brimming with bite-sized morsels of fish, crab, mussels, clams and prawns. Two long parmesan croutons are cheesy and crunchy and great for dipping and scooping up the soup.

Also good for dipping are a side dish of hot chips. With smokey chipotle seasoning and quirky squeezy syringes full of vinegar, they are totally moreish. Fish and chips for the win!

There are four fish of the day – mahi mahi, tuna, baby snapper and barramundi. Each is prepared in a way to showcase the fish. You can also select the type of batter or crumb you’d prefer, if that’s how your fish is to be cooked. The mahi mahi is battered, the tuna chargrilled, the whole snapper is fried and the barramundi is seared to give its skin a nice crispiness. Served with zesty salad and eggplant purée, the fish is moist and fleshy with an earthy undercurrent.

If you really love your seafood and want to try it all, try the seafood plate which offers a bounty of king prawns, smoked salmon, grilled fish, crab cake, seafood arancini, squid and oysters. 

There is a prolific wine list, but apart from the house drops, they don’t come cheap. Keep that in mind for the meals too – it is fresh seafood. This clean, cosy space with fresh produce and flavours and attentive service will have you hook, line and sinker.  

QUICK BITE

The essentials

  • What: : Lure
  • Where: Wests, 88 Hobart Road, New Lambton
  • Hours: Dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 5.30pm and Friday lunch from 12pm.
  • Contact: 4935 1200; lureseasfoodrestaurant.com.au 
  • Drinks: Glasses from $12; bottles from $25 – $500+
  • Vegetarian: Bread, 2 mains, sides.
  • Wheelchair: Yes
  • Bottom line: Entrees $18-24; mains $28-40; desserts $17-20
  • Do try: Fish of the day with sides. 

The seafood chowder is thick and creamy and full of bite-sized morsels of fish, crab, mussels, clams and prawns.