The ‘luck’ in Lucky 8 was in full play today as we turned up to lunch without a reservation and nabbed some of the very last seats! Greeted by a red neon cat calling us up matt black stairs, the entrance opens into a very cool, vibing Ponsonby Road upper storey. The place was humming, lots of staff busily delivering drinks and Asian tapas-style food to a jam-packed room.
The bar, set in the centre, is surrounded by stools inviting patrons to watch the mass cocktail creation while they dine. A mix of tables and more lounging type sofa set ups don the outer exposed brick walls. The whole loft-styled building is decorated in the signature matt black (the lucky black cats were everywhere), enhanced with pops of vibrant neon – the combo made for a fun and relaxed atmosphere!
Offering a clever play on ‘8’, the menu is filled with options for $8.88 dishes and yes, you gotta see it to believe it, $8.88 cocktails! The Asian inspired tapas were wonderfully flavourful, both spicy and sweet and the sauces were epic. The staff were really friendly and helped to explain the self-ordering system using QR codes. This does however have the potential to be a little painful if you’re not so tech savvy, the internet is being laggy or you just can’t be arsed, but overall it was quite an efficient way to free up the staff to get the food out nice and quick. And quick it was!
The shared dishes we devoured included Pork and Shrimp Dumplings, Vegetarian Dumplings, Hao’s lamb, Pork Belly Fries, Hao’s Chilli Chicken, Teriyaki Eggplant, Chicken Thighs, Shrimp Wrapped Bacon and Xioalongbao. Yum!
The hand-rolled dumplings are one of Lucky 8’s signature dishes and tasted just as good as they looked. We also love the ‘behind the scenes’ ability to watch the drinks pouring and the dumpling rolling from the front of the house – this little hidden gem halfway down Ponsonby Road has a big red, neon tick from us.
Mel had the Pork and Prawn dumplings and a bit of everything else. She said “Such a fun, vibrant place, it was super busy so if you want to come it pays to book ahead. We were ‘lucky’ to get some bar seats by rocking up without a reservation, happy about that! The food was really good and seemed like good value. Loved all the neon lights and cool decor, super atmospheric – will be super keen to come back in the evening and try more of the tapas style dishes and the very stylish looking cocktails!”
Sarah had the a bit of everything. She said, “Loved it! The flavours were great, the decor was cool. It was fun to get a rolling delivery of tasty plates to the table. The eggplant skewer and chilli chicken were my faves. I am excited to go back for the evening vibes and to try a couple of cocktails. I think this is a great spot for small share plates but not if you need a big meal.”
Louise had the Prawn & Pork dumplings plus something of everything and some of nature’s fruit juice. She said,” Loved the vibe, the decor, the exposed brick and floorboards, the combo of black and orange neon, the open plan central bar and…. the food. Tasty and memorable. Didn’t love ordering for 5 people on my phone without strong wifi, the patchy delay between item delivery and sitting facing a wall – however given that we didn’t book, I can’t expect much else from a joint that is full to the brim and smashing it out. Happy times!”