Thom Lawson’s The Lucky Tortoise dumpling and dim sum offering is something innovative and new for customers in Dublin.
"The idea came from a sake drinking session with an old friend in London," Thom explained. "We were enjoying sake and discussing food. The idea of a dumpling menu came to mind when thinking about what we would enjoy at that specific time."
The Lucky Tortoise, which initially launched as a pop-up restaurant at the start of 2017, was used to test whether the Irish market was ready for such a specialised high quality product. After a successful run the business is now beginning to start permanent operations. Currently the restaurant operates from The Hill, Ranelagh, Sundays 5pm - 10pm; during the spring it also runs in Eatyard, Thursday - Sunday 12noon - 10pm.
The menu focuses on the concept of taking a small number of dishes, dumplings, and dim sum, elaborating on them and improving the quality. "By narrowing the menu down and focusing on a particular element of a cuisine we can really raise the quality and develop an exciting concept," said Thom.
With such a small menu, the business has been able to explore the idea of dim sum and incorporate elements which are found all around Asia. Menu offerings include ingredients from Japan, China, and Thailand, which has allowed them to explore and play with flavours. Working closely with the Village Butcher in Ranelagh, Thom has been able to source the right cuts of meat for dumpling mixes. The business has also been able to use the Oriental Emporium in Rathmines to source authentic Asian ingredients.
There is definitely a gap for innovative and focused menus, at an affordable price point, in Ireland. Asian food is a growing market across Europe as a whole, so the concept of a dim sum eatery, a very specialised niche, has been successful with the public. Creating awareness and positive associations between the name The Lucky Tortoise and quality food have also helped the business gain exposure. "We have a dedicated branding team, which gives people something to relate to. There are so many food offers that it’s important to have a strong brand to accompany the experience."
When asked what type of dining experience Thom hopes to give customer, he replied: "Authenticity, quality and an exciting dining experience".
Plans for the future, apart from the imminent expansion across multiple sites, include cooking master classes and an upcoming book. The Lucky Tortoise will also soon launch its delivery service, called Twelves and Sixes, in conjunction with Just Eat. Currently there are five employees in the company to run their weekend operation, but as the brand expands this figure will also grow over the coming months.
[quote_box_center]For more information on The Lucky Tortoise, visit their Facebook page.[/quote_box_center]