Bridge Room, Woodcut chef Ross Lusted to open restaurant and bar at new Melbourne Place hotel


Get ready for lots of seafood and Iberian influences at the latest projects from decorated Sydney restaurant couple Ross and Sunny Lusted.

Tomas Telegramma

Hospitality veterans Ross and Sunny Lusted have long made waves in Sydney.
Before closing in 2019, the couple’s CBD fine diner, The Bridge Room, won The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year in 2016, with a coveted three hats. They followed up with swanky steakhouse Woodcut, which opened at Crown Sydney in late 2020.

Now the Lusteds have set their sights on Melbourne, today announcing plans to open two venues in the CBD this September. They’ll sit alongside a soon-to-open luxury boutique hotel at Melbourne Place in Russell Street, with their own entrances. There will be an “elegant” ground floor restaurant and an “eclectic” basement bar with dining also, the Lusteds say.

Sunny and Ross Lusted are setting up shop on Russell Street in the CBD.
Sunny and Ross Lusted are setting up shop on Russell Street in the CBD.Luis Enrique Ascui

“We’ve been keeping an eye out in Melbourne for quite a while,” says Sunny.

While we know the dining style will bear influence from the Iberian coast, which the Lusteds have spent years exploring, they’re staying mum on specifics for now. As at their other venues, Sunny will handle operations, while Ross will be in the kitchen.

Regarding the concept, which draws on seafood and coastal Portuguese and Spanish influences, “it’s quite a departure from anything we’ve ever done before,” says Sunny. “And a huge departure from Woodcut,” adds Ross.

There, he serves a menu uniquely split by cooking method rather than the traditional entree-main-dessert format.

The Lusteds will use some of the same Victorian fisheries that supply Woodcut.
The Lusteds will use some of the same Victorian fisheries that supply Woodcut.

Sunny adds that the two venues will be “very distinct” from each other.

“What’s always excited me about Melbourne [that] we don’t really have in Sydney is the fact it’s a market-driven city,” says Ross, referencing inner-city fresh food markets like Queen Victoria Market and Prahran Market. His plan involves leaning into the abundance of Victorian producers – in particular, fisheries – many of which he uses at Woodcut.

“It’s going to be all about Melbourne and Victoria, with our own special twist,” says Sunny.

The Lusteds are no strangers to the hotel world, having worked internationally for global brand Aman Resorts to help open more than a dozen hotels.

The Lusted’s venues are slated to open alongside Melbourne Place hotel in September. Former Audrey’s chef Nick Deligiannis, named The Age Good Food Guide 2023 Young Chef of the Year, will be the hotel’s founding executive chef.

130 Russell Street, Melbourne, melbourneplace.com.au

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