Vegan eatery Lucky Ducks has opened its doors among Aldinga’s growing food precinct - and locals are taking to the plant-based fare.
Local wines and plant-based dining at Lucky Ducks in Aldinga
For the location of new vegan restaurant and bar Lucky Ducks, Aldinga seemed to tick all the right boxes.
The busy intersection of Old Coach and Port roads was close to the sea and already populated with popular restaurants and cafés, including Kick Back Brewing, Little Rickshaw and Maxwell Grocery.
It also had a long-empty café. Rosey’s By The Sea served up all-day breakfast for five years before it shut its doors three years ago. The site sat empty, until recently.
After the installation of a new kitchen and shipping container bar, former Rosey’s head chef Jac Lovat, his fiancée Stacey Smith, and Maxwell Grocery owners Richard and Lisa Maxwell have opened Lucky Ducks.
The business partners knew they were onto a winner two years ago when Jac ran a vegan pop-up at Maxwells Grocery during an early COVID lockdown. Locals flocked to it, showing a demand for more local plant-based restaurants.
Lucky Ducks then opened with little fanfare on 21 January this year, and is already proving popular with locals. Within a few days of word getting out about the new vegan restaurant, bookings started stacking up.
The restaurant’s first two weekends of trade were fully booked, filling the 44 outdoor seat capacity, despite little advertising or social media.
“Aldinga is booming right now, and the old Rosey’s was just sitting dormant for a long time, and I knew the guys in the area were really wanting to put something there because of its success,” Stacey says.
“Jac had done a late-night vegan pop-up for Maxwells and so there really was a demand for this sort of thing, and the restaurants around it were just building in popularity.
“The space on our side was a little dead, and Maxwell’s close at 4pm, so it was just a sitting duck – no pun intended.
“The demand has been really overwhelming for us, but in a really good way.” New here? Sign up to receive the latest happenings from around our city, sent every Thursday afternoon.
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Hoping to take the stereotype and judgement out of eating plant-based food, the restaurant is pitching itself to meat-eaters as a place which “all sorts of people can enjoy”.
Dishes on the menu include karaage cauliflower, a Japanese-inspired dish of cauliflower wings served with scooped out potato salad, za’atar pulled mushrooms served with hummus, pine nuts, chickpeas and pickles, salt and pepper eggplant and a tasty pâté.
Jac’s basil cheesecake has been so popular, customers book in just to eat it after dinner.
“If the food is delicious and it’s yummy, it doesn’t matter if it’s vegan or not,” Stacey says.
“We want meat-eaters and all sorts of people to enjoy it. We just want people to know that you can cook food in different ways. Vegan doesn’t need a stereotype or something lame or judgy or anything.”
The wine list acts as a love letter to the Fleurieu, offering a modest selection of drops from local makers, such as Camwell, Brash Higgins and Geddes.
“We just want people to know that there are a lot of different ways to prepare food, and we just want to make delicious food from the heart that every one can enjoy,” Stacey says.
“It’s all about getting everyone together, enjoying a meal together, and then hopefully coming back.”
Lucky Ducks is located at 206 Port Road in Aldinga and operates from 5pm ’til late Thursday through Sunday.