Fullfilling a dream
At the age of 23, Luke Nguyen fulfilled his dream by opening his first restaurant, Red Lantern, with his sister Pauline together with Mark Jensen. Vietnamese cuisine is aromatic, fresh & full of vitality. It's simple, honest food that thrives with great produce.
At the age of 23, Luke fulfilled his dream by opening his very own restaurant – Red Lantern, with his sister Pauline Nguyen and Mark Jensen. In 2012, the team opened their second restaurant, Red Lantern on Riley & Red Lily Cocktail Bar.
Pauline is one of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs…but with difference. She is inspiration with substance. She speaks with warmth and humour, telling her own story of what can be achieved through hard work and determination. She has a high performing western business background combined with an eastern slant of spirituality.
Mark Jensen is no stranger to the Sydney dining scene. For the last 25 years, he has seen a multitude of restaurants and food trends fall in and out of favour. He appreciates how challenging the hospitality industry is, and is grateful for his own personal journey.
Red Lantern Press
"Forget lockout laws, the biggest threat to Sydney's nightlife right now is food delivery services such as UberEATS and Deliveroo. That's according to restaurateur Pauline Nguyen, sister to chef Luke Nguyen and co-owner of high-end Vietnamese restaurant Red Lantern. She has a simple message for Sydneysiders who want a more lively city." Sydney Morning Herald
"Have you ever walked into a restaurant and you immediately feel like you are part of the family? It starts with that moment, just before they greet you, where you can sense the warmth growing inside of you as they glide towards and open the door with a beaming smile, an infectious energy and an open heart, as though they have known you for years. I have found that this is extremely rare and when it does occur the simple act of eating a meal is transformed into a beauty of art. This exact moment occurred last night as we experienced the magic of Sydney restaurant, Red Lantern’s hospitality, award-winning food and unrivaled atmosphere." NRG2Perform
"The Surry Hills flagship closed in 2015 but the menu still stands at the moody Riley Street Red Lantern. Luke Nguyen’s Vietnamese stalwart may have been around for more than a decade but it consistently serves up plates of the cuisine proper – a diner at another table took a bite of the muc rang muoi (salt and pepper squid) and declared it to be 'totally scrumptious'. What makes it so? Seasoned with chilli salt, the crunchy batter yields to the chewy squid and the sharp, white pepper comes in a lemony dipping sauce. Also delicious are the banh bot chien – dense rice cake squares topped with tiger prawns and curls of pork floss – and the ca chien xot nuoc dua, pan-fried fish fillets in a milky curry generously garnished with lemongrass and shallots." Qantas Travel Insider
"On top of all those stylish interiors, you’ll get some punchy, well-executed takes on classic Vietnamese dishes." Time Out
"The stomping ground of TV Chef, Luke Nguyen, Red Lantern on Riley offers upmarket Vietnamese fare that plays with the form and flavour of traditional street food." Sydney.com
"The menu blends favourite Vietnamese dishes with Red Lantern classics and a few new party tricks." Good Food
"Given that Australia is the driest continent in the world (after Antarctica, where most humans can't live comfortably for long anyway), conserving our water supplies is crucial to our sustainable future. And that's why Red Lantern, the most awarded Vietnamese restaurant on the planet, has installed its own rain tanks, as well as a wok cooking system that works without a drop of water. The majority of produce comes from organic farms and used-up cooking oil heads to Cookers, where it's turned into bio fuel. Red Lantern head chef Mark Jensen is so passionate about sustainability, he's written a book about it." Concrete Playground Sydney
"With the opening of Red Lantern on Riley from co-owners Luke Nguyen and Mark Jensen, Sydney’s modern Vietnamese dining scene just got a whole lot brighter." Gourmet Traveller
"I guess I had presumed that once you get a television show your time in your own restaurant is minimal but then we see him bringing out dishes from the kitchen." Not Quite Nigella
"Fragrant perilla and fish mint leaves, purple amaranth, spicy pennywort, serrated sawtooth and the intriguing rice paddy herb - a cheap breakfast in a workers' cafe in Ho Chi Minh City comes to the table accompanied by a basket overflowing with lush leaves and herbs. The small leaves are there for flavour, the large ones for wrapping. Together, they make every mouthful taste clean and fresh." Sydney Morning Herald
"Getting a group of friends together and embarking on a feast of shared Vietnamese food is an idea that warms the soul, as well as just being totally fun and delicious. Red Lantern on Riley's Luke Nguyen has overseen a delicious Indochine inspired menu mixed with the fantastic flair of the Nguyen family, featuring dishes like oven roasted duck marinated in honey and sherry vinegar with orange, star anise and cassia sauce and the classic banh xeo crepe full of delicious produce." The Urban List
"Run by the renowned Luke Nguyen, this award-winning establishment is a standout of Sydney restaurants, not just Vietnamese ones. The Darlinghurst restaurant serves traditional dishes such as Vit Quay (roasted duck) and Ca Ri De (goat meat in with turmeric and coconut milk curry) as well as some more contemporary style dishes." Weekend Notes
"You honour good company in Vietnam by putting a red lantern outside of the home. Red Lantern on Riley promotes ethical eating by using fresh and sustainable produce in their menu and uses long standing family secrets and techniques in preparation of their dishes. The end result is a quality meal born out of love." Sydney Cafes
"Red Lantern is a special treat place with a decor, ambience and philosophy to warrant its prices. I love the food here so much, so I have both of Luke cookbooks. In 2010 Red Lantern was voted Top Ten Most Environmentally Sustainable Restaurants Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. It is now the most awarded Vietnamese restaurant in the world. Try the $55 lunch menu for real value for money, it offers six items in a tasting style service and is a brilliant way to get a get overview of what they do here." Sydney Expert
"Luke Nguyen’s Red Lantern is the world’s most awarded Vietnamese restaurant. Yes, the world’s! Aren’t we lucky? It’s also a feast for the senses, with a buzzy vibe, French colonial décor, and a focus on regional, vibrant Vietnamese food. Anything you order is guaranteed to be good and there are plenty of vegetarian options (including a dedicated tasting menu)." Sitchu
"Nguyen was born in a refugee camp in Thailand in 1978 before arriving in Australia, where his family opened a Vietnamese restaurant in Cabramatta. Luke has continued the family tradition since 2002 with Red Lantern, which serves Sydney’s best Vietnamese fare. But the celebrity chef is best known to audiences as the host of a number of TV series investigating cuisine in his homeland, France and the UK, as well as guest appearances on all the top cooking shows." The Culture Trip