Q&A with The Lucky Bee's Rupert Noffs

Q&A with The Lucky Bee's Rupert Noffs

Refreshing platters of oysters with chili sauce preface entrées of spicy curries. Filip Wolak

When Rupert Noffs and his husband, chef Matty Bennett, came to NYC’s Lower East Side in 2011, they saw a gap in the Lower Manhattan dining scene. Leaving the trappings of many downtown haunts (Edison light bulbs and moody color palates) at the door, The Lucky Bee is a pastel pink and blue-hued spot with lush hanging plants and Thai fare. Take a peek for yourself with restaurateur Noffs.

IN New York: How did Lucky Bee come to New York?

Rupert Noffs: Matty and I came over here in 2011 from Australia. We thought there was a niche in the market for affordable, casual and super spicy Thai food in a really fun environment. I designed the front of house space and Matty did the menu.

INNY: What does Matty bring from his past experience?

RN: I always say what we created in Lucky Bee is a mix of Long Grain in Sydney (proper, pan-Asian Thai) with farm-to-table culture.

INNY: Do you have a favorite dish on the Lucky Bee menu?

RN: My favorite dish is the crab betel leaves. A betel leaf is an Asian leaf with a peppery flavor. Matty adds crabmeat, a little fish sauce, ginger, chili, shallots and cilantro. It’s the most amazing flavor sensation.

Lucky Bee, Filip Wolak

INNY: Do you guys have favorite spots in the neighborhood you’d recommend to travelers?

RN: We love the [home goods] store Coming Soon. It has a pink neon sign and you just go in and there’s really beautiful pieces and the owners are so sweet. Cafe Katja—Matty’s from England so we go over and get their schnitzel and German beers.