Showing posts with label laksa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label laksa. Show all posts

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Singaporean Food Hits Downtown with Bugis Street Brasserie at Millennium Biltmore Hotel

Despite LA's diversity, Singaporean food is still few and far between, but the new Bugis Street Brasserie at The Millennium Biltmore Hotel is filling in a bit of the gap.

The space that was Sai Sai Noodle Bar recently turned into Bugis Street Brasserie following its success at the Biltmore in London. Serving "Singaporean Chinese" cuisine and named after a famous street in Singapore, Bugis Street is still mainly Chinese but they do serve the two famous Singaporean dishes: laksa and Hainanese chicken rice.

Start with a tempura fried salt and pepper squid with chili and green onions ($9)
A nice appetizer since it's light and not too greasy. 

What you should order here is the laksa. The $13 bowl is pretty large and can be shared with two people. This spicy coconut broth is filled with vermicelli, shrimp, tofu, egg, chicken, fish cakes, and thai basil.
I was quite happy with the flavor of the laksa. It's spicy and flavorful, and the taste pretty close to what I can get in Singapore! The only thing missing is the standard add-on of cockles and the special chili sauce Katong serves. Oh, and there's usually no chicken.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Spice Table (Little Tokyo), Fire Ahead.

One mission had always been in the back of my mind, resurfacing when the opportunity arises: Find a good bowl laksa in LA. The bowl I use as standard is that of Katong Laksa in Singapore. Sadly, memories of that taste is slowly diminishing ... Even if it isn't quite Katong, I think I've finally found a worthy bowl at the newly opened The Spice Table in Little Tokyo.

The Laksa ($12) at The Spice Table is filled with shrimp, fish cakes, and mussels (to substitute for the usual cockles in S'pore, perhaps?), and thick udon-like noodles. The coconut curry broth is rich and thick, and they don't mess around with the spiciness.

Laksa at Spice Table
If it isn't spicy enough for you (it was plenty spicy for us), a side of sambal is provided.

While the laksa was the main reason for my going to The Spice Table, they have plenty more to offer in the classy space, dimly lit by lightbulbs inside birdcages.
The Spice Table
For those without reservations (or waiting for your party members to arrive), food and drinks are available at the bar, where you can watch the wood-and-charcoal-fired grill in action.

Rugbord Rye Beer The wines were expensive, but the beers on tap were reasonable. I like how they have 4oz pours of their draft beers for $1.75-2.50. I get to try more and *feel* like I'm drinking less. While waiting for e*starLA I had the Orchard White Belgian Witbier from The Bruery ($2) then proceeded to Rugbrod Dark Rye Ale, also from The Bruery (also $2).
There's only one bottled beer here and it's not surprising that it's the Singaporean Tiger Beer.

While I was expecting the peanut dipping sauce with the sinful Lamb Belly Satay ($10) to be sweet, my mouth was immediately on fire.
Lamb Belly Satay

Monday, September 27, 2010

Laksa, Santa Monica Night Breeze (Chef Amy's Underground Dinner)

As we walked to the home in Santa Monica Hills on that breezy evening, I fell in love with the modern house. One of the coolest things about some underground dinners is the locations that they are held (of course, some are smaller in scale and are held at the chef's house). The sleek and spacious house that night's dinner was held at belongs to the brother in law of Chef Amy Jurist of Amy's Culinary Adventures.

Al fresco dining in their large backyard.

The decoration was provided courtesy of Jonathan Fong from Clever Floral Decor.
I like the colorful fortune cookies, and the embroidered chinese take-out floral arrangement!
Yes, I took one home. What?

Chef Amy Jurist and her team were furiously preparing the food. Thankfully, the house had a pretty big kitchen.
When we walked in, I noticed Joshua Klapper of La Fenêtre wines, whom I had just met for the first time at his fifth anniversary tasting. Coincidentally, he had met Chef Amy and he was doing the wine pairing for this dinner.

The night started with a sweet, fruity blended cocktail made with Filipino calamansi juice, mango, vodka.
This went down very easily, I had to be careful not to gulp it down as it was a smoothie.

Salmon and asparagus yakitori, Ahi tuna tartar with wasabi tobiko, Chicken and shrimp lumpia, Grilled beef satay with thai peanut sauce

Laksa (curry coconut) with rice noodles and shrimp
Wine: 2008 La Fenêtre A Cote Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County
I haven't had laksa since my last visit to Singapore. I've been looking for a good version of this dish in Los Angeles but hasn't succeeded. Chef Amy's version was surprisingly good. The flavors are not as rich and bold, but the essence was there. There's no squid or cockles but the shrimp was nicely cooked.

What it looks like to prepare food for 80 people at once:
Pupu Platter: Coconut shrimp, Thai cucumber salad, crab & shiitake dumpling, Peking duck in green tea sesame crepe. For this dish they also served a glass of Thai iced tea.
Wine: 2008 La Fenêtre A Cote Pinot Noir, Central Coast
I enjoyed everything on this plate except for the Thai cucumber salad which I found to be too vinegary for my taste. The green tea sesame crepe was a great unique touch to Peking duck.

The main entree: Miso glazed black cod with green tea soba and Asian vegetable melange
Wine: 2008 La Fenêtre Sierra Madre Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley
Miso black cod is a pretty common dish and probably for pretty good reason: It's a good combination. Cook your cod propery and everyone will enjoy it. That was the case here. The texture of the cod was spot on. There was too much sauce on the soba though, making it too sweet and a little soggy.

Dessert: Turon Saba (Banana and jackfruit springroll with macapuno banana ice cream) - Philippines
I had to google it but apparently macapuno is what kopyor in Indonesia is: a mutant coconut with more tender and crumbly meat. The macapuno banana ice cream was definitely the highlight of the dessert - now I have to wonder where I can possibly get more.

The other aspect of this dinner that we enjoyed very much was meeting interesting people from all walks of life both during the cocktail hour and sitting next to them at the big communal tables.

These underground dinners aren't exactly cheap at around $100 (depending on the dinners and when you purchase the tickets) though it does include all the pre-dinner drinks and wine pairing, but I like how her dinners are held at cool locations like this house, or art galleries. You won't know where it will be until a few days before though, and you won't know the full menu either. Since the themes of dinner change every time, from Asian to Cheese to Bacon, choose the one that's enticing if you're planning on trying Chef Amy's underground dinner for the first time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Missing Laksa in LA ...Out of Luck?

There isn't much in the way of Singaporean food in LA. So what do you do when you're craving it? Would you hold out or would you try your luck?

The Singaporean restaurants I know of are only Singapore Express, and Banana Leaf. Since I was heading to the 3rd St Farmer's Market for the fruit juices at Eple anyway, I wondered if I should try out Banana Leaf. A majority of their menu is decidedly Indonesian, like "nasi goreng"/fried rice etc. Being Indonesian I can't justify my eating Indonesian food at a Singaporean restaurant, especially with Simpang Asia so nearby.

I've been craving, but wasn't sure if I should try my luck here, but in the end I did anyway. Here's a bowl of Laksa from Banana Leaf: Now, the last time I had laksa was what, IMHO, the best katong laksa in Singapore: 328 Katong Laksa. So how does Banana Leaf's Laksa compare? Well ... it's not bad, but it really doesn't. I thought the soup was not bad and they add an adequate amount of the chili sauce, but it was just full of fishballs. While katong laksa contains the right amount and proportion of shrimp, squid, and fish sticks, Banana Leaf's laksa contains a bit of tofu and a whole lot of fish balls ... I like their bean sprouts touch, but otherwise it doesn't quite do it for me. Oh, and it's missing the coriander.

I guess when you're really craving laksa, it's a decent bowl to tide you over until you can make it down to Singapore. This part of the world is sadly underrepresented in LA, hopefull that will change one day ..

Singapore's Banana Leaf

6333 W 3rd St # 122
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 933-4627

Singapore's Banana Leaf on Urbanspoon
Singapore's Banana Leaf in Los Angeles

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