"Hip bricks and fancy bowls"
Smack bang in the middle of a South Indian cluster of divine proportions stands this trendy Nyonya eatery. Replete with the token naked brick walls, a hipster bicycle by the entrance, signage done with tongue-in-cheek forethought, and a clinically clean appearance, I had doubts about how the food would venture.
My desirous will entices surrender from eating companions, and I therefore plan my meals to take place at awkward hours when regular people have jobs or families to attend to. I can, in those circumstances, enjoy food alone without the shriek of children or the constant stare of strangers wondering why I am photographing a bowl from various angles.
It should be no secret by now, that Laksa is something I crave in undulating yelps. A stranger that I reconcile myself with at every given opportunity. Nestled from the constant danger of eating Asam Laksa with it's reptilian funk, I was glad to read of a Nyonya spot a ten minute walk from my dwelling place. Google maps was accosted, and into the brave new world of blinding sunlight and testing humidity I marched, past blind beggars splayed out in walking stick formations, kids selling candy and the brutality of constant traffic. Anak Baba stood in irreconsilable placement in contrast to its surroundings. Like the first breath of gentrification, though hardly the worst place to start. Entering you'd be hard pressed to know whether you were in the hip-dom of Hong Kong, a trendy eatery in South Jakarta or even Da-An, Taipei. With brutal lines and minimalist brushstrokes, I was immediately entranced, and yet suspicious of the food. As is often the case with such places, the need for visual gratification sometimes outweighs the efforts in the kitchen.
I sprung open the menu and ordered the Nyonya Laksa, dreaming of the first time I ate at Limapulo Can Cook. There was a solitary man sitting outside talking on his phone, back turned to me. I was comforted in being shunned.
After a quick ten minutes of faffing around, the waiter brought my ice-coffee and Nyonya Laksa. I dug in. The broth was fairly good. Nothing close to Limapulo, or Mews in Penang, but pretty good. I liked the fresh stacking of cucumber threads on top, adding that nice crunch and brightness to the dish. The egg was a regular hard boiled variety, no flourishes there.
What disappointed me the most was the texture of the noodles. I'm not even sure what they were made out of, I didn't dare ask the waiter, but they just didn't sit right with me. The seafood and rest of the bowl was on par with most places, and definitely felt fresh and not over-cooked. I'd have to say all in all the visit was positive, and despite the Laksa ulimately not living up to expectations, there are a few more dishes on the menu I would come back to try.
Lets say it's a bright new spot in a landscape of immitating curry houses and roti shops, which could do with a few adjustments to make it a place worth fawning over.
All these recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"