The Laksa Battles: Monk and Me VS Laksa Me
The beloved Curry Laksa is an essential staple during the cold Winter months. I succumb to a bowl of this stuff at least once a week which also means, half a box of tissues as it brings out the sniffles. However, the reason why I’m starting on a Laksa quest, is truthfully, Melbourne has been an inconsistent performer in this dish. It either turns out too watery, too spicy, with too much coconut milk, too sour etc.. There are a number of laksa varieties such as lemak, katong or the asam varierty which is on the sour side. What seems to be the case is that, many eateries at times are mixing/combining these varieties together resulting in disaster.
My ideal Laksa should be fragrant with the right balance of coconut milk and broth, paste that is not too hot, thin rice and thick egg noodles are mandatory, laksa leaf (daun kesum), mint leaves, tofu, chicken and shrimp. I’m not fussed if bean shoots are missing.
aaahh..drooling! Now I can’t stop thinking about having one right now- happens everytime…..
So the quest begins and the contenders are……
1. Monk and Me
Details: Monk and Me. 9 Evans Pl, Hawthorn East 3123 VIC. Next too Borders/Dick Smith.
Surroundings: Cosy with dark chocolate wooden furniture, communal tables in the centre. Jazz music stirs the appetite.
Curry Laksa: Served with vermicelli and hokkien noodles (relieved!) fried bean curd puff, fish cake, chicken, bean shoots and fresh crunchy string beans. Now this is what I call a damn Laksa- the delectable blend of fresh ingredients and Malaysian flavours being sweet, sour and spicy that all team up to play footy with the tastebuds.
The soupbase was creamy and pulled off the kind of charm that makes you smile after the first spoonfool. To us fellow Foodies, this is the sure fire sign of many repeat visits and recommendations.
The only downfall was the end of the meal.
I was actually thinking “Do I go on without shame and lick the bowl?” Luckily for my embarrassed friends, the bowl was actually quite deep. Dang! Too bad…
Service: Was personable and friendly. Thumbs up.
Food Rehab Verdict: Sent me to food rehab (book this place now! Wowzer) – Greenlight
2. Laksa Me
Details: Laksa Me. Shop 1, 16 Liverpool Street, (laneway off upper Burke Street), Melbourne (03) 96399885
Surroundings: Industrial/warehouse. Brick walls, concrete floors- chili during the colder months.
Laksa: My Mum’s Laksa. Presentation wise, this was a winner being decorated with all the necessary trimmings that make a great laksa- the chicken, tofu, mint leaves etc. Well…that was until I took the first anticipated spoonfool. Although I love tamarind, i’m not a huge fan of the Asam style Laksa which this was.
The broth definitely had some fierce heat, but that was it without any real depth of flavour. I don’t mind the spice, but it needs to at least accompany a tasty broth. The very few pieces of pork also tasted a few days old. When devouring a bowl of soup- whether it be a laksa or a Pho, I expect to find some level of comfort. In winter, soup is my solace so in this instance, I was a little disappointed.
I’d like to give LaksaMe another go, hopefully another time soon.
Service: Service was prompt but in terms of friendliness, it was ok. Not a smile or thank you to be found.
Food Rehab Verdict: Still sane (good, not great but check it out if you’re in the area) – Orangelight
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