I have seemingly gone straight from my Singaporean and Malaysian posts to Melbourne (there are several Melbourne restaurant posts to come), with a pitstop at De Vietnamien. If you think I've been busy, I've probably been even busier than you think. Truth is, my Sydney trip (Marque and Subsolo) came before Melbourne but I got those posts out of the way first.
These days, I seem to be spending an awful amount of time in airports. I booked Melbourne to take advantage of the QLD Labor Day long weekend and my friend Nina decided she could make it too. We were on different flights there but managed to score the same flight back. I usually transit through quite smoothly (although I do get selected for 'random' explosive checks and bag searches more than seems reasonable for a 'random procedure') but my flight to Melbourne wasn't so.
After an initial 30min delay, I boarded the plane (around when it was originally scheduled for take off). All the passengers all got comfortable in their seats and waited. And waited. After another 30min or so, we were instructed to disembark the plane. I had my earphones half in so I'm not sure exactly why - something about an unscheduled maintenance. The result was, I had to get my hand luggage again, get off the plane, walk to a different terminal, wait for a new plane and repeat the procedure.
Finally, I arrived in Melbourne close to 2 hours later than anticipated. Mochi and Nina picked me up from the airport and we made a beeline for our late lunch destination in Flemington. The plan was to go to Laksa King bu their kitchen closed at 3pm. We JUST missed out, by about 5 minutes. Next door was Chef Lagenda so we hopped in there instead.
I should mention at this point that Melbourne was FREEZING when I got there. It was cold and drizzly and miserable. Nina had posted on Facebook earlier that morning when she landed, saying the weather was amazing. When I read it, I couldn't believe it. Damn Melbourne and its 4-seasons-in-a-day!
Chef Lagenda is a tightly packed but cute restaurant with a small upstairs area. We sat downstairs near the kitchen. It was welcomingly warm.
Resourceful Nina looked the place up in Urbanspoon and said that most reviewers recommended the curry laksa. One even claimed that it was better than the laksa from Laksa King. It was the perfect weather for laksa so I decided I was getting one without hesitation.
Tom yam soup
Chef Lagenda also has a variety of other South-East Asian dishes. Mochi ordered a tom yam soup.
Nina and I basically chose the same dish. Mine was chicken curry laksa whereas I think hers was a combination laksa with other meats too.
We were blown away by the serving size. The laksa bowl was massive and it was just packed to the brim with delicious spicy, creamy, coconutty curry soup, noodles and chicken pieces. My favorite thing about this laksa is that it had both thin vermicelli-style noodles and thick egg noodles. I don't know why more places don't do this. It's great! I like both styles. Why should I have to compromise and pick only one?
Chicken curry laksa
There was a large piece of eggplant atop each other our laksa bowls. I've never seen laksa served with eggplant before but this eggplant was very tasty. It had a nice, mushy, slow-cooked texture and it also soaked up the laksa soup.
This was the best way to start off my Melbourne food journey during this weekend trip. After dealing with the frustrations of a delayed flight and icy Melbourne weather, the warm, hearty laksa worked wonders in improving my mood.