108 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD
It's the season for weddings! After Marc and I headed to Noosa for some friends wedding, we spent the following weekend jet setting to Melbourne for another friends wedding. Hey, it's an excuse for me to travel, eat and have time off work so I'm not complaining.
Melbourne is a good stop for us because as the years have gone on, more and more of our friends have dispersed out of Brisbane and moved interstate. The wedding itself was the highlight but we also took this opportunity to catch up with some old friends.
I'll blog about our meals chronologically, for ease. Pretty much all Marc and I did in Melbourne was eat, drink and sleep. I'm very stubborn in just how much of a "Brisbane girl" I am and am resolute about not moving away unless absolutely necessary... but having said that, I do admit that Melbourne has got us beat on the food scene. Everywhere we turned, there was another cafe or eatery tucked away that looked amazing.
On our first meal venture out of our hotel, I was hungover as anything and didn't want to walk far in case my stats started to drop. We spotted Laksa Bar right around the corner and not only was this suitably close, it genuinely looked good to me.
The dining environment is casual and friendly with staff handing us menus and instructing we order at the counter. The menu contains much more than mere laksa. There are plenty of shared starters, rice dishes and other noodle dishes.
Within the laksa section alone there were multiple options of main protein, choice of size and the option of a healthier style of laksa. I selected the soft shell crab laksa in 'large' and specified the full fat version. I'm pretty sure this is the least healthy laksa you can get.
Vegetable spring rolls
We ordered some vegetable spring rolls to start with. I liked that they had a flakey style of pastry. That made them extra light and crunchy. Unfortunately our filling was cold in the middle. Marc and I are much too passive to ever give food back at a restaurant and we reasoned that cold vegetable centres would be as digestively risky as cold meat centre... so we finished them. And we were fine. From a taste perspective, I obviously prefer fully cooked spring rolls though.
The laksa bowls themselves were massive. I knew straight away that it was a mistake for me to order large. That I made some decent progress through it is more a testament to my over-eating ability than an indication of how much is required for a satisfying meal.
Marc ordered the same thing as me but with chicken as his main protein. He also requested extra chili, which arrived in a little dish on the side. Even after emptying this into his bowl, he still didn't think it was spicy enough.
Soft shell crab laksa
I really enjoyed the soup base. It might be mild for those who like extreme chili but it sure wasn't lacking on flavour. The creamy coconut quality made the soup deliciously drinkable on its own. With the duo texture of noodles it was just so tasty. I liked the usual laksa components like fried tofu and bean sprout. I was surprised to find still-green bok choi in there. The soft shell crab in my dish was good but slightly lacking in flavour. There were so many pieces of whole soft shell crab that I donated some to Marc. Dunked in the laksa soup they tasted pretty good.
I did end up having a post-alcohol emergency about 3/4 way through my meal and had to rush off back to the hotel. I still fondly remember my laksa meal and in hindsight, it must have been pretty good to get me hungry and interested in food when my stomach was otherwise in turmoil. I would have loved a second return visit but the truth is Melbourne has too many food options to stay loyal to one.