Another hot Friday night lead us wandering the streets of Melbourne in search of Laksa Me. I had a vague idea of where I was going, but unfortunately it was a bit too vague. We overshot the laneway that Laska Me resides in, which meant wandering around in the heat for longer than necessary. Damned Melbourne and its laneways!
After a bit of backtracking, we found Liverpool Street and the restaurant. I was a tad disappointed to find that there was no air conditioning in the small room. Instead, several fans whirred busily away to keep diners cool, which admittedly did an okay job. Our table was directly outside the kitchen, under the gaze of a maneki neko and giving us glimpses of the chefs through a cut out in the wall.
Service seemed a bit confused, but quite sweet. We ordered beer and water, and only the beer showed up. Rather than laksa, we opted for starters and shared mains. We started with three items, ordering two portions of each and sharing them.
Sliver of Beef Wrapped in Wild Betel Leaves ($3.50 each)
This starter was a sliver of beef, pan fried with peppercorn infused olive oil, and then dressed with coriander and roasted coconut vinaigrette, wrapped in a betel leaf. We found the beef slightly chewy but it was okay. I was quite amused by the flower garnish, which was actually made from a chili.
Vegetarian Triangle ($2.50 each)
The triangles were filled with wok tossed shredded daikon, crunchy yam bean and Asian chives, then folded in a Chinese white pastry. These were then pan fried and then drizzled with a dark sweet soy sauce.
Succulent Grilled Thai Sausage ($3.50 each)
The thai sausage was minced pork mixed with rice wrapped in a cornhusk, then grilled and served with diced cucumber and crushed peanuts in a tangy Chinese salted plum sauce. The sausage was the best of the three starters - heavy with garlic and flavour. We found the starters slightly underwhelming but this was most likely due to us sharing and only having a small bit of each.
Nonya Pork Ribs - stewed Asian style pork ribs in a complex sweet, spicy and sour reduction. Served with Jasmine rice. ($22.00)
We perked up when the mains started arriving. The first to come out was the pork ribs. The tender meat swam in a dark, sweet caramelish sauce with a small hint of spiciness. The pork was delicious, but the sauce... I would've been happy to push the meat aside and just eat the sauce over a steaming bowl of hot rice!
Khao Soi Gai - Burmese influenced Northern Thai curry noodles ($9.00)
The next two mains arrived almost at the same time. The khao soi gai was a dish of thin, slightly crisp egg noodles topped with chicken in a rich, creamy, red curry gravy. The sauce was fairly spicy and had strong Thai flavours and fish sauce.
Dry chicken curry noodles - a hot and spicy dry creamy chicken curry on Hokkien noodles ($10.00)
We all loved the dry chicken curry noodles. A Malaysian style curry sauce smothered the thick egg noodles and boneless chicken. It was the spiciest dish on the table, and we couldn't get enough! Another round of beer was necessary after this came out.
Sonny's fish curry - fish of the day slow poached with green bean, eggplants and okra in Sonny's secret curry recipe. Served with Indian pickle, yoghurt and Jasmine rice. ($22.00)
The last main was Sonny's fish curry. The fish curry was a large slab of salmon was smothered in a tangy, sourish curry that was flavoured with Indian spices and topped with yoghurt. In the context of the meal, this dish felt a bit strange. All the flavours of the other mains felt complementary, and this dish just didn't seem to fit with everything else that we had eaten. This isn't an actual complaint about the dish - the fish and vegetables were cooked well and the sauce was tasty.
After our hearty and sweat inducing meal we peeled ourselves off our chairs to pay our bill at the counter. The monetary damage was a reasonable $33 per person, (if sticking to laksa the bill could be much lower). We had an enjoyable meal and one day I will need to return to check out the laksa!
Shop 1 / 16 Liverpool Street
Phone: (03) 9639 9885