Laksa Bar

198 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne 3000
Date visited: 25th January 2013

MerlinFan and I wanted to go to Gami as I was craving fried chicken ribs but we both somehow failed to notice that it was only open at night (we both really suck!).  Anyway, on the way there we passed this place Laksa Bar wafting great laksa fumes outside and murmured to ourselves "we should try it one day."  And since Gami was closed, we both stood outside for a few minutes freakily checking it out on Urbanspoon.  74% Likes was good enough for us, so in we went.  

We were greeted by a cheery waitress who brought us to our tables and gave us our menus.  You put your own orders in and pay at the counter.  You also get your own cutlery and condiments (if needed) from a small rack.

I really liked the contrast of sheek tables with the somewhat barren, industrial look of the interior.  There was also a window where you could look right into their kitchen.

MerlinFan had the Sharon Rose Ice Lemon Tea and I had the cold Teh Tarik which was Malaysian frothy milk tea.
Ice Lemon Tea $3.50, Teh Tarik $3.50
Both drinks were good.  I was happy with the froth on my teh tarik.

MerlinFan had the Laksa Mee Goreng.  Fried yellow noodles in laksa flavour with garlic, onion, chilli, chicken, tomatoes, tofu and wait... a wedge of lemon?  Either way, MerlinFan was happy with her dish.
Laksa Mee Goreng with chicken $11.90
I had the East Malaysia Laksa which they described as "fragrant chicken and prawn, East Malaysia influenced broth with coconut lightly added and a touch of coriander served with thick rice noodles."  
East Malaysia Laksa $14.50
Being from East Malaysia, I was excited when I saw this because it is really difficult to find out of East Malaysia.  As soon as I saw it, I realised I had kenak tipu (Malay for "got fooled").  This wasn't East Malaysia Laksa - it was still curry laksa.  

Not many people are aware but East Malaysia Laksa (namely Sarawak laksa) is actually completely different from curry laksa from our West Malaysian counterparts.  East Malaysia laksa has no curry in it and has a base of sambal belacan, tamarind, garlic, lemongrass and coconut milk.  The ones back home are usually topped with omelette, chicken strips, prawns, bean sprouts, coriander and lime.  Damn.  If only I had more time to check out Urbanspoon I would have noticed that a few other diners had already commented that this particular laksa wasn't authentic <grumble grumble grumble>

The curry broth itself was quite tasty but very rich.  The spiciness was very mild - you could ask them for a spicier version.  They also used thick rice noodles rather than thin rice vermicelli (bee hoon) which is common in East Malaysia - I kind of lost some enthusiasm for my dish when I discovered the noodles were overcooked and flaccid.  Although they were very generous with the toppings, some were a bit bizarre.  Rather than shredded steamed chicken they used some sort of marinated chicken which was unusual - I don't know if they were trying to cater for a more Westernised palate.  They also had other odd ingredients on the side like tomato and cucumber, which I obviously didn't add to my laksa.

Overall, the laksa was okay, not the best in Melbourne.  MerlinFan enjoyed her dish and I think perhaps if the East Malaysia Laksa hadn't been labelled as something it wasn't, I wouldn't have been so sorely disappointed.

Laksa Bar on Urbanspoon

<a href=""><img alt="Laksa Bar on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>


  1. Hi Yellow Eggs, thanks for the fair review and dining with us. We do agree that Sarawak Laksa is a very unique dish. Our East Malaysia Laksa is not sarawak laksa as you were describing. It is a variant or an influnced dish as describe on our menu. This dish shared many of the main ingredients as described in your review hence the name. It was meant to be a result of the culinary experiment of the chef. However, we will be rolling out Sarawak Laksa really soon and would hope that you will come and try both Sarawak and our signiture House Laksa. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Laksa Bar. Yes, I did notice after I ordered that it said East Malaysia "influenced" as the description under the name, which was fair enough - I guess in my excitement at seeing the title East Malaysia Laksa, I (and probably the other diners too) didn't read to the fine print and thought it was really Sarawak Laksa. Sarawak Laksa in Melbourne sounds like an exciting prospect - good luck!

    2. Laksa bar we didn't enjoy it either. Review pending

    3. its now there: