Friday, June 27, 2008

June 20, 2008: Friday Featre Food - Laksa Me

January 2016: Doing a bit of blog tidying up and it looks like this place has been closed for ages.

Cindy's been agitating for a visit to Laksa Me for some time - there's been plenty of good press for it and the affordable, speedy Asian food it promised seemed perfect for a pre-theatre bite. It's tucked away on trendy Liverpool Street in the city, and would be pretty easy to walk straight past. There's nothing too slick about the inside either - it's all clearly aimed at being low-key and minimalist, with lots of concrete and bare tables. We had no problems wandering in and getting a table at 6:45 on a Friday and, despite a couple of decent-sized groups turning up, it didn't look like bookings would be worth worrying about.

The menu is pretty substantial, but the vego options aren't super abundant: there's a few starters, a curry, a laksa and a pad thai - not a bad list, but not a huge range either. We started with one of the starters each: a vegetarian triangle (Wok tossed shredded daikon, crunchy yam bean and Asian chives, folded in Chinese white pastry, pan fried and served with caramelised dark sweet soy sauce) and a crisp tofu parcel (Bean thread noodles wok tossed with Chinese mushroom, carrot and gingko nut; and then carefully wrapped in paper-thin tofu "skin, deep-fried till crisp. Served with salted plum sauce). The tofu parcel was the star - a beautiful combination of textures and flavours, and the first time I've really enjoyed the salty-plum idea (which, to my palate at least, works much better as a sauce than as a drink). The vegie triangle was nice, but wasn't as memorable.

If Cindy has been paying attention to Harriet at This is Vegan Melbourne, she probably wouldn't have ordered the laksa. As it was, we both felt that we had to try the eponymous dish, and ordered the Vegetarian 'skinny' laksa (A Laksa that is not just vegetarian, it is also low in cholesterol too. Thin Rice Vermicelli pack with baby spinach, enoki and oyster mushroom, crisp tofu puff and deep fried eggplant in a light tangy Laksa stock). It's worth restressing Harriet's point: this is one hot laksa. The spiciness of the sauce proved too much for Cindy, and she resorted to carefully fishing out the noodles and vegies and trying to avoid too much of the spicy soup. I was happier with the spice levels (although any hotter and it really would have been overpowering), and really enjoyed the top layer of the dish - beautifully crisp tofu, delicious chunks of eggplant and some wonderful greens. Unfortunately, as you dug below the surface, the fillings kind of dried up and it was all noodles and soup. Which wasn't a huge problem - the soup was rich and spicy, and the noodles were nicely cooked, but it was just a bit lacking in interest. Not bad for $10 though.

I'm not sure we'll hurry back to Laksa Me - the spice levels were too demanding for Cindy, and the payoff for me wasn't enough to make it worth the return visit. Still, Harriet's recommendation of the pad thai might just revive Cindy's enthusiasm.

Address: 16 Liverpool Street, Melbourne
Ph: 9639 9985
Price: Starters $2.50-$4.00 a piece, noodles $10, mains $18
Licensed (and BYO, with $10 corkage)


  1. Nice to see your take on Laksa Me. I've been there a few times recently. First time I had the laksa with chicken. It was delicious and not excruciatingly hot. Second time was a different dish with chicken and I was unimpressed to find that the chicken had a distinct warmed-over flavour, so had presumably been pre-cooked much earlier. Ok, I know this is a non-meat blog, so I'll mention that my friend Debbie had the veg laksa with me on Tuesday and she found it terribly hot, like Cindy. We both felt the flavour profile was too flat and herbal.

  2. Thanks for adding your thoughts, Duncan. I'm in no rush to return, though I don't think it's a bad restaurant by any stretch.