Nothing tests a place like the good ol’ staple, Char Kway Teow. A traditional fried flat rice noodle dish, the key indicators are (according to traditionalists) the smoked semi-charred taste and the use of cockles and/or fried pork fat and lard, which gives rise to the massive taste of the dish. Chef Lagenda’s Fried Koay Teow (fried rice noodle, shrimp, fishcake, chinese sausage & chilli; $10.2) also came with the promise of cockles for $2.0 extra, which isn’t commonly seen in Australia, however our waitress informed us that cockles were now banned. I couldn’t find any evidence substantiating this, but nevertheless this dish did have both the smoked taste and added lard which was done well. The request for “quite spicy” was answered accordingly, which always brings out nice flavours of the fish cake, chinese sausage and fried egg. This Kway Teow was on the slightly sweet side and was quite dark in colour, due to the sweet soy sauce used.
After asking my Singaporean friends for their recommendation in regards to a good place to eat Singaporean cuisine, Chef Lagenda popped up. Of course Melbourne has no claim to ever be close to the beauty of hawker-style food (and the price is about four times more expensive), but Chef Lagenda will do as we all wait for cheap flights to South-East Asia.
Their Seafood Curry Laksa (mixed noodle w/ king prawn, calamari, fish fillet & scallop; $11.9) was good; much better than next door’s and on par with Grand Tofu – the ingredients were plentiful and the soup was good enough to drink on its own.
Next was the Har Mee (hokkien noodle w/ prawn, fish cake, egg & prawn soup; $10.2); a very strong tasting prawn soup noodle dish which when perfected, tastes great. Chef Lagenda’s definitely has the prawn taste in the broth, though it felt like the dish had no depth of flavour and was still quite dilute. There wasn’t enough vermicelli noodle to balance the yellow thicker noodle, and no bean sprouts either! This dish wasn’t the best.
The Fried Noodle w/ Egg Sauce (aka. Waat Taan Hor Fun, flat rice noodle, shrimp, fishcake, calamari, pork, green vegies w/ egg gravy; $10.2) I ordered came presented on a massive dish, which was great as it was so satisfyingly filling. You could taste the pan fried smokiness in the flat noodles (much like the Kway Teow) and the eggy-sauce was tasty, a little too tasty, if you catch my drift. They again didn’t skimp on the ingredients and there was heaps of fish cake, prawn, vegetables and chicken meat.
Chef Lagenda was a good recommendation by my friend, definitely one of the better Curry Laksas in Melbourne and an accessible shop just on the outskirts of town. If you live on the east side though, I would still try Danny’s Kopitiam – tell me which you feel deserves the title.
TL;DR Fair representation of Singaporean cuisine in Melbourne.