Recently, I had the opportunity to try Laut, located in the Union Square area, for the first time. Laut is the world’s first Michelin-starred Malay restaurant – quite an honor! As I’m a big fan of all cuisine Malaysian and Singaporean, I was so excited when an eating buddy suggested we try this place out.
We ordered two starters – the first was the Five Spice Pork Roll:
Wrapped in what I think was crispy tofu skin and then deep fried, the roll contained pork marinated with five spice. For those unfamiliar with five spice, it is a spice mix that contains star anise, cloves, fennel, cinnamon and Szechuan pepper. The resulting aroma is warm and spicy. Laut’s pork rollwas a perfect combination of savory, sweet and with just a tad of a kick. Delicious!
For our second starter, we ordered one of my usuals – the Roti Canai:
I had written about roti canai previously (in fact, in Singapore I visited a restaurant all about roti!) – this crispy, doughy, chewy pancake is accompanied with a chicken curry dipping sauce. Different restaurants vary their rotis, but Laut’s was a great manifestation – chewy yet flaky, generous and served piping hot. Eating buddy and I were cleaning out the bowl of curry with the last remnants of roti in no time.
For our first entree, we ordered the Ikan Chili Garang (first picture). Ikan means “fish” in Malay, and this dish featured a fried fillet of flounder with shrimp paste and chilli sauce. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is one of the better fillets I’ve had recently. The meat was juicy, not overcooked, tender and flavorful, and the fried crust on the outside was delicately seasoned. I would definitely recommend this dish!
We also ordered the Assam Lemak Udang:
The word assam is Malay for tamarind, and a sour sweet flavor is characteristic of all assam plates. This dish starred black rice at its center, which was a shoo-in for me as I loooove black rice. Additionally, it had shrimp, lemongrass, garlic, cherry tomatoes and okra, all in a sour spicy coconut milk. Assam was new for my eating buddy, but after a spoonful of this delicious sauce, she was sold. Have you had assam dishes before?
Mango Sticky Rice is a pretty traditional Thai dessert, and Laut didn’t go too crazy with this one, keeping with the conventional preparation. The sticky rice was properly glutinous without being too mushy, and the mango pieces varied between sweet and tart.
If you’re looking for Malaysian and/or Singaporean cuisine in a trendy, modern setting – definitely give Laut a try. The dishes each have a fresh, modern flair while still remaining true to original recipes. Two thumbs up!
Delectable Malaysian and Singaporean dishes, served in a restaurant with great ambiance.
15 E. 17th St. (btw 5th/ Broadway)