This is a sponsored post. See bottom of post for full disclosure.
I don't know what I've done. I didn't blow my nose on a tablecloth. I didn't leave a 5-cent tip. Somehow, I've offended the restaurant gods, as my run of bad luck continues. The curse's latest incarnation was at one of Gordon St's Indian joints, where a nothing-special entree segued to just-okay mains. At least we enjoyed the naan - until, under the napkin lining the basket, we found an old chicken bone lurking. I'm not making this up!!!
So I knew that when this blog post had a deadline, there was no time to go sailing into unchartered waters. I needed something truly time tested. Enter Laksa King.
If you don't already know the story, Laksa King used to be a tiny hole-in-the-wall joint in a dingy arcade. They did a cracking laksa. I have no idea what the rest of their food was like, and I don't think anyone else did either - you ordered the laksa and that was that. A few years ago they moved around the corner and underwent a massive transformation, from tiny storefront to the big, glitzy shebang that it is now.
There was a lot of argy-bargy at the time about whether or not it had gone downhill, and I really can't comment, as I never went enough to perceive any noticeable difference. Since then, though, it's become one of my favourite places for reliably delicious Malaysian food.
It is ALWAYS busy in here. The above photo was taken on a Monday night. I love eating in busy places - the rush, the buzz. Laksa King have a lot of staff so service is never a problem. (You do eventually get booted out if you sit and chat for an unreasonably long time after your meal, without buying any more food or drinks - I speak from experience!)
Loved this homemade tofu with mushrooms ($15.80). The tofu was awesome - a big, wobbly serve, almost like a savoury pudding. It was deliciously rich with an almost eggy taste - really not like the usual blandness folks associate with tofu. And on top, loads of interesting mushrooms, from little clawlike clutches to nice meaty pieces of shiitake.
Well, with something so healthy, of course we had to have something OTT. I know these wasabi prawns ($20.80) aren't very Malaysian but hoo boy, they were good! The prawns were really big and bouncy with crunchy batter and sweet, only slightly hot wasabi mayo. Given the quality of the crustaceans, it's good value, too.
Here's a few highlights from other Laksa King voyages. This was a chef's special, and the second time I had it, it wasn't on the specials menu but I asked if they could make it. It's scallops with veg and "volcanic salt" - big crystals of smoky, rich, black salt. I love this dish. Try asking and perhaps you shall receive!
This is what my kids usually share between three - prawn dumplings with egg noodles ($10.80). The stock is tasty and if not MSG-free, then very low. Lovely dumplings, few token bits of veg - perfect.
And yes, it's the old Baklover standby - salted fish and chicken fried rice ($11.20). Don't order that stuff with peas, carrots and BBQ pork - give this a try. You don't need anything else on the table, it's that good.
So if you feel like you're on a losing streak - restaurant-related or otherwise - head to the King. I guarantee you'll come out feeling like a winner.
6-12 Pin Oak Crescent, Flemington
Phone: 9372 6383
This is a sponsored post for the Australian Mushroom Growers' Association "Mushroom Mania" campaign. In their own words: "Each
July Australian Mushroom Growers run a foodservice campaign called Mushroom
Mania. The campaign rolls out throughout Australia and encourages the community
to eat out in July, to enjoy healthy mushroom meals." I was paid a flat sum for my writing which did not include meal expenses. I was free to choose where to eat and the restaurant was not notified before nor after about this post. Australian Mushroom Growers and Laksa King have not sought nor been given any editorial control of this post.