As it is my last week of pregnancy, I’ve been trying to see as many friends as possible as well as eating out almost daily! I refuse to let the swelling and constant waddling get the best of me! There has been a restaurant on my pregnancy radar since I heard of it’s opening, and after reading the rave reviews online, I knew I didn’t have a choice but to visit Sambal Shiok Laksa Bar before I popped. After two agonising weeks of trying to get a booking, I finally managed to snag a table for four yesterday.
Of course, this crazy heatwave hasn’t helped with the pregnancy and I arrived at the Sambal Shiok Laksa Bar a hot, swollen mess; a hungry and excited one, that is. We got ordering immediately.
What We Ordered at Sambal Shiok Laksa Bar
Drinks [£3.00 x 3]
Keeping it basic, I ordered the rose milk whilst the others ordered the lemongrass and chilli cooler (forgettable) and the lime and mint soda.
Thin, crispy crackers heavily spiced with the slightly bitter and infamous methi. I say infamous because of the nice aroma one gets the next day after consuming fenugreek, but hey, it’s tasty. The crackers were delightfully crisp and were fantastic with the tomato chutney, which was heavy on the coriander and chilli.
Juicy, fried tenders of chicken that were topped with sliced chillies and served with a peanut satay sauce on the side. The highly anticipated dish of the night turned out to be underwhelming, with the chicken needing more seasoning and longer in the fryer to achieve that crunch that one yearns so much in fried chicken. The peanut sauce was good but again, needed a surge of flavour to make this dish really stand out.
Not wanting to risk me going into labour right there and then, we opted for the chicken laksa to be of medium heat. This was their traditional hot broth with an additional helping of coconut milk to help tone down the spice level. The laksa itself was heavy on the shrimp paste, but was balanced out incredibly well with a combination of a small amount of creamy coconut milk and other aromatics. Unfortunately, the chicken I fished out were a little chewy for me, but other diners received much larger, juicier pieces than me and enjoyed it! The additional toppings of tofu pieces and sprouts were a nice touch with the tofu puffs absorbing all the soup so that on each bite, there was a burst of creamy laksa in your mouth.
Of course, we had to try the spicy laksa, labour inducing or not! This was exactly the same as the chicken laksa but minus the cooling coconut milk, and of course, with the addition of prawns. The heat made itself evident the more you slurped on the laksa, but it was not overbearingly hot, however I wasn’t sure if the beads of sweat rolling down my forehead were from the weather or this laksa.
A bowl of the famous slow-cooked beef rendang arrived to the table next with a mound of coconut rice. Having had this at numerous Malaysian restaurants and being extremely disappointed, I was delighted to find that Sambal Shiok Laksa Bar’s rendang was alluringly dark and sticky with an incredible mouth-melting texture. Unfortunately, it was a little too sweet, but the other spices were well balanced.
The total bill amounted to £70.64 for four people, including drinks and service, so approximately £18 each. Not extortionate given that the amount of food we had ordered was just right for all four of us! The food at Sambal Shiok Laksa Bar was good, with just a few tweaks needed here and there, but I’m not sure I would be in a hurry to return just yet. Thankfully, I managed to waddle my way home, pregnancy still in tact!
BOOKING IS ADVISED!!
For other Malaysian restaurants in London:
For Sambal Shiok Laksa Bar website, click here.