449 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9329 6401
Sitting an Evidence exam and then accompanying Adam and his father car shopping at the dealership on the same day ensured that I worked up a hunger that could only be satisfied by a rich, steamin’ bowl of laksa. As far as I’m aware, the best laksa in Melbourne can be found at Laksa King in Flemington. But when you can’t be bothered taking the 57 tram with feral junkies for your laksa fix, Coconut House in the CBD is a sufficient alternative.
It’s only a short walk from Melbourne Central and Queen Vic market, making it a convenient rest spot after you’re done shopping for vegies or the first (wasted) ten minutes of that blockbuster that has sparkly vampires in it. It may have been past 3 o’clock when Adam and I walked in but we may as well have been on Malaysia time as it certainly felt like we had walked in at peak lunch hour. There was virtually no room for us to sit except for a cramped table at the back of the room right next to the dishwasher.
My traditional curry laksa ($8.60) tasted more ferocious than it looked. The broth was a beautifully complex combination of spicyness and lemakness that made my taste buds cry after only a few spoonfuls. It may not be as good as Laksa King’s seafood laksa but it certainly gave it a run for its money and no doubt this was the best laksa I’ve had at a CBD restaurant. The trimmings – eggplant, bean sprouts, beancurd puffs, vermicelli and egg noodles and sliced chicken – all provided a wonderful catalyst for the fiery, rich broth. What did let me down, however, were the small pieces of shrimp which were advertised on the menu as “prawns.”
Adam ordered the nasi lemak traditional ($8.50), a dish that consisted of a mound of coconut rice, a fried chicken drumstick, fried egg, sambal, peanuts and ikan bilis (fried anchovies). Although I doubt that this was Melbourne’s finest (I’ve had better at Malaysian friends’ homes), it nevertheless went down a treat and the rice subdued some of the fire that my tongue was experiencing from the laksa.
We washed down all that fat and chilli with glasses of hot teh tarik ($2.80), a condensed milk sweetened tea that is poured at height to give it a ‘stretched’ texture. I’ve had some pretty good versions before but this one definitely takes the prize – it had more depth and more texture than its nearest competitor at Zam Zam (review to come). A lovely way to finish off a hearty Malaysian meal.