It’s safe to say that Melbournian loves laksa. It resurfaces in the depths of every Melbourne winter – its heady mixture of spices, coconut-milk based broth, noodles and vegetables makes it the perfect dish to warm the heart along with the belly. Laksa King has been a key protagonist in the Melbourne laksa love affair, serving laksa alongside other Malaysian favourites like nasi lemak and Hainanese chicken rice for over 15 years. Along the way the Flamingston stalwart made the move to its second location, in Pin Oak Crescent, which was designed with the help of Hue Studio and local MNE architects.
Made up of large timber communal tables, pendants which hang languidly from the ceiling, along with some nice industrial touches like exposed brick and steel, it’s a kind of bustling Southeast Asian restaurant that acts as both favourite local and Melbourne institution. Featuring prominently on the menu is of course laksa. Serving various incarnations, from the coconut-milk based curry laksa (which also has a fish head and seafood option) to the distinctly fishy and tamarind based broth of Assam Laksa, it’s an eatery that is well adept at reinterpreting hawker classics. Sticky pork belly that combines beautifully tender slithers of belly and a star anise tinged sticky sauce; char kway teow, a flat rice fried noodle dish that represents all that is great about Asian street food; and sambal kang kong, a tangy chilli paste stir fried with water spinach are all standouts from a large and diverse menu.
Laksa King also represents great value with its rice and noodle dishes rarely exceeding $15.