It seems like humble hawker dishes are taking a more ‘elevated’ front with the opening (and re-opening) of places such as Chatterbox (Chicken Rice), One Prawn & Co (Prawn Noodles) The Coconut Club (Nasi Lemak) and Small Tables (Ipoh Curry Noodles).
I was therefore curious about the newly-opened Jelebu Dry Laksa at VivoCity, presenting the dry laksa at more atas pricing.
The recommended Grilled Tiger Prawn Dry Laksa is at $18, while there is also a Butter Poached Whole Lobster Dry Laska at $58.
Partnered with the renowned Tipsy Collective, Jelebu Dry Laksa finds its origins in Chef Renee Tang’s creative efforts during the pandemic.
Having started as a home-based business, the punchy dry laksa now comes out of an industrial kitchen in a proper restaurant space, which allows more diners to try this dish at a more convenience place.
What sets Jelebu Dry Laksa apart are two things.
First, every laksa chef has their own secretive rempah (spice paste) recipe. This eatery makes a kickass one with twelve herbs and spices, to infuse the shrimp-heavy laksa broth with a dizzying number of flavours.
Second, they use fresh, premium, seasonal seafood to elevate the humble dish into a treat. Just imagine plump Boston lobsters and tiger prawns in your laksa.
In case you are wonder, no there is no ‘Wet Laksa’ aka Laksa with gravy served here.
My Jelebu Dry Laksa with Grilled Tiger Prawns ($18) came nicely presented on a plate, though it took long while to arrive (close to 50 minutes after ordering).
If you are feeling it, there is the luxurious Jelebu Dry Laksa with Butter Poached Half Lobster ($38) or the Whole Lobster ($58).
There is a Kosong ($12) version without the tiger prawn or the lobster.
Right on top are pieces of tiger prawns that have been butterflied and grilled, revealing the thick flesh.
The noodles itself looked good too, but I couldn’t help feeling mine wasn’t as steaming hot as what I noticed of other tables’.
It is supposedly a specific brand of rice noodles which has a particularly desired texture. Having been simmered in the broth, the noodles would have the flavours of the delicate broth.
Tossing through the noodles, I could spot their crispy ebi, blood cockles, tau pok, fishcake, and beansprout. No cockles-version is always an option.
To be honest, I was expecting more of crustacean-sweetness and umami in the noodles, though there was a certain spiciness that covered the more nuanced flavours of the rest of the components.
Having read some positive reviews of this dish previously, I suspect it could be a consistency or kitchen-couldn’t-handle-dinner-crowd issue.
If you are wondering what other dishes they offer, there are the Duck Confit with Teochew Braised Risotto ($26), Drunken Impossible Pork Cha Soba ($15), Butter Chicken Mac & Cheese ($26), Assam Barramundi Fillet ($32), and Grilled Rendang Hanger Steak ($42).
The bunch of small plates I tried such as the Tiger Prawn Beancurd Roll ($16) and Carrot Cake Omelette ($10) were actually not bad.
Desserts are eye-catching too. There was the Kaya Goreng ($12) with the charcoal cone, kaya coconut mousse, and coconut ice cream making a symphony.
The house-made Ah Ma’s Barley Drink ($5) though considered pricey, was pretty refreshing with the incorporation of young ginger and lemon, prepared with rock sugar.
Jelebu Dry Laksa Singapore
VivoCity #02-48, 1 HarbourFront Walk, Singapore 098585
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
* Written by Daniel Ang @DanielFoodDiary and Dean Ang. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.