SINGAPORE – 'Laut' in Malay means the sea, which I feel is the real inspiration behind the delivery menu by the eponymously named restaurant set up by Singaporean founders, Leon Tan and Frank Shen. Leon brings with him a decade of experience having worked in cocktail bars such as Native and Nutmeg & Clove in Singapore while Frank is a veteran in the alcohol industry for more than eight years and is the pioneer in promoting the craft beer movement in Singapore.
Naturally, the food veers towards a reverence for regional seafood, bringing into sharp focus food choices such as Thunder Tea Rice with King Prawns, Thunder Tea Butter, and Squid Gado Gado. As far as seafood goes, it can get pretty finicky especially when a minute too long of a sear will render your fresh ingredients overcooked, but a minute under and your food is utterly inedible. So, it is brave for a new establishment in the Singapore food scene to pay respect to seafood and execute the dishes it is based on with this much aplomb.
It starts with a Burnt Eggplant Dip (S$15) that will make anyone with a penchant for snacking squeal in delight. The humble papadum (a crisp and thin flatbread made of urad flour) is liberally dusted with a rust-coloured curry spice and dipped in a smooth blend of burnt eggplant and chickpea—almost like a hummus. The eggplant-chickpea dip comes with a bright and tart tomato and onion relish topping that gives it a burst of freshness and a hit of mild spice that makes this simple appetiser a worthy exercise in creativity and almost impossible to put down. I imagine myself squirrelling this away for a Netflix movie night.
The laut curry (S$33) is a curry worth its weight in seafood. When delivered, it comes with the curry and seafood dutifully separated which gives you enough time to admire the box of local shellfish and a huge chunk of catch-of-the-day fish sourced from Singapore’s very own Ah Hua Kelong.
When you’re ready, pour the entire content of the bowl to combine with the seafood and make sure to give it a good stir. The curry is light but tinged with a subtle sweetness that serves only to complement the ocean flavour of the fish, mussels, and clams. I would recommend having this with a bowl of steaming basmati. Not that you absolutely need a bowl of rice by the side, but what’s curry without a little carb, am I right?
I’ve been keeping one eye fixed on the Tuna (S$15) as I made my way from the papadum to the curry. Thickly cut fillets of Tuna have been seared till slightly below medium doneness, such that the aromatic char from the process is sealed into each chunk—it’s satisfying bite after bite. The fillets are topped with green mango salad that offers up a subtle hint of heat that balances everything out beautifully, especially when tuna can come across slightly mild in flavour, as most tuna are wont to be.
I approach the Otah Sandwich (S$15) with slight caution but only because I’ve had one sandwich too many where the otah tries too hard to be elevated when it really doesn’t have to. The beauty of otah is in its simplicity—too much of any other element and there’s a danger of otah being overpowered.
Here, laut ticks all my boxes of flavour reverence that doesn’t veer too far from what we know and love. Wrapped in banana leaf, two toasted white bread holds a fish and shrimp otah, complemented by a Nyonya achar pickle and its acidity that boldly cuts through the signature smokiness of otah. The entire thing is shockingly straight forward but not in a way that makes you yawn—rather it makes you appreciate the effort that has gone into its construction.
To end, wash your meal down with a glass flask of Mustapha white cold brew coffee made by steeping Indonesian single-origin coffee with milk and Thai honey. This comes from Noa, laut's daytime coffee bar. The caffeine here is quite potent so if like me, you tend to not be able to sleep at night after drinking coffee at 3pm, I suggest slow sips in between dishes and days. I finished mine over the course of two days, but only because I wanted to prolong the enjoyment.
laut offers takeaway service and complimentary island-wide delivery when you order a minimum of S$50. Do note to order 60 - 90 minutes in advance.
Order here | 17 Stanley Street, Singapore 068736
Tue - Sun: 11am - 8pm
Balancing the New Normal: