Sunday, August 3, 2008

Café Singapura , Roppongi

For the regular lunch crowd, this used to be Golden Burning, variously known as
'the Thai place', 'the Vietnamese place', 'the Asian place' or 'the red place'
across from TV Asahi, at the bottom of Imoraizaka. 'Red' was a good description,
what with the whole exterior being painted red and all. Now the red is gone
(white, with a big logo) and the menu has changed (in keeping with the new name),
but the interior hasn't moved an inch, and some of the staff is still the same.

The old menu would always have a coconutty curry, some pho, sometimes Taiwan-style
stewed chopped pork…all things you like (I hope). Actually, I pretty much stopped
going after they took the stewed pork (basically chopped kakuni, sorry Taiwan-
jin...) off the menu. I went a few times to see if it might have come back, but
eventually lost interest. What with the repaint and all, I figured I should
go again. Still took a couple months.

The new menu is (I think) more focused and in keeping with the name. It's definitely
more Singapore-y than it used to be. How do I know this? Pho is gone, laksa has
arrived. Once I saw that, I was sold. Just the word laksa takes me back to the
world's best lunch, to be had in Sydney at the aptly-named Malaysian Chinese
Takeaway. $7 for a laksa, $.50 extraordinarily well-spent for a bid, and away we
went… Singapura's laksa wasn't anywhere near MCT's, but it was OK. Where else are
you going to get a big bowl of noodles in spicy coconut milk with cha shu, moyashi,
prawns, quail egg and tofu? That's right, nowhere around here. So the basic taste
was there, but the noodles seemed like the wrong consistency (I think they were
rice, while I remember MCT being half wheat and half rice, or all wheat) and the
soup wasn't spicy enough…but you know, I was still darn happy with it.

No point complaining about service when you're looking at 'ethnic' food for less
than Y1000, so I won't go into my usual 'service was weird' point. One thing I
WILL complain about is the side dishes. I've ordered things like spring rolls
a number of times at Golden Burning in the past, and always been disappointed.
Today I figured the new menu could be different and got the 'green papaya salad'
(I do love a good somtam, don't you?). This turned out to be a mixed salad - lettuce
with a bit of somtam fixin's on top. Skip it.

The group's main page, in case you want to go to the remaining Golden Burning in Shibuya

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