Restaurant Review: Dining at Laut on 17 Stanley St, Singapore 068736

For those who did not read my review of newcomer restaurant Laut's food delivery during Circuit Breaker, which stands of 'sea' in Malay, please go check it out. But for the initiated, they have managed to invite me to their restaurant in the CBD area (very near my office actually) for a tasting recently and I'm happy to report that everything was as good and even better (with the dishes I did not try) at the venue. Not to mention the lovely decor with Southeast Asian materials sourced for the furniture, and even the wooden chopsticks! It communicated a lovely modern, yet distinctively SEA vibe.

Laut is a cocktail bar first and foremost, but comes with a select menu of tasty bites to go along with their cocktails and for sharing among friends. What I like especially is their philosophy of sustainability in everything they do for minimal food waste, and all the seafood's also sourced from local fish farms like Ah Hua Kelong. What good news for a pescatarian like me! It also makes sense for an island to have access to more seafood than meat. 

Here's head bartender Leon with a fridge behind holding some taps and mixtures like an alchemist.

Speaking of cocktails (S$21+ each), there's 8 concoctions on the menu, of which I've tried 4. 

The June Plum was the prettiest of the lot, with some fruity sorbet on top ( the menu smudged sorry). Haha. It looks innocent, but certainly packed a strong punch so for those who can't hold their liquor, I'd say skip it!

Instead go for the Kumquat instead. Refreshing and sweet from the molasses and sourish from the kumquat tincture, this was a cocktail that I could drink more of (and did)! Other hits if you prefer something stronger tasting's the Banana (which is not pictured, but I have tried). 

There's also the Sugarcane, made with the same Malaysian molasses and and sugarcane vinegar, so again it is the sweet and sour combination though not fruity like the Kumquat (my favourite!)

On to the food, and boy.. I think we ate the entire menu. Yep, we did. Fortunately it wasn't a big one - which I always appreciate. Food came quite quickly overall despite being full house (with social distancing). 

I won't belabour too much on the first 3 dishes that I already tried during their food delivery drop. They were every bit as good! The burnt eggplant dip (S$11) with papadum was fresh, and the ppd crispy.

The seared tuna (S$15), thankfully, was shared this time. Still a good solid dish for 2 to start if you want to pad your stomachs well! 

Good ol' Otah (S$15) toast is probably their signature among all, with the otah expertly blended with spices from Anthony the Spicemaker for just the right amount of kick. The soft fluffy bread was a perfect complement.

Then came what was NOT on the delivery - Oyster Eggs (S$11) that is an interesting twist on our local orhluak. Fresh local oyster is paired with steamed egg custard in its shell. The chawanmushi-esque reference was not lost! I enjoyed this very much since the oyster was plump, juicy and more importantly fresh.

Next up, Frogs (S$18) which was coated in cereal, like the cereal chicken you'll find in zichar places but elevated. This was a surprise amongst the seafood items. I was very pleased by the clean, "tastes like chicken" flavour of the meat, zinged up with the crunchy sweet cereal. They make for great bar bites!

Crab toast (S$18) was up next and this is just a very delicate, luxurious tapas to have. The fresh flower crabmeat was perfectly paired with the soy cured quail egg and yogurt. The flavour of this is quite mild compared to the hullaballoo going on in other dishes.

There's also the Soft Shelled Crab (S$18) which for its price, is definitely a steal since it comes with a chilli crab / salted egg yolk dip while the crab itself was generous coated with black pepper. Again a zichar classic reinvented, in the best way! I'd highly recommend this.

For the mains we had 3 dishes to share. First up was the Squid Gado (S$25) which surprised me for how soft and delicious the squid since my experiences with them is usually in calamari or rubbery form. And how the slightly sweet taste of the squid matched the peanut sauce so well to create a symphony of flavours and texture.

Then there's the Laut Curry (S$33) with coconut rendang curring amidst the meaty fish of the day and shellfish. This unfortunately, was my least favourite that night because of the fishiness of the dish that overwhelms quite a fair bit, with the curry being too mild to cover it up. No doubt everything's fresh! Just too much of it though. 

But diners can opt for the Prawn Raja (S$29) instead. Made with an Asian pesto over cooked white rice and mixed with century egg bits gave the dish an risotto impression, yet distinctive Asian especially with the fragrant, bitter petai beans which is typically fried and covered in sambal to mask its taste. Here it was presented in its full glory, and for additional pops of flavour, bite into the mad fresh tiger king prawns generously adorning the top. If you can take all the ingredients I've mentioned above, then this dish is right for you. Super highly recommend!

Then something to warm the cockles of our hearts. The Laut Pisang (S$11)! It's actually like a banana mochi yet not in yellow nor oblong shaped. Confusing to the eyes, pleasing to the taste. It was a pleasant, easy-to-eat dessert (goes well with some ice cream though!)

Then, to make one last impression, we had the Tart Limau (S$11) which was very sour. My mouth just watered thinking back about them, but in a good way! These babies are homemade by the owner's grandma, and they cleansed our palates really well. If you like sour desserts, try this.

Their delivery was just a sign of better things to come. laut is for sure the new kid on the block to watch this year with their entrance during tumultuous times. With their unique sustainable Southeast Asian inspired dishes and cocktails, I am pretty sure I'll be returning very soon. If you have yet to, be sure to make a reservation and head down to check it out for yourself and get the Otah, Soft Shelled Crab, Prawn Raja and a few glasses of Kumquat cocktails.
17 Stanley Street, Singapore 068736
+ 65 8878 8018 
Tuesday to Sunday 11am - 8pm. Closed on Mondays.

Thanks to Damian, Frank and Leon for the kind hospitality!

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