I was so excited to hear about a new modern Chinese restaurant Laurus late last year. Finally, the restrictions eased just in time for the Chinese New Year celebration. The end of year gathering dinner is an important feast. We were eager to try out modern Chinese cuisine.
Due to the produce supply issues on the day, quite a few signature dishes were not available. What we chose from the limited menu did not disappoint.
We started with the chicken liver parfait served with soybean cake and chives, pickled daikon (white radish) was so delicious. The five-spiced chicken liver parfait was so light and creamy. The pickled daikon and chopped chives added the textures and acidity to lighten the parfait.
The raw kingfish in soy and Hai Zao (seaweed) dressing was delightful. The fresh kingfish was perfectly cut into the right thickness to absorb the yummy soy seaweed dressing. I liked the fried shallots for the extra crispiness and onion flavours.
I loved vegetable tempura, the chef's version of fried eggplant here was so good. The batter was crispy and slightly chewy with the best-matched sticky red vinegar caramel. Again, the coriander and spring onions added freshness to the dish.
The chef also added a new twist to a classic cold vegetable dish, wombok (Chinese cabbage) with Nan Ru (fermented red bean curd) dressing. Nan Ru traditionally is used in slow-cooked meat or stir-fry, but this cold Nan Ru dressing was indeed so tasty with the blanched wombok.
The only meat dish we ordered was one of the signature dishes, pork neck char siu (bbq pork neck). The char siu was so tender and packed with flavours. The pork neck is an unusual cut of meat to make char siu, but I enjoyed the different texture than the traditional fillet.
Finally, the dessert, red bean ice cream with brandy snaps and crumble. Red bean icy-pole was one of my childhood favourite sweet treats. The presentation of the red bean ice cream is beautiful and inviting. Most importantly, it was delectable.
The overall score of the dining experience at Laurus was high on my chart. Delicious, ambitious modern Chinese cuisine incorporating traditional ingredients with Japanese and European cooking techniques.
Not just the food is progressive, but the chic interior design and colour scheme were beautifully too. I loved the black marbled top, creme leather seat and turquoise bluish-green banquettes. The wooden wall panels are artfully decorated with framed Chinese calligraphy. Also, the high ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows provide a beautiful skyline of CBD at night.
What not to love? We will definitely go back to try the other signature dishes, the octopus chow mein and soy glazed beef ribs. Hope you enjoy the review and will enjoy the food there too!
Shop4/160 Victoria St, Carlton VIC 3053