The Spice Table – Four Courses, and all I Want is the Kaya Toast

by Franklin on August 7, 2013

The Spice Table was on my radar last year, and I was fortunate to have finally eaten here. Thanks to Dine LA, I had a chance to try a lot of their items. Bryant Ng, chef and owner of The Spice Table explores his Singaporean roots with traditional dishes. Arguably one of the best new restaurants in recent years, the restaurant has seen great success. Though I am totally late in the game, it was my turn to give The Spice Table a try.

We started things off with Kaya toast. It is a buttered toast filled with coconut jam. This is all dipped in a sauce made with slow a cooked egg, soy sauce, and white pepper. The mixture of the soy sauce and the nearly raw egg made a goop of sludge that went perfectly with the kaya toast. The sweetness of the coconut jam and the saltiness of the sauce came together harmoniously. At times, the soy sauce egg mixture was a bit salty, but that was due to my over dunking. This was a perfect start nonetheless.

Another starter was the peanuts & fried baby anchovies. The wok-fried peanuts were perfect texturally. Again, the soy sauce and spiced sugar made a perfect meld of flavors. The addition of baby anchovies gave the dish a nice accented salty and seafood flavor. The baby anchovies were actually my favorite part. I wish it had more of the anchovies and less of the peanuts.

To me, the grilled beef salad was refreshing. The hangar steak was good but didn’t have much. The addition of the watercress with onion and slightly picked cucumbers made the dish quite crisp and refreshing. The housemade shrimp chips were impressive. I liked that the vinaigrette was light and not over powering.

One of my favorites was the raw yellowtail. Being a fan of sashimi, it was naturally a best-of for me. The fish was fresh and so delicate. The mixture of scallions, sesame, and chilies came together to make an amazing flavor profile. My favorite addition to the dish was the fried ginger and fried shallots. The intense aromatics gave the delicate fish a great taste without overpowering it.

For the table, we shared the Laksa. It wasn’t on the Dine LA menu, but we still wanted to try it. The rice noodles inside were cooked perfectly. The soft yet doughy noodles were a perfect vessel for the flavorful spicy coconut seafood gravy. More of like a thick red curry, the thick sauce went perfectly with the noodles. Mixed in with laksa leaves, shrimp and the perfectly cooked egg, the dish was a complete success.

For me, the duck rice was comfort food for me. Anything consisting of rice with meat over it is comfort food. The ground duck mixed with mushrooms, Asian basil, and crackling was so simple and familiar. The bed of white rice was a perfect blank slate for all the other flavors to come through. The not too spicy peppers chopped up sealed the deal for me. It gave it enough heat and flavor to finish everything off.

The kon loh mee was a great noodle dish. The egg noodles were buoyant and reminded me of noodles in ramen. The mix of choy sum and green onions gave the dish nice color and flavor. With ground pork and rich pork belly char siu, the bowl of noodles was full of porky goodness. Eating everything with a touch of the chili sauce was perfect.

We ended the meal with their kaffir lime custard. With a lychee whipped cream on top, the dessert was tart and sweet. The tartness and acidic flavors helped cleanse all the spices and oily flavors in my mouth. I feel anything with lime or lemon helps neutralize all those Asian spices; perfect end with our meal at The Spice Table.

Bryant Ng has something special here in Little Tokyo. With a modern feel and the vision of bringing everyone together, the restaurant has a great balance of new and old. The food is classic dishes made so perfectly. Gathering here was a perfect idea. Sharing good times over food is my idea of coming together. The Spice Table does it right.

The Spice Table on Urbanspoon

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Putputt @ Putputt Eats August 8, 2013 at 12:17 AM

Omg, I love everything in this post. Kaya toast (I would kill for kaya toast), ikan bilis, laksa…ahhh, to die for!

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