There have been too many home-based businesses sprouting up in the past three years, especially at the start of 2019. Many were founded on a whim, while others were a necessary adaptation to the sudden lifestyle change. But not many have made it as far as Jelebu Dry Laksa. The brand started off as a home-based food delivery business created by Chef Renée Tang from her kitchen in Jelebu Road.

Three years later, Jelebu Dry Laksa opens its very first outlet in VivoCity, serving avant-garde fusion dishes beyond their signature dry laksa.

But first… What exactly is dry laksa?

Chef Renée, the founder and mastermind behind the modernised recipe, has found the perfect way to infuse the robust flavours of her Laksa broth into the rice noodles. The broth uses a mix of prawns and other seafood for a burst of umami. But what gives Jelebu Dry Laksa that complex, addictive flavour, is the addition of Chef Renée’s secret rempah recipe. Rempah is a paste of spices that is used as the foundation of many Malay, Indonesian and Peranakan dishes.

However, while the broth was complex and strong, it wasn’t overpowering. Surprisingly, this was the lightest dish out of everything we tried. In fact, the variation I had at this year’s Singapore Food Festival (SFF) was much more flavourful. Perhaps, the intensity was lowered to accommodate to the larger portion size. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed the whole plate of laksa at the VivoCity outlet, if the flavours were as intense as the small platter I had at SFF.

The signature Jelebu Dry Laksa is served two ways: Butter-Poached Whole Lobster Dry Laksa ($58) and Grilled Tiger Prawn Dry Laksa ($18).

Fusion dishes that knows no borders

The Duck Confit Teochew Braised Risotto ($26) is the craziest fusion dish I’ve ever tried. It was essentially Asian duck rice, prepared in the style of a risotto. It was confusing at first, but once you get used to it, I wasn’t able to stop myself from taking another bite.

This dish was inspired by Chef Renée’s grandmother’s cooking. The duck confit, which was fork tender, was served with a creamy risotto and sous vide egg, instead of the traditional duck rice with braised eggs. 

An interesting dish that amps up your appetite is the Scallop & Otah Pillow ($18). This dish is an amalgamation of Peranakan and Japanese flavours. The otah was first blended into a smooth paste, and topped with fried seaweed, Hokkaido scallop and avruga caviar. While innocent-looking, this dish started off sweet and briney from the seafood, before an unexpected transition (spoiler alert) to an explosion of spice and tang.

Other interesting dishes on Jelebu Dry Laksa’s menu include Assam Barramundi Fillet ($32) and Butter Chicken Mac & Cheese ($26).

Inspired by Thailand street food

A dish inspired from Chef Renée’s trip to Thailand is the Larb Moo on Perilla Leaf ($18), which comprised of an interesting contrast of flavours and textures. We have the crispy pork crackling juxtaposed against tender Thai-spiced minced pork. Meanwhile, the salty and spicy minced pork was smoothen out by a tart and sweet picked cherry. Every texture and flavour was encompassed into one bite.

Finish the meal with with the Kaya Goreng ($14), inspired by Thailand’s popular street coconut desserts. This interesting dish was designed such that you get a bite of everything without making a mess. You start by adding a spoonful of ice cream on top of the kaya coconut mousse-filed charcoal cone, before topping it off with salted peanuts and chocolate bits.

The element that takes this dish to the next level was salt. The mousse and peanuts were lightly salted, which provided a balance between sweet and savoury. One bite of this, is definitely not enough.

Jelebu Dry Laksa

Location: 1 HarbourFront Walk, #02-48, Singapore 098585
Tel: +65 9721 6560
Opening hours:
11:30am-10pm

*This article is written in collaboration with Jelebu Dry Laksa, but all opinions are of my own

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