1128 Pacific Blvd
T: 604 688 8565
Considering just how many times I have visited Freshbowl it is surprising that this is my first and only review. Freshbowl in Yaletown is close to my work and so it has long been a regular haunt of mine. This modern restaurant is very much a Western version of Malaysian food. That’s not to say it isn’t good (I find it satisfying but not rave-worthy) but it isn’t authentic.
Today was the first time that I’d been back to Freshbowl for a few months and I went for one reason, the Singapore laksa.
I didn’t have high expectations going in yet I found that I was pleasantly surprised. It was off to a good start when the bowl was delivered with a broth that was glistening with a gorgeous red chilli oil shimmer (see sides of the bowl). This shimmer built my taste-buds hopes up as they anticipated a laksa with a spicy punch. The first spoonful of broth did not disappoint, with some slight heat in the back of the throat, but unfortunately that was it for the heat. There was quite a good flavour in the paste so it didn’t taste like I was just drinking coconut milk (like the laksa at Banana Leaf) but I would have liked some more heat and a bit more depth of flavour.
With its julienned carrots and cucumber, the laksa had a more modern look than I’m used to – although not necessary, it did look appealing. As for the ingredients, there was enough of a variety to make it interesting both, visually, and with texture. My two complaints were that the noodles were only vermicelli (would have got extra points in my book for egg noodles) and the chicken was lacking flavour and would have been better shredded rather than in chunks.
Room for improvement:
- Although the broth had a good consistency, more heat and more depth of flavour in the broth/paste would have given this laksa more points.
- I was not asked what level of heat I wanted. To me, this is key. Most places make laksa bland to cater to Western tastes.
- Shredded flavourful chicken, rather than chunks, would be better.
- Egg noodles would be a bonus (although this is just my preference).
Price: $9.95 (without tax)
If you are looking for a fresh, modern take on laksa then head to Freshbowl. It isn’t as authentic as I would have liked but overall, it was good. I wouldn’t go out of my way to have it but it would definitely do in a pinch.