Today in my ongoing search for Perth’s best laksa I arrived at Tak Chee House at the top end of William Street. Serving Penang-style food, this is a very popular and busy little spot – we went last Friday but by the time we arrived at 12.30 it was jam packed with a 40 minute wait; this time we arrived around 11.30 to beat the lunchtime rush – successfully.
It is not a big place, basic furniture and fit out, but very friendly and efficient waiters, and very swift service. The menu runs to Mee Goreng, Chicken rice, Kuay Teow, Hokkien fried noodles, roti canai and of course Curry Laksa – I noticed on weekends they also serve up Assam laksa, so another visit is in order to sample that.
Anyway to the seafood curry laksa – in a good sized bowl it glistened with coconut oil rising to the surface, green beans provided a touch of textural and colour contrast while the seafood – prawns, squid, mussels, baby octopus – was cooked very well, retaining firmness and bite. Tofu soaked up the flavours of the soup, and on top of the broth fried shallots, sambal paste, and half a boiled egg added to the taste and texture combination. The noodles were a mix of thick rice and vermicelli, with bean sprouts to provide added crunch and freshness.
While the laksa was described as hot, it was probably more medium for my palate, but that mildness did not detract from the overall flavour and enjoyment. We ordered added sambal which helped a little – chopped fresh chilli would have been even better. But let’s not quibble, this was one of the better curry laksa I have had in my quest. Full of the right flavours and aroma, garlic, chilli, rich creamy coconut, shrimp paste, it was a hit with us.
Tak Chee has been around for a long time – I recall years ago when I working in the public service it was further down William around where the State Theatre is now and a regular haunt of some of us. So it has been turning out its particular cuisine for more than 20 years – it remains popular and busy in a very competitive restaurant world – a pretty good guide to the quality of its food.
As I said, this was a very good laksa, and gives me confidence to continue the search. And the Assam style awaits another visit……