Laifa Bar at The Scarlet Hotel is a wine bar turned noodle house, serving traditional wanton noodle, dumplings and complementary sides. Equipped with recipes handed to him by his grandmother, who used to be a hawker herself selling homemade taupok and wanton noodle back in the 1970s, chef-owner Royce Lee fine-tunes them and bring the traditional dishes to the table with a touch of modernity and bettered flavours.
Wanton Noodle 4.2/5
The Wanton Noodle ($5.50) is what first brought many to Laifa Bar. With its hearty portion, meaty wantons and springy noodles, there is no reason why one won't return for more. The original sauce used to toss the noodle is flavoursome, but I suggest adding a little of the special chilli sauce that comes bright orange in a bottle. True to its colour, it brightens up the dish with zest and heat. The dry wanton noodle doesn't come with soup which is prepared in a limited portion daily but will be served to you upon request.
Char Siew & Crispy Pork Noodle 4.5/5
However, what's even more superior than the wanton noodle I find, is the Char Siew & Crispy Pork Noodle ($7.50). Keeping to the tradition of a wanton noodle, the char siew used for Wanton Noodle is of a leaner cut, whereas for this bowl, a thicker and fattier part of the meat is served. One look at the burnt ends and you know they are well caramelised. I love the smokey charred fats! The crispy pork didn't disappoint too. The meat and fats were as unctuous, laced with a layer of crispy skin.
Dumpling Soup 4.2/5
The Dumpling Soup ($7.50) is another winner. The minced meat and prawn filling was not overmixed, resulting in a really juicy, loosely packed and tender dumpling.
The sides here are pretty strong too. The Taupok ($8.00) surprised me with their airiness, alongside a well seasoned and tender minced meat filling.
Wanton in Red Chilli Oil 4.5/5
The spice-laden concoction of the red-chilli oil of the Wanton in Red-Chilli Oil ($8.00) is by far the most piquant I have tried. It strikes a perfect balance of spice, tang and sweetness, and it tasted so good over my noodles!
Egg Slice 3/5
The Egg Slice ($7.00) is an egg loaf made using flour and egg, and the way it is being executed gives it an almost hash brown-like texture.
Ngoh Hiong 3.8/5
The skinny Ngoh Hiong ($7.00) was interesting with a chewy texture, but the spices were a little strong for me.
Overall, I'm rather impressed by how satiable the food is at Laifa Bar, especially given that local fare is not the intended concept of this space.
Words by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.
The Scarlet Hotel
33 Erskine Road
Tel: +65 84392104
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer (DT Line), Tanjong Pagar (EW Line), Chinatown (DT Line, NE Line)
Tue-Thu, Sun: 1030am - 430pm
Fri-Sat: 1030am - 830pm
(Closed on Mon)
1) Alight at Telok Ayer MRT station. Take Exit A. Turn left and walk down Cross Street. Turn left onto Amoy Street. Continue to the end of Amoy Street. Climb the stairs beside Siang Cho Keong Temple, up Ann Siang Hill. Walk to destination. Journey time about 12 minutes. [Map]
2) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit G. Walk down Maxwell Road towards Kadayanallur Street (beside URA building). Turn right onto Kadayanallur Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 12 minutes. [Map]