You might think that with such a diverse food scene London has every international cuisine covered, you’d be wrong though, because so far there isn’t a restaurant serving up Laotian food. So far. That’s all set to change though with the simply titled Lao Café opening this month by the team behind Rosa’s Thai Café.
It’s a personal project for Head Chef and co-founder of Rosa’s, Saiphin Moore as her family are from Laos and still embrace the traditional foods and cooking methods. At the heart of the 50 cover restaurant will be a modern mural based on a photograph from Saiphin’s visit to Luang Prabang which has been interpreted by graffiti artist Mr Cenz as well as furniture and artwork from Saiphin’s own collection.
It follows on from the pop up that hit Victoria in early 2016 and will serve up a menu designed for sharing. It’s inspired by its history as a former French colony and its neighbours of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, but it has a cuisine that is different. For one the country is landlocked, this means no coconut trees, no coconut trees means no coconuts and that means no coconut milk which is staple of Thai food. Rather their philosophy is based on foraging and many dishes have evolved from field workers cooking what they had around them. So, ingredients will include everything from coriander and dill to frogs, ants’ eggs, bugs and banana flowers. Signature dishes include Tom Zaap Gai – spicy and sour chicken soup with toasted black sesame hot pot; Nham Khao Tod – fermented sausages with crispy rice salad and Pla Pao Gluer – salt-grilled whole fish served with aubergine chilli dip, vermicelli noodles and fresh herbs. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can opt from the Ohr Hed, a mushroom soup made with fresh herbs and ants’ eggs…
Just when you thought London had everything, along comes something brand new and we can’t wait.
Lao Cafe: Opens 16th January, 60 Chandos Place, Covent Garden, WC2N 4HG, www.laocafe.co.uk
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Written by: Emily Gray