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Restaurant Review: la pasa – Singaporean cuisine on Alinga St

By johnboy - 8 December 2008 24

I hadn’t been expecting to be doing restaurant dining when I went out on Friday afternoon. But she-who-must-be-obeyed put her foot down demanding food and a kebab apparently wasn’t going to cut it.

So I wasn’t really dressed fine dining (black t-shirt, cargo pants, hat hair) when we darkened La Pasa’s stylish door on Alinga Street in Civic. (In the base of the Novotel building).

To their credit though the staff did not bat an eyelid and were helpful and attentive throughout.

La Pasa bill themselves as “Singaporean cuisine”.

If you haven’t had the pleasure before then there’s a few things you need to know. Singaporean is basically Chinese in style, but with Malay and Indian influences then jazzed up by a couple of centuries of relative affluence as a center of trade in Asia under the British. On top of that it’s very tropical. So there’s lots of coconut and pineapple involved.

It had been a hot afternoon so we ordered the coconut juice which came out wonderfully sweet and cold with a dressing of soft coconut pulp. At $4 each they’re worth popping in for at the bar alone.

For entree we had excellent duck pancakes and then for the main king prawns with ginger and shallots and their zesty steak.

All were extremely well executed.

There was a slight snarl with our green coconut rice (as in the rice was green) arriving after the mains. But (horror of horror in Canberra’s service with a snarl dining culture) I got an unsolicited apology for that slight mixup.

The menu covers a lot of ground with a genuine variety of dishes rather than five meats and five sauces making a menu of 25 dishes.

I’d really love to go in with a large group and banquet properly.

All up I had chance from $60 which was an extremely pleasant surprise.

I’ll be going back. Probably soon.

What’s Your opinion?

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24 Responses to
Restaurant Review: la pasa – Singaporean cuisine on Alinga St
seekay 12:39 pm 09 Dec 08

Sounds great – but why has a Singaporean place got an Italian/Spanish sounding name?

poptop 8:50 am 09 Dec 08

It’s probably more the case that we notice the errors. Perfect service is invisible.

tylersmayhem 8:41 am 09 Dec 08

That actually sounds pretty tempting JB. But I beg an answer as to why oh why can restaurants in Canberra just not ever get everything right. It sounds like it was quite close in this case, but green rice…c’mon man. That’s pretty school boy error material.

It seems to be a recurring theme in all reviews on here as well as my own and friends experiences. It’s not that hard to just get everything right! Or apparently it is?!

farnarkler 8:17 am 09 Dec 08

If only the rest of the world would follow your lead with the banning of chewing gum. I agree Asian Cafe is really good food.

Estelica 7:54 am 09 Dec 08

Goodness me! I am Singaporean, went there once in my early uni days had some corn soup and chicken stir-fry, did not have a good impression, was generally disappointed.

If I were to find a good nonya chinese kitchen around the area, Asian cafe would still be my preferred choice. For good nonya Malaysian kitchen, I recommend Mamak Corner in Garran shops, they serve good Malaysian Roti & Rendang dish.

farnarkler 4:44 am 09 Dec 08

The beauty of Singaporean food is it takes a little bit of everything and blends it into its’ own recipes ie Singapore noodles. Do they do lime juice? I renew my addiction to it when ever I’m on a Singapore stopover.

ant 11:51 pm 08 Dec 08

Singaporean food is an interesting conglomeration, generally known as Nonya cooking. Charmaine Solomon has a good lot of it in her Asian cookbook.

I thought that drink was a Spider, never heard of coconut juice being sold and with the cream on top, it looks brilliant.

el 10:14 pm 08 Dec 08


G-Fresh 10:05 pm 08 Dec 08

toriness said :

i have only been there once and as a vego i was very unimpressed with my meal

A vego doesn’t deserve to critique restaurants. Eat some meat you mamby pamby

toriness 8:57 pm 08 Dec 08

i have only been there once and as a vego i was very unimpressed with my meal – it was meant to be some sort of vegie stirfry (there was precious little to choose from on the menu for me) and i basically got a plateful of tasteless bok choy and beans. i find chinese food dull as dishwater as well – so had i known this influence on singaporean food, i wouldn’t have bothered at all. it’s probably my own fault for my lack of food cultural knowledge.

fabforty 6:22 pm 08 Dec 08

We have had work lunches and functions at La Pasa and have always been happy with it. The service is good (not over the top) and the food excellent. The banquets are really good for groups – something for everyone.

The duck pancakes are especially good.

Holden Caulfield 4:42 pm 08 Dec 08

Hmm, might have to check it out…

poptop 4:36 pm 08 Dec 08

They have duck? I’m so going there.

There is no better duck than well cooked asian duck.

TheScientist 4:20 pm 08 Dec 08

one of our favourite restaurants in canberra (“our” being me and the “put the foot down” one)

service good (enough), price reasonable (affordable to a couple of students), food actually has flavour, you don’t have to wait ages for it even when busy.

also can recommend the banquets for large groups, you get plenty of food for your money.

johnboy 2:55 pm 08 Dec 08

I should also note they’re advertising in a big way for Christmas lunch if you’re not keen to do it at home.

Lots of duck on the menu.

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