Restaurant Review: LES45’s Elevated Mexican Fare Comes With A View
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A view you need to go up 45 floors for (don’t worry, there’s a lift)
From dim sum carts at a Chinese restaurant to Tablescape’s very own wagon of various house-baked bread, there’s something about spotting an approaching food trolley that works up a tremendous appetite.
So when Chef Jorge appeared, wheeling in a pushcart ladened with key components to make a gut-busting guacamole ($30), consider us dizzy with excitement and mouths watering like Suntec’s Fountain of Wealth. With the help of a stone pestle and mortar, the Mexican chef gently mashed several Mexican avocados before throwing in guacamole suspects of jalapenos, coriander. diced tomatoes, salt and pepper and squeezes of lime. A bowl of corn chips is served with the freshly-made guac.
The refreshing-to-watch tableside service is offered by Lower East Side 45 (LES45), perched 45 floors high of Singapore Land Tower. Interestingly enough, the polished Mexican concept is related to the casual joint Lower East Side in the east. Even with an open terrace, LES45 is relatively small with limited seating of 60 in total; nonetheless, the Mexican restaurant still puts one in fiesta mood with its vibrant decor of mosaic tiles, colourful skull motifs and walls that radiate glows of ember.
Scallop Aguachile ($25)
After a few sips of a red Sangria ($18) to go with our guac-smeared corn chips, we were presented with the Scallop Aguachile ($25) that has silvers of sweet scallop carpaccio paired with avocada chunks, onion slices, pickled jicama (Mexican yam), before finished off with heapings of coriander leaves. Made flavoursome with the juice of the same pickled jicama, the starter not only makes a refreshing kick-off of the Mexican feast, but also gave a proper introduction to the little modern tweaks Chef Jorge has dotted throughout his upcoming dishes.
Aside from the fresh guac, the Brussel Sprouts ($17) come a close second in our books. Here, the vege morsels are deep-fried and then tossed in a medley of Guajillo chilli peppers and spicy chorizo sausage, before given a squeeze of a lime and dash of salt and sugar for taste. Topped with grated Cotjia cheese (milked from Mexican cows, no less), the result is a multi-dimensional offering of bitterness from the brussel sprouts that meld ever so seamlessly with the salty and spicy flavours.
Chicken Tinga ($18)
We tried as much to enjoy, what we can only assume, the signatures of the Mexican restaurant, but they left us having mixed feelings instead. Starting with Chicken Tinga ($18), a rather traditional Mexican dish that the Chef injected twists in the form of mango guacamole and a wasabi sunny-side up. Laid on a tostada, the filling of tender shredded chicken and turkey meat cloaked in a marination of roasted tomatoes and chipotle chilli is not bad, as with the sweet and creamy mango guacamole; but only if both are eaten separately. Furthermore, we couldn’t taste the supposed hint of wasabi in the dish. The Tempura Hake Tacos ($18), we hoped had a better chance of faring better. While the nicely-crusted fish was fried nicely, the tortilla-based taco is lacking flavour overall, even with the intriguing hibiscus mayonnaise that reels you in with its pretty shade of magenta.
We were quite disheartened that LES45’s menu had only two desserts – a sorbet trio of lime, raspberry and coconut ($12) and sugar-dusted churros with hazelnut cream ($8). We tried the latter which was enough to satisfy our sweet cravings for the evening.
Tempura Hake Tacos ($18)
While we were less than impressed with some of its offerings, LES45 does display great potential in putting out innovative Mexican dishes that no doubt draw its own following. And with such a million-dollar view to boot, you’ll definitely find us at its open-air space during the evenings, perhaps with a glass of Sangria in one hand, and a guac-lathered corn chip in the other.
Address: Singapore Land Tower, #45-03, 50 Raffles Place 048623
Contact no: 6221 9555
Operating Hours: 11am – 2pm, 5pm – 11pm (Mondays to Thursday); 11am – 2pm, 5pm – 2am (Fridays); 5pm – 2am (Saturdays)