A stone’s throw from Liverpool Street station, Straits Kitchen is a high-end Singaporean concept, the flagship restaurant of Pan Pacific London.
Found on the hotel's first floor and accessed via a curved wooden staircase, Straits Kitchen’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the bustling City below, but the atmosphere inside is positively serene, where soft, attractive lighting is coupled with a soundtrack of lyric-free spa music.
The safe, minimalist decor means you never quite shake the feeling you are dining in a hotel, but the menu is rich enough in both colour and flavour to make up for any lack of atmosphere. Straits Kitchen opens from breakfast, but we visited at dinner, choosing to dine from the set ‘Discovery’ menu (a la carte also available).
We were impressed by the steady stream of well-executed dishes and particularly enjoyed that Straits Kitchen is not afraid to serve messy food: pork ribs were sweet and sticky, with the meat practically melting on the tongue, while chicken satay skewers were served alongside peanut sauce and fluffy rice that was pressed together into miniature cubes.
The best thing we ate was the Lobster Nonya Laksa: a steaming bowl of pure comfort which combined thick vermicelli rice with sweet coconut gravy and tofu chunks that absorbed the chilli spices peppered throughout. Lobster tongs were also provided to help prize the flesh from its shell - a fun, if somewhat laborious, task.
Puddings are given mysterious one word titles (‘Chocolate’, ‘Coconut’), but we were taken by ‘Apple’, presented at the table as the kind of shiny fruit you see used as a prop on television sets, but revealing itself to be a pudding of caramel soaked sponge and refreshing apple compote. You can find a similar version at other City favourite Coq d’Argent, but here hunks of cinnamon crumble add a welcome crunchy texture.
High-end restaurants where you can splash the cash are hardly a novelty in this neighbourhood, but Straits Kitchen sets itself apart with its wide-ranging, adventurous menu and warm staff - everyone we encountered, from the doorman to the hostess to our waitress, was a delight.