Perched on the 45th floor of Singapore Land Tower, LES45 is an outpost of Lower East Side Taqueria at East Coast Road. It is run by Hidden Door Concepts which also manages Sear Steakhouse, Pigsfly Kitchen, and Saigon Alley.
LES45 by Mexican chef Jorge Leon differentiates itself from other Mexican restaurants in that it’s authentically Mexican (with modern flourishes) and not Tex-Mex. (Serious Eats wrote an article on the differences.)
There are different varieties of burritos for lunch at $12 and a monthly special. We saw the table next to us having the monthly special, a seafood platter (good for 2-3 to share), which looked fantastic and is priced affordably at only $40.
Before talking about the food, the decor is beautiful. There is an al fresco area which overlooks the city, and inside, the mint green walls, mint green plates, copper cutlery, Day of the Death skulls, distressed chairs, wainscotted walls, and gothic arch, all conspire to give a convivial, homely, and classy atmosphere. Love!
We wanted to order some of the premium items like lobster tacos ($35) and uni tostadas ($35), but they were out. What we definitely didn’t want to order is the guacamole en molcajete ($30), which is just avocadoes pounded with mortar and pestle by the table. $30 for that? No thanks. I can pound my own avocadoes at home.
Every order of taco comes in twos. The tempura hake fish taco ($18) is recommended by several sites, and it comes with salsa fresca, cabbage, and an interesting hibiscus mayo. The fish, though fleshy, is slightly dry, and the seasoning, though crunchy and delicious, seems separated from the fish.
The wagyu beef quesadilla ($18) with Monterey Jack cheese, guacamole, and fresca is, on the other hand, a total delight. The beef has an intense flavour, pairing well with the cheese and guac.
Carnitas is the cornerstone of Mexican food, and this 8-hour pulled pork burrito ($16) with Pinto beans, ancho mayo, red cabbage-slaw, guac, cilantro lime grains, and nori is great. The pork is just a little dry, but the flavours are zesty and spicy; this feels like as passionate folk dance or a telenovela.
This is the first time we have Szechuan Pastor Ribs ($25). “Al pastor” is shavings of vertical spit-roasted pork found in kebab. The dish is brought into Mexico in the early 1900s by Lebanese immigrants. Not quite sure if this dish works. It tastes like American BBQ ribs and Szechuan Pepper have a baby. It’s not as sweet as BBQ sauce, and it’s not as aromatic as Szechuan food; it has, instead, some earthy tones. Chiobu said (and I agree with her) that the flavours just didn’t come across strongly enough; it was repressed and muted.
One last thing, the service by two boys is wonderful. Polite, friendly, and helpful. When we over-ordered, one server informed us about it; I appreciate information like this.
LES45, or Lower East Side 45, not to be mistaken as a lesbian hangout (although it could be), is a lovely restaurant with excellent food. Everything–from decor to service–is outstanding here, and I will recommend it to anyone who likes Mexican food. We paid $85 for two persons, but, as the waiter said, we over-ordered. So a good estimate would be about $35 per pax excluding alcohol.
Singapore Land Tower, 50 Raffles Place #45-03, Singapore 048623
tel: +65 6221 9555
12pm-2pm, 5pm-11pm, closed Sun
You may be interested in…
–Chimichanga, Dunlop Street: Affordable Mexican Food at a Hipster Joint
–Super Loco, Robertson Quay: Super Delicious Mexican Weekend Brunch + Super Hot Angmohs
–Vatos Urban Tacos, South Beach Quarter: KoMex (Korean-Mexican) Food, Best Tacos in Singapore
–El Mero Mero, Chijmes: The New Go-To Restaurant for Mexican Food
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.