Originally posted on the L.A. Times. See the full piece here.
Name of restaurant: Bugis Street Brasserie, a Singaporean-Chinese-influenced concept named after a major tourist junction in Singapore. It originates from the UK; this particular location is the only one in the U.S.
Owner: Bugis Street is managed and attached to Millennium & Copthorne hotels.
Chef: Horace He is behind the toque with 15 years of L.A-based culinary experience under his belt.
Concept: A 150-seater, spilt-level eatery meant as a lunch option for downtown Los Angeles frequenters or hotel guests at the attached Millennium hotel. Adorned with artwork of the actual Bugis Street in Singapore, it’s sleek. While the restaurant is Singporean-Chinese-themed, the menu has Cantonese, Japanese, Korean and Malaysian dishes.
What dish represents the restaurant, and why? The laksa ($13), an appropriate choice simply because of the Singaporean nature of the restaurant. Laksa is a spicy coconut-based soup with roots in Malaysia and Singapore, with a handful of shrimp, chicken and tofu. Thai basil is thrown on for garnish and the noodle of choice is rice vermicelli.
Runner-up: The nasi goreng ($13): mildly spicy vegetable fried rice mixed with chicken, prawns and red chili. It’s topped with a fried egg. (Everything is better with an egg on top.)
Who’s at the next table? Suited-up business types having a lunch meeting with their clients, the occasional hotel guest and people looking to grab a quick drink at the bar after work.
Appropriate for … : A business lunch. It’s casual enough so that you won’t break your expense budget but fancy enough to impress your client. Plus, tables are located a comfortable distance apart, which is always a positive thing for these types of meals.
Uh-oh … : Parking spots can be impossible to find.
Service: Servers are tremendously polite but can be difficult to flag down.
What are you drinking? Coppola Su Yuen Riesling from Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville. The drink menu is stocked with Asian-themed selections from Tsingtao beer to Thai iced tea boba.
Info: 501 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, 90071. Open Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations, call 213.624.1100. http://www.millenniumhotels.com