The hype: Sister to Hidden Door Concepts’ Lower East Side Taqueria in Katong, LES45 brings the same Mexican staples and feel-good vibes to the 45th floor of Singapore Land Tower in Raffles Place. There, it joins the group’s other concepts Angie’s and SEAR, to deliver no-frills food paired with unparalleled views of the CBD.
The vibe: It’s titchy but homely, seating a limited 60 at the indoor area, bar and terrace combined. But like any Mexican establishment, there’s an unmistakable energy within its walls, colorfully decorated to resemble a jolly fiesta. If the weather’s nice, definitely grab a seat on the terrace—the restaurant’s star feature.
The food: The focus here is on authentic Mexican dishes. In the words of Hidden Door Concepts founder Christopher Lim: “Not the Tex Mex kind you find in the States”. Head chef Jorge hails from a small town in Mexico, and brings with him his beloved heritage to the LES 45 menu.
That said, the dishes are nowhere near dated. Chef Jorge Leon introduces a refreshing modern take on old-school favorites—like the humble (soft) taco, which here takes the form of the Tempura Hake Tacos ($18). Served with hibiscus mayo, salsa fresca and a side of cabbage, it foregoes the usual chicken/beef/pork for a crispy fish tempura. Another favorite is the Chicken Tinga Tostadas with mango guacamole and wasabi sunny-side up ($18)—shredded chicken over a toasted flat tortilla; and a must for anyone who loves guac.
The sides too are deceptively packed with flavor. The Scallop Aguachile with avocado and pickled jicama ($25) is a ceviche-like dish that works great as a starter; while the Brussels Sprouts with guajillo and your choice of chorizo or chicken ($17) is addictive for its cheese-dusted warmth (we’re calling it the next big bar snack). Or just get a bowl of Chef Jorge’s LES Guacamole ($15), freshly prepared in a traditional stone molcajete and perfect for endless snacking with the accompanying tortilla chips. To end, what else but cinnamon-sprinkled churros ($8)—here tastefully plated with drizzles of chocolate hazelnut cream.
The drinks: Sangria sangria sangria. A glass goes for $18 and is light yet tart enough to justify multiple glasses throughout the night. That or the homemade Horchatas ($8), a traditional non-alcoholic Mexican drink made from rice, milk, almonds and cinnamon. Top up a fee to have it spiked. Otherwise, the bar serves a good selection of cocktails, spirits and even shooters.
Why you’ll be back: Comfortable yet vibrant, and with a stellar view should you be in the mood; LES45 was made for days when you just want to kick back with a couple of friends and relish this modern city life you’ve been made a part of. Say hello to your new favorite CBD hangout.