Hawker 45 - Gastronomic Street Food Excellence
I had my eyes on Hawker 45 from the minute it opened a few years ago: it was something new, different, exciting, and authentic. Top level chef Laila Bazahm with deep roots in gastronomic excellence has created this exotic getaway with so much love and care, and you can taste it in the dishes. She is surrounded by an equally charming staff, and they all make you feel like you’re at home.
The menu brings street food inspiration from Latin America (Brasil, Peru) and Asia (Singapore, Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam...), with many of Laila’s own heritage recipes. I love their menu that names plenty of ingredients for each dish, and I get excited when there are things that I have never even heard of. It’s not easy to choose from the menu, you’ll want to try everything. If you go during lunchtime it's easier: they have a menu del día that's excellent value for money. You can still choose from the full menu though if you prefer.
I warmly recommend the tasting menu. It's fantastic: 6 dishes chosen by the chef and it takes you on an unforgettable gastronomic journey called the Hawker-Kase. The name comes from the work Omakase that means “I trust you.” You have the option to pair it with cocktails, where each drink highlights the flavors in the different dishes. The cocktail menu is created by mixologist and genius Javier Caballero. You can also choose wines if you prefer, the wine choices at Hawker have been carefully and professionally curated.
A small detail perhaps, but huge thumbs up for the fact that you get FREE water brought to you to the table, and it's purified through reverse osmosis. In a city where you rarely receive free water to the table, this is something much appreciated. Oh, and make sure you try the home-made sodas and kombuchas, they are excellent!
But let's get back to the food. I adore the laksa: wonderfully thick and tasty with exotic, rich but mild flavors that marry together perfectly. I also thoroughly enjoy the lamb satay that is served in a banana leaf along with rice. It's honestly challenging to find a favorite because there are so many fascinating flavors.
The Rendang curry made with veal cheeks, lemongrass, ginger, coconut milk, cinnamon, turmeric, and coconut rice is mind-blowing with its Indo-Malaysian flavors, as is the Chicken Inasal, a Philippine dish with chicken, pickles and spring onion, served with aromatic banana leaf rice.
Oh and please don't leave without trying the desserts! The Nyona banana cake with cinnamon and miso that comes with a passion fruit cream is a must.
I love the flavors, the drinks, and the atmosphere at Hawker 45. It’s a friendly exotic getaway where flavorful and innovative food is prepared and served with plenty of love and dedication. It’s an unforgettable experience where you get to enjoy top-level gastronomy in an approachable, warm, and comforting environment. You can find Hawker on Instagram here.
Address: Hawker45, Carrer de Casp 45 (Eixample).