Experience South East Asian Flavors at Star Leaf in Pasadena

Star Leaf, an award-winning restaurant group founded in 2011 by visionary restaurateur Ruth Lin, has made a grand entrance into the United States. Known for its award-winning dining experiences across 43 locations in Asia, Star Leaf has chosen the beloved Playhouse Village of Pasadena for its first US location. This new establishment promises to bring a taste of tropical paradise to Southern California, captivating both locals and tourists with its exquisite cuisine and stunning ambiance.

A Culinary Dream Team

The culinary prowess behind Star Leaf is nothing short of extraordinary. The team is curated by Michelin-starred chef Jeremy Chen and the illustrious Max Wu, a celebrated winner of both the World Chef Championship and the Hong Kong Global Knife Master Championship. Together, they have crafted a menu that not only honors traditional Asian flavors but also incorporates innovative modern touches. Every dish is a testament to their passion and respect for the rich culinary traditions of Asia.

The Ambiance: A Feast for the Senses

Located on Colorado Boulevard, the 8,000-square-foot restaurant occupies the former Roy’s Hawaiian restaurant and cost over $3.8 million to build. The interior, designed by Weixin Zhou, who is renowned for his work on the Forbidden City restoration in Beijing, evokes the elegance of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore and the Blue Elephant restaurant in Bangkok. Every detail, from custom-made bricks and tiles to wooden panels and cabinets, was meticulously crafted and shipped from Asia, creating a truly immersive dining experience.

Star Leaf’s spacious design accommodates up to 230 guests, making it perfect for family-style dining. The bar area, seating 20, offers daily cocktail specials and bar bites during happy hour from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Patrons can enjoy reasonably priced cocktails at $13, along with affordable yet delectable options like mini banh mi sandwiches, Penang chicken satay, and tropical mango fish, all under $10.

Grand Opening Celebration

The grand opening of Star Leaf was a spectacular affair, featuring live music, parading Thai dancers and exciting raffle giveaways. This festive atmosphere set the tone for what patrons can expect at this new dining destination.

Leading into the culinary delights, Star Leaf’s menu is primarily Thai-inspired, with influences from Singapore, Vietnam, and other Southeast Asian cuisines. Starting off with a spicy Thai som tum salad introduces you to the variety of flavors the restaurant offers, from the umami richness of fish sauce to the tangy tamarind paste and aromatic garlic. Their signature tom yum soup is a standout, simmered for 13 hours with roasted shrimp shells, chiles, galangal, lemongrass, mushrooms, pork bones, chicken bones, mussels, and prawns. This process results in a vibrant orange hue and deep, complex flavors.

Other highlights include the Royal Crown fried rice, made with wild Icelandic capelin, fish roe, scallops, shrimp, and black and white jasmine rice, creating a nutty and fragrant aroma. The Thai Royal curry is a rich, flavorful dish made with pounded herbs, sambal rempah, coconut cream, duck eggs, and mashed potatoes, served with a fresh baguette.

For those looking for something truly special, Madame Noi’s pork collar is marinated overnight, roasted to perfection, and paired with lettuce cups and green papaya salad. The Ikan Bakar, an Indonesian and Malay dish, features charcoal-grilled whole golden pomfret fish served with housemade sweet and sour tropical slaw, mango chile dip, Asian salsa verde, and vermicelli.

For dessert, the Pink Mekong is a must-try. This visually stunning dish is made with coconut cream, red dragon fruit, mango, lotus seeds, red beans, and peach gum, representing the diverse flavors along the Mekong River. It is served in a gold hot pot-like vessel with dry ice smoke for a dramatic and memorable presentation.

Visit Star Leaf Today

Star Leaf in Pasadena is more than just a restaurant; it’s a destination where culinary excellence meets extraordinary ambiance. Whether you’re a local looking to explore new flavors or a tourist seeking an unforgettable dining experience, Star Leaf transporting you across the Pacific for that authentic tropical flavor. Join in the celebration of culture and innovation at this remarkable new addition to Pasadena’s vibrant dining scene.

For more information or reservations, please visit starleafusa.com

Address: 641 E Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Photo credits: Courtesy of Starleaf


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