What do two smokin' DJs, Asian Grub, and awards season share in common? E.P. & L.P., LA's celeb spot du soir.
WeHo-hit wonder: With its celeb-heavy clientele (and ownership) and delectable Southeast Asian fare—like this scallop and mussel curry with turmeric, coconut, and galangal—E.P. & L.P. is lighting LA’s Restaurant Row ablaze anew.
Pair an award-winning chef who attended high school with Iggy Azalea with two high-profile DJs (one as a silent investor) and a real estate/hospitality guru, and the result is a stellar team with celeb cred in both the culinary and music spheres. They’re all in the mix at West Hollywood’s hottest new hang, E.P. & L.P.—an “eating and drinking house” spanning three floors and the spectrum of Southeast Asian cuisine.
“Music, fashion, art, and design are our big drivers,” says co-owner David Combes. “That’s the type of demographic we’re looking to attract.” So far, it’s working—notable clientele has included A-listers Matt Damon, Queen Latifah, Gerard Butler, Don Cheadle, and Christoph Waltz.
And there’s certainly something for everyone. The restaurant is split into three different concepts: E.P. (serving what Combes calls “elevated Asian fare”); L.P. (a greenery-laden rooftop lounge with a street food-centric menu); and Frankie’s (a private rooftop VIP area). Although the menu is primarily Thai-oriented, Executive Chef Louis Tikaram’s approach also incorporates Chinese, Fijian, and Vietnamese touches.
It’s something Tikaram and the team feel uniquely qualified to do, hailing from Australia’s red-hot Asian food scene. “People joke about the national dish being kangaroo, but our national cuisine is primarily Asian,” says co-owner Grant Smillie, who is also a house-music DJ in Australia. “If you described this project in a tweet, it would be ‘two crazy Australians with a Fijian chef coming to America to cook Thai food.’”
The result? Shareable, flavorful dishes like Fijian-style ceviche, wood-grilled lamb neck with chili jam, and hot-and-sour Wagyu tartare. The menu upstairs resembles more of what one might find at an Asian hawker bar— think soft-shell crab buns, Thai-style jerky, and Boba-infused cocktails. Tikaram amps up each dish with locally grown Southeast Asian staples, such as galangal, lemongrass, and turmeric. “When I came over [to America], I learned that all of these ingredients grew locally,” says Tikaram. “People don’t understand that you can get them here—I want to expose this type of produce to people in California.”
And then there’s the cultural aspect. Along with the vinyl-inspired moniker, the musical influence is evident from the moment one enters. A row of vintage albums decorates the maître d’ stand (all plucked from Smillie’s collection of 30,000 records), while carefully curated playlists and copper turntables provide the soundtrack. Those in the know also realize that one of the restaurant’s silent partners is DJ Axwell, of Swedish House Mafia fame.
Smillie plans to capitalize on their collective music connections with Grammy parties, BBC Radio One showcases, exclusive album previews, and music-centric documentary showings on the rooftop. And there’s talk of opening another location Downtown.
But, for now, they’re content at the prime corner of Melrose and La Cienega, at the start of LA’s famous Restaurant Row. From Combes’ perspective, their biggest draw is the food, along with the creative forces behind it—which is exactly why the front-row seats at E.P. & L.P. are at the chef’s counter and custom onyx chef’s table. “It’s all about having an open kitchen so diners can see the show,” he says. “Chefs are the new rock stars rolling through town!” 603 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-855-9955