Restaurant Review: Don't Be Scared Of Mekong, Baby

Ruby Romanos

Ruby Romanos is a design graduate who can usually be found engrossed in a book on the beach, trawling through the shops looking for those killer heels, or bounding around on the netball court. She is the director of the photo retouching business eight bit canvas, and likes to dabble in photography. Oh, and she also does not like cats.

The Mekong River runs through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. You can also find a small piece of it here in New Zealand, situated at 262 Ponsonby Road. This Southeast Asian 'fusion' restaurant and bar has an extensive range of culinary delights, not to mention a top-notch cocktail menu.

From the owner of Banque in Remuera, Dominique Parat, Mekong Baby's menu is designed to share. All the better for it, you should try as many as possible. The dishes are of various portions in classes ranging from small beginnings, bit on the side, salads and greens, little bigger, and happy endings.

Keeping with the Asian flow, I tried a Saigon Iced Tea. Gin, cucumber infused vodka, pomme verte, rose, mint, apple, lime and jasmine tea. A deliciously lethal combination of flavours, and the cucumber acted as a great palate neutraliser between dishes.

The main course was duck massaman curry. With potato, shallots and peanuts, the real magic was found in the pineapple, something I would never think to pair with a curry. These small points of difference are carried through in the restaurant's presentation. Hand painted designs on the walls, softly changing mood lighting and a luxurious ladies powder room, make Mekong Baby an opulently unique eatery.

My overall pick of the day was the 'crispy rice flour crepe' with tempeh (deep fried soy beans), mushrooms and chilli jam. The delicious coconut-infused crepe is accompanied by salad greens, which is always a plus in my books. This dish is a rather generous portion for the 'small beginnings' class. I dubiously eyed up the chilli jam, my taste buds are still coming to grips with spice. After plucking up the courage to try the condiment, I was amazed at the flavours, sweet chutney-type jam with tangy chilli tastes. As owner Dominique Parat says, “Don't be afraid of Mekong Baby”.

Open from 12pm until late, with private function areas available, make sure you add Mekong Baby to your bucket list.

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