Mekong Neua Thai Restaurant

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3 reviews
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483 New North Road,

(09) 846 0323

The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byBrett Atkinson23/06/2009

A sign above the kitchen at Kingsland’s Mekong Neua announces ‘The Singing Chefs’. I wish the hardworking guys from Thailand would hurry up and get started, because anything would be preferable to the bland saxophone noodlings coming from the stereo. Note to all Auckland restaurant owners: Kenny G is not appropriate music for playing in public. Whether it’s appropriate for playing in private is also a matter for considerable debate.

OK, that’s enough negative comments for this review, because the longstanding Mekong Neua does lots of things really well. The restaurant specialising in the zingy, zesty flavours of Isaan (north east Thailand) and Laos, spearheaded Kingsland’s emergence as a dining destination, and on one of Auckland’s coldest nights of the year, the welcome is as warm as a lazy tropical afternoon on the Mekong.

Housed in an old villa that’s all exposed bricks, wooden floors and interesting Asian art, Mekong Neua is one of Auckland’s more interesting Thai eateries, offering a unique Isaan spin on a cuisine that’s now commonplace around Auckland. Off the specials menu, Carol begins with Goong Makham ($10.50), prawn cutlets covered in sesame seeds, and then wrapped in crispy egg noodles. Served with a tamarind sauce, they’re a delicate and tasty spin on the usual Thai starters like fish cakes or spring rolls. My Tom Yum Pla Muk ($9.50) – hot and sour soup – is crammed with robust portions of squid, half a forest full of galangal, mushrooms, and kaffir lime leaves. As I start drinking a very necessary Beer Lao, Kenny G’s saxophone warblings even sound slightly less offensive.

Service is smooth throughout the meal, and our location near the open fire is now making perfect sense. Our mains are a combination of southern Thai flavours and the heartier, country-style cuisine of the northeast. Carol’s southern-style Gaeng Dang Ped Yang ($21.50)– red curry with duck, coconut milk, pineapple and grapes – is a subtle combination of sweetness and heat. My Gaeng Pa ($22), is a Lao-style country curry with beans, baby sweetcorn, prawns and mussels. Served on a mini-ceramic burner, it bubbles away with hearty goodness. Its chilli kick is significantly greater than Carol’s curry, and I know buying a 650ml Beer Lao was the right decision.

Mekong Neua’s been going for a decade now, and while Thai flavours are becoming more prevalent across Auckland, for our money it’s still one of the city’s best, and most consistent Thai dining experiences.

I just wish they’d use as much passion when choosing what music to play.

Mekong Neua Thai Restaurant has been reviewed by 3 users

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