Venue Image
Cnr Hobson and Custom Street,
Viaduct
Auckland,


(09) 379 9311

The ViewAuckland Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byBrett Atkinson18/04/2007

4 out of 5

Chairman Mao must be spinning in his mausoleum. His role in establishing a workers' paradise has been reduced to being a bit player in the kitschy pan-Asian décor of a trendy bar in New Zealand. Standing sentinel behind Monsoon Poon's expansive wooden bar, he's vying for attention with Bruce Lee kung fu movies running on the wide-screen telly, and the sprinkly-sparkly lights of a Buddhist shrine. Or maybe it's Hindu.

Monsoon Poon's like that. The attached eatery bills itself as a 'South East Asian Trading House Restaurant', and the menu is an eclectic grab bag of the best of Asia. A few Indian courses are mixed with highlights from Vietnamese and Thai cuisine, as the flavours of Malaysia also make themselves heard atop the delicious culinary din. Totally authentic? Probably not. Loads of fun? Definitely.

Back in the bar the fun is fuelled with a nicely jokey cocktail list. In a nod to some people's favourite broadcaster a 'Cheeky Asian' is a combo of Absolut Citron vodka, limoncello, lemon juice, basil and sugar. You'd expect it to be citrusy, and it is, but not in a ‘makes your lips purse’ kind of way. Instead it's zingy like a lemonade ice-block. Roll on summer we say.

The thoughtful beer list is one of Auckland's best with the hoppy, floral flavours of Emerson's Organic Pilsner and Founders Tall Blonde just made for Asian food. Thailand's Chang and Singha are on offer, Singapore's Tiger is on tap and the bar menu even lists Beer Lao. Unfortunately it's out of stock so rekindling hazy memories of lazy days on the Mekong is not an option. Indecisive wine fans can choose a 'Wine Flight' ($16), which provides tastings of three different varieties of Riesling, Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir.

Settled into the red leather banquettes amidst teak furniture we order a tasting plate of Asian street food. Unlike the cleaner, zestier flavours we've experienced on a previous visit to the restaurant it's a bit too much fried stuff, but definitely fits the bill for casual drinking food.

Pre- or post-dining, either at the attached eatery, or after diving into the more authentic flavours of Food Alley up the road, Monsoon Poon's bar is an escapist glimpse of old Shanghai or old Saigon in new world Auckland. And if you really get into the Asian spirit, pick up one of their signature 'Love You Long Time' T-shirts.




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Monsoon Poon has been reviewed by 12 users
 
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