Friday, June 13, 2014

Mekong Baby

Food envy is something I experience a lot. Nothing is worse than eating your delicious dish, just to look over at your companion who managed to order and even better meal and wondering if you're close enough yet to ask them for a bite...

...Sometimes eating out is stressful for me.

I usually dine with close friends who are quite used to me eyeing up their plates but tonight, Jason and I were catching up with Moody and meeting his girlfriend, Kylie, for the very first time. We arrived a little early and sat at an elevated table right next to the kitchen where we could watch the chefs make a million appetisers for a party that was happening upstairs. This also gave me time to fret about whether or not Kylie would like us, whether or not she would like Asian food and whether or not she would let me touch her food...

Ko Phi Le - $10
Thankfully, she is a pretty cool chick and didn't mind sharing - which was pretty lucky because our waiter explained that the mains are made to share! I started off with a Ko Phi Le which is a delicious concoction of jasmine tea, lychee, rose, lemon and green apple. The combination resulted in something that very closely resembles pineapple juice and I really liked the addition of actual lychees.

Braised Pork Belly - $26
I ordered the pork belly at the recommendation of our waiter and others who had been here before. It came in five big pieces that were caramelised just right to give it the beautiful candied flavour but not too much that it was hard to cut. Each bite just melted in my mouth. The crunchy asian slaw was a great addition - its sharp Thai flavours went very well with the rich flavours of the pork.

Prawn Jungle Curry - $30
Like a good boyfriend, Moody had pre-warned Kylie that his weird friend likes to take photos of her food -probably the same kind of warning that one gives before meeting the strange uncle for the first time... So when her curry arrived, she pushed it under the light where I could get the best picture. I think we'll get along quite well!

The Jungle Curry was light and fragrant, with strong flavours of lemongrass. The crunchy cabbage, sugar peas and baby corn were brought texture to the dish and I loved spooning the broth over my rice.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder - $26
I wasn't really sure how this dish was Asian, but was very impressed at how easily the lamb fell apart under my fork. After tasting the strong flavours of the other dishes, the mellow flavours of the lamb didn't impress as much -although we did manage to finish most of it! We also found that the salad lacked flavour and wasn't as exciting as the crunchy Asian salad.

Red Beef Curry - $26
Having never had a red curry before, I was very pleased that my first one was such a delightful experience. The pieces of beef were so tender and the sauce was very smooth, with flavours that just danced on the palette. 

Lime-Papaya Meringue Pie - $12
For dessert, Jason ordered a twist on the classic Lemon Meringue Pie, made with lime and papaya. To be honest, we didn't notice much of a difference but it was yummy nonetheless. 

Coconut and Burnt Palm Sugar Icecream Sundae with Lemongrass Jelly and Peanut Praline - $12
Moody reported that the peanut praline paired very well with his ice cream sundae while the lemon grass jelly was a nice texture change but wasn't really noticeable amongst the stronger flavours of the rest of the dish. I had one of the delicate jellies on its own and would have happily chowed down on a whole bowl!

Kaffir Lime and Ginger Chocolate Mousse - $12
Kylie ordered the chocolate mousse which, by far, was the most impressive looking dessert. However, the mousse resembled a dense chocolate cake and was a bit too rich to finish. 

Pandan and Ginger Panacotta - $12
My panacotta was beautifully smooth and had just the right amount of wobble to it. The pandan and ginger flavour was very delicate. My favourite was the thin and crispy sesame wafer which I thought went very well  -so much better than the large pieces of biscotti you usually get that over power such a light dessert.

With its modern twist on traditional south Asian cuisine, Mekong Baby is a must visit for anyone who loves food. Every dish was superb and it was clear that a lot of care had gone into creating them. We already have plans to visit again!

Mekong Baby can be found at: 262 Ponsonby Road, Ponsoby, Auckland

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cafe People

I don't often wander into Ponsonby for breakfast but when I do, it has to be good. 

Jason and I visited Cafe People on a cold Sunday morning because we had a Zomato voucher and were in the area for a little shopping. I first visited a few months ago for a great lunch and was quietly optimistic for this breakfast experience.

The interior is modern, with simple furniture. We admired the spray painted murals on the wall while we waited for our drinks. 

Hot Chocolate, Chai Latte
We were quite pleased with our drinks which were not sickly sweet as we've experienced at other cafes. Jason's hot chocolate had a good amount of cocoa while my chai was wonderfully spicy.

Hash Cake - $17.50
I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when my Hash Cake arrived. The plating looked a bit sloppy and the bright yellow hollandaise sauce scared me a little. 

Luckily, the flavours were spot on. The hash cake was made up both diced and mashed potato which gave it a great texture. The mushrooms were well seasoned and the egg was perfectly poached. The only let down was the slightly sour hollandaise.

Classic Breakfast - $22.00
Jason's Classic Breakfast was quite similar to my breakfast with the addition of a pork and fennel sausage, roasted tomatoes and toasted ciabatta bread. The plating was more appetising than the hash cakes and the taste was great! The sausage was delicious while the tomatoes added a nice burst of flavour to the rest of the meal. 

We left Cafe People very full and pretty satisfied. The hot drinks were great and the food, despite the plating, was great!

Cafe People is located at 38 Ponsonby Rd, Grey Lynn, Auckland

Lucy and Jason dined with a voucher from Zomato.