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MOOCHOWCHOW

[Pictures: David Straight]

We’ve been waiting for this for a very long time. We gave up on Thai in Auckland, sick of canned bamboo shoots, crinkle-cut carrots and watery curries with too much sugar. Then we went to Moochowchow, which opened in April in a big villa up the top of Ponsonby Road that used to be Rocco. One of the owners is the same: the space hasn’t changed much, and it has the same pacey feel – only now there are long communal tables.

The menu is inventive. There is a Mussaman goat curry ($30) slow-cooked to perfection, fragrant with spices; we’re sorry they took the sour orange fish curry off, which was fantastically sour. There is a caramelised pork hock ($16 or $25), sticky and crunchy and fatty. There is a five-spice roast chook (half for $20 or whole for $30), charry on the outside and just cooked on the inside. In season, there are betel leaves stuffed with fish ($4.50), which are a revelation. We’d advise you to try the crispy soft-shell crab ($18), punchy with fish sauce and lime.

Quibbles? Some. On our first visit, the food was out of balance. Everything was too sweet, and there wasn’t enough chilli or salt or citrus zing – on subsequent visits, everything was much punchier, but they’re still working that through. We’d like to see more herbs – in bowls on the tables, perhaps. But let’s put it into context: there is nowhere else in Auckland that serves Thai food like this. Nowhere. The fact you can wash it down with a decent bottle of Central Otago rose makes it that much better. SFG

HOURS Lunch, Tuesday to Friday, midday to 3; dinner, Monday to Saturday, 4pm to late.

ADDRESS 23 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, ph 360-6262. www.moochowchow.co.nz

IMPORTANT DETAILS There’s a private room upstairs. We strongly suggest you book it and take some friends.

 

2 Comments

  1. Guth wrote:

    Average, a bit boring..had high expectations,so very very disappointed. To begin we had to wait 20 minutes for our cocktails to be made. The meal? Well, if only the food menu was anywhere as comprehensive as the drinks menu. Appetizers consist of two types of oyster or a deep fried egg..

    The one benefit of such a short menu is that it did come quickly. But it missed the fresh herbs, the chilli, the zesty lime, and the subtle and zingy flavours that make thai food so delectable and distinguishable from the rest. We had to add bottled chilli sauce to our dishes to give them some punch.. Some freshly made sour and spicy condiments would have gone down well.

    Tasty enough but think more Wagamama than Longrain, hopefully this is a work in progress.

    Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 8:43 am | Permalink
  2. djbtak wrote:

    “Tasty enough but think more Wagamama than Longrain”

    That’s cold, but on the money. Went for dinner for the first time recently, herbiness is actually OK now, but all one note, like they’d worked out their spice/herb combos and just applied them to everything with no interest in the base of the dish. Felt like more of a marketing concept than a restaurant. Well cooked, generic food, none of the dishes over- or under- done, good atmosphere if you want to go out somewhere with a buzz and a good wine list. Perhaps I’d prefer it for lunch. Maitre’d was great, service pretty good. Prices not outrageous. If you’ve never been to Sydney or Thailand then it would be worth going to try the food, but otherwise I’d recommend sticking with Auckland’s world-class Japanese options at this price-point.

    Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

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