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Photographs: David Straight

We need more places like this. Bolaven is named after the Bolaven plateau, in the high country of Laos – owner Sip Mounlath’s parents came from Laos in the 1970s and so her new restaurant has that wonderful and rare combination: cute fitout, decent wine list, authentic food. It opened a few weeks back and, as of last week, is now open three nights for dinner.

It’s lovely. Sip and friends did the fitout: timber, ply, metal, brick. It’s light-filled and bustling by day and a cozy, candle-lit space by night. Service is friendly, casual. By day there are freshly made juices and a cafe menu with Lao highlights: recently, we’ve eaten fried eggs with sticky rice and a Lao tomato chutney ($12.50), a dish that Sip serves her kids: you smudge the egg with the rice and soy sauce and chilli and make a delicious mess. And then there is pho ($19.50). A generous big bowl of beef broth with lightly charred strips of fillet and a pretty collection of additions – lime, chilli, peanuts, ginger. It makes for a perfect early lunch.

We went back for dinner and ate a sublime green vege curry ($19), grilled eggplant with lemongrass and tomatoes ($13), all gooey and grilled, as well as a fabulous salad of prawns and pan-fried squid with Lao dressing and smashed cucumber. There was caramelised pork belly with a braised egg ($22), sticky and gloriously sweet, and mok pa ($26) a package of hapuku cooked in banana leaf with lemongrass and coconut milk. Flavours are punchy and clean: it takes us straight back to Laos. Keep an eye on this one. SFG

HOURS Breakfast & lunch, seven days. Dinner, Thursday to Saturday.

ADDRESS 597 Mt Eden Road, ph 631-7520.

IMPORTANT DETAILS They take bookings! Most excellent.


  1. Upnworld wrote:

    Good review. I might check this one out.

    Saturday, August 2, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  2. Elspeth Hocking wrote:

    Just a note – they take bookings for smaller groups for dinner now. We had a lovely time on Saturday night there, and it was a relief to find a place where you could book a table in advance for a change!

    Monday, December 15, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink
  3. SFG wrote:

    Terrific – thank you for letting us know.

    Monday, December 15, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

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  1. Phở from Bolaven | An Auckland Vegan on Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    […] Eden’s Bolaven didn’t take reservations when it opened, but its subsequent popularity with everyone means that dinner bookings are now […]

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