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Photographs: David Straight 

Remember Two Monkeys? Just in case: a glass box with a blue-painted steel frame, dirty floors, formica tables, ordinary food. Last year, brothers Simon and John Yip (their mum is Vietnamese) took over the space, painted it white, polished the concrete floor and installed timber tables, metal chairs and industrial drop pendants. It is at once warm and simple and a little bit genius: home-style food, hip hop on the stereo, cute environs and – one day, soon we hope – a booze licence.

It got a flurry of reviews when it opened in October – but for us, the menu didn’t quite hold together; too many dishes were similar, even though the menu was designed to be shared. But there were some particularly excellent grilled chicken skewers ($14) and beautiful pork rice paper rolls ($12), their skin bubbled and crunchy, and there was a dish of pork belly with a tamarind and ginger sauce ($19), at once sticky and sweet and sour. We loved a roasted duck leg with a tangelo salad and taro crisps ($20), and everything came with plenty of herbs. But we also had a pho ($15) without enough beef in it one lunchtime, and a dish of skate wings with dill, turmeric and vermicelli ($19) that verged on bland.

The other day, we went in for an early lunch of pho, and a cold-press coffee with coconut milk and palm sugar, an interpretation of café suda, iced coffee, which in Vietnam comes with a slug of coconut milk but which here had a gentler flavour and a less sticky texture. The pho, equally, was brilliant: a generous serving of beef with a beautiful deep stock and a mountain of herbs. Service was good. The stereo was up. In short: the city needs about 20 joints like this. SFG

HOURS Lunch and dinner, 12pm to 3pm

ADDRESS 191 Dominion Road, Mt Eden, ph 638-6403.

IMPORTANT DETAILS Not yet licensed – we can’t wait.


  1. Grace wrote:

    Beautifully written – you sum it up so well. I went when it first opened and was visiting from Christchurch, and it had so much potential. Good to see that it’s starting to live up to that.

    Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink
  2. SFG wrote:

    Thank you Grace – lovely to hear. Thanks for the feedback.

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink
  3. Lesley wrote:

    great reveiws. We hate loud music as we cant hear conversations. We go out to eat good food ( we do cheap and cheerful (CAC) on friday nights) and good conversation. So, many restaurants are scrubbed off our list because they play loud music or the restaurant serfaces are so bare that the noise level is unbareable. Wish someone would comment on nouse levels as well as food.

    Monday, July 20, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink
  4. SFG wrote:

    Thanks Lesley – glad you’re enjoying the reviews. In general, EHN reviews don’t comment on something – and that includes noise, whether it’s loud or quiet – unless it is remarkable. I have to say I’m in favour of buzzy restaurants, which probably translates as loud for others!

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 1:01 pm | Permalink
  5. masterblaster65 wrote:

    In the last paragragh, you say that in Vietnam ca fe sua da comes with coconut milk, but I think you mean condensed milk.

    Saturday, January 2, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink
  6. SFG wrote:

    No I do mean coconut milk. It usually comes with condensed milk as you note, but at Peasant it’s coconut milk. They’re doing a few things like this in an inventive way, which I really like.

    Saturday, January 2, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

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