Photograph: David Straight
At the moment, it’s a little too easy to get sucked into the lure of the new: something opens every week it seems, and some of these places are very good indeed. Which makes it way too easy to forget about the things we have – like Mekong Vietnamese.
Mekong has been around since 1979: it started as a restaurant, but it’s been in its corner of the Ponsonby International Food Court for as long as anyone can remember, and it has the clippings from various magazines dating back decades to prove it. They do excellent fresh spring rolls ($8) and the pho ($12.50) is pretty good, and so is the Bun Bo ($17.50) – noodle salad with lemongrass beef.
But there are two dishes that set this place apart, and they’re dishes you don’t often see. To be precise: they’re curry stews. The coco lamb ($20) is a stew of pumpkin and lamb in coconut cream with lemongrass. The cari bo ($16.50), meanwhile, is singularly genius, in the style of northern Vietnam: beef chunks, slow cooked with lemongrass, curry spices, potato and coconut. It is sublime in its simplicity, fragrant and delicate. Don’t ever forget about this one.
HOURS Tuesday to Sunday, 11.45am to 8.45pm.
ADDRESS Shop 2, Ponsonby International Food Court, 106 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby.
IMPORTANT DETAILS Cari bo!