There’s something satisfying about finding a restaurant that ticks all the right boxes, at least in my books.
Fusion cuisine has taken New Zealand by storm, and let’s be honest, there’s more misses than hits. Weird combinations of ingredients like blue cheese dumplings had me quite apprehensive about any self-labeled Asian fusion restaurant.
In comes Mekong Baby in Ponsonby which had been recommended me to me many times by chefs and serious foodies.
Walking in, I already took a liking to the interior. It was spacious with plenty of different seating arrangements for group dinners or date nights. The decor was young and trendy, the essence of what Ponsonby is about.
To start, we each had a betel leaf with crab, kaffir lime and chilli which was so moreish and delicious, it set the tone and an eager expectation to try the other food.
Absolutely go with people who love to share dishes, it’s a good excuse to order just about everything on the menu. The braised pork belly was SO good. A juicy succulent pork belly with crispy crackling is so rare, let alone be it so bouncy and full of flavour. I don’t even normally like pork and it was my favourite that night. Accompanied with caramelised chilli and soy with an Asian slaw, it balanced out the carnivorous element.
The beef tartare with nashi and yuzu mayo was a beautifully presented dish. Mixed together, it was very creamy and the nashi crisps gave it a lighter balance. It was mellow and enjoyable but I felt like it could have incorporated some punch through the flavours or different textures.
Another favourite was the prawn, sticky pork and mango salad, with the highlight being the sticky pork. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a mango salad, and the prawns and pork complemented each other so well. All the elements are quite sweet though, so maybe that’s why we didn’t have a craving or room for dessert afterwards.
The crispy rice flour crepes were probably the only let down. It wasn’t crispy when it arrived and the fillings of mushroom and fried tempeh were mild in flavour. I’ve started to train myself to eat chilli and I had to add copious spoonfuls of the chilli jam in attempt to rescue some flavour in the dish.
Overall, I can’t wait to find the excuse to go back again. It’s a perfect venue for group dinners or celebrations because if you book in advance you can secure a private dining area. It has a vibrant and exciting atmosphere and the food is varied and adventurous. Thank you Mekong Baby for rescuing Asian fusion in Auckland!
Ph: (09 3601113)
262 Ponsonby Road