Apart from a few go-to restaurants which have been here since I moved to Auckland 20 years ago, the Birkenhead dining scene really doesn’t have much to boast about. Prices aren’t extravagant, but neither is the food.
Walking along Birkenhead Avenue, Mulan stood out as something that would otherwise have belonged in the hip and upcoming Mt Albert scene with Chinoiserie, Kiss Kiss and L’Oeuf. Inside, it was casually embellished with thick knotted ropes around the entrance and on the ceiling of the dining area, the setting is thoughtfully simple. Without calling on famous interior designers, it was enough to elevate the dining experience up a step.
I came for a late long lunch with a particular craving for Thai food. Thai and Vietnamese cuisine are always high on my favourites. (Maybe not so much for coriander haters who apparently blame it on genetics for this inexcusable pickiness.)
As a first step to tame the insatiable hunger, we had the Mama’s special of steamed buns with sticky pork. Two really weren’t enough between two people! The bun was thinner than I wanted but it was bouncy and the flavours were saturated into the meat.
As recommended by another foodie I ordered Golden Shield – sweet and spicy squid, flash fried with chili jam and kaffir lime. If you love strong flavours, it is a must order! The combination of sweet, spicy and sour was punchy and appetising. Along with the chicken jungle curry, we easily demolished two bowls of coconut rice with the spicy kick. If you are a spice wimp like me, I recommend staying firm on ordering “mild”.
As a local, I’d love to go back. It’s my type of hangout: casual with tasty food. Thumbs up!
243 Hinemoa Street