Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Secret Thai Garden

Anna Burns Francis. It sounds like a stage direction from a Fringe Festival script, but it’s actually the name of a talented radio news journalist who emailed and put me onto Secret Thai Garden, an amazing little find and my new recommendation for a surprise Auckland date night.

Not a first date, maybe. It’s in Otahuhu, you see, and no matter how liberal your dinner buddy, you may find them giving you the panic eyes and fumbling for the handbag taser if you take them south of Balmoral Road without warning.

But let’s say you’re on the fourth or fifth date, you’ve already done movies, walking up Mt Eden, DVD-followed-by-awkward-move-to-bedroom night and you’re looking for a way of showing that you really were listening when she told you about her OE. If she went to Thailand, then you should take her to Secret Thai Garden – a restaurant which will bring those memories of careless holiday flings with British backpackers who are better looking than you flooding back. You’re welcome!

Secret Thai Garden looks, smells, sounds and feels just like a Thailand restaurant because, well, because they pretty much just grabbed one and shipped it over in tact. You enter through a gate in an unassuming backstreet fence then wander past water features, bridges and ornamental buddhas before arriving in an open garden. Almost all of the tables feel like they’re outside, but in fact ours was the only one exposed to the weather. This is how I learnt that you need to book ahead.

We went for the set menu and although it would tie things up nicely if the food had been spectacular too, unfortunately it was not all that flash. Still I’m going to optimistically put that down to bad ordering. I hope you have better luck: Anna Burns Francis says she always does, and if you can’t trust a Radio Live journalist then who can you trust? (not being ironic)

I’ve had pretty disappointing Thai food almost everywhere in Auckland, but I’ve always enjoyed Mekong Neua in Kingsland and, sporadically, Thai Classic on Ponsonby Road. The stalls selling homemade Thai at Avondale market are awesome too. Anywhere else decent you can tell me about? Look! It’s a new ‘Comments’ section. How exciting!