You can probably tell by the pun at the beginning but it's Jia here. Sorry it's taken so long to get started on posting; it's difficult to have two people rating the same thing because you need to have some sort of consensus while writing and a similar schedule and Songie just couldn't fit it in. Therefore, I will be starting off our blog with a post all by myself~
As you can guess from the title, I will be reviewing Thai Village, a nice restaurant tucked away in Remuera Village. You can either walk to it from the main road of Remuera via a pathway with a nice garden gazebo type entrance that passes the bookstore, or go around via the parking lot. The parking lot is situated above the Countdown parking and the drive into it is right next to Countdown so don't get confused. Parking is free.
Anyway, getting straight into it;
Even from before you walk into the restaurant, you are greeted with an exotic statue that provides an insight to what's inside. The waiters and waitresses are dressed traditionally, and the walls are full of gorgeous Thai embroidery and art. It makes you feel like you're in a completely different world from the one you stepped in from.The lighting is light and cheery except for a few corners that are slightly dimmer. While there is some background mood music, you have to listen hard to catch it, because it's a fairly lively restaurant. It's the type of restaurant that you can go to for a family dinner, a casual date or a small scale party. Probably not a place you'd want for a romantic date though. On the other hand it can get quite cramped given the layout of the furniture. I mean it's not like there's not enough space to walk around or that you can read the next table's menu, I just feel like I'm a bit boxed up.
I seriously hate when food takes a long time to come out, so I like this place because usually within 20 minutes of ordering the food will be served. The starters are pretty good and I'd probably recommend the Mieng Goong and the money bags. Mieng Goong is a dish that consists of a prawn, some rice noodles, lettuce and a sauce on a spoon. It's recommended to eat it in one bite so you get all the flavours and textures mixed in your mouth in one go. I really like the mix of the tangy sauce, the cool noodles and the fresh crunch of the lettuce. The moneybags seem just like cute spring rolls to me, just with the extra crunchy part on top where the skin has gathered, which is the part I personally love. The spring rolls and chicken satay are also but the spring rolls are nothing fantastic, they're pretty standard. The chicken satay is also quite standard but after having satay in Asia, nothing quite compares anymore. I don't feel like the chicken satay is worth it; there isn't a lot of meat and it's quite bland without the peanut sauce. I recently tried the prawn and pork on toast and I liked it; the pork and prawn combination in a mince form and then fried compactly on crunchy bread is actually good. However, it would probably be something I'd prefer to cook and eat at home rather than buy it.
(spring rolls and satay, Mieng Goong, prawn and pork on toast and money bags respectively)
For mains I've tried the stir fried cashew nuts duck, which is delicious. I love the colour and the mix of vegetables and meat in this stir-fry. The meat is boneless(Thankfully) and soft, and soaked in the sweet sauce. The cashew nuts aren't really my favourite part of the dish because I'm generally not fond of nuts in my food. Despite that, it does, complement the taste of the duck and the vegetables in the dish when eaten together. I find the carrot rose on the side a bit tough to eat because it's quite thick though.
I've also tried the green curry with beef, and while it does taste good(for the few seconds I can taste) I can't handle spice so I can't give you a good review on that, sorry. I've been told by spice-lovers that it's not hot at all though. I can, however, tell you that the beef was a bit overdone and dry in spite of being drowned in curry. It's not as rich as Indian curry and is a little on the bland side, especially when combined with rice which further dulls the taste.
Dessert is usually a stressful affair me while I decide between desserts. The Hot Banana(banana fritters) is pretty good but I personally enjoy The Sunset(Mango sorbet on top of sago and coconut pieces) and East Meets West(sticky rice with traditional Thai custard on top with icecream). The East Meets West dessert has gone down in size since I first enjoyed it years ago(yes you can tell I'm a frequent customer here) but it still tastes great, with enough sweetness and texture to make me love it but not too sweet that it might put off a person who hasn't got a sweet tooth.
The Sunset is a cup filled with sago(tiny glutinous balls that don't have any taste but have a nice feeling to eat. Similar to the pearls you would get in pearl milk tea but on a much smaller scale) and coconut flesh which is slightly crunchy. It's topped with a bright orange-yellow mango sorbet that counters the tastelessness of the sago with its tangy flavour. I do warn you that it's better to share between two if you're full from dinner because it's really filling.
(The Sunset. They ran out of sorbet that day so they replaced it with the icecream of my choice)
In general I find the presentation of this restaurant really sweet. They make edible decorations like carrot flowers(as shown in photos above), or some beautiful arrangement with the fruits that may come with your dessert(not shown in the photos above). Songie thinks the dishes are inconsistent but I personally think it's fine, because the plates that we personally use are the same. The dishes that the food comes out of the kitchen on may differ at times but it's not a vastly different design, it's usually just a plain plate or with a different texture to it, and I don't think they're the sole restaurant to do this.
The service is generally quite good, exception of busy nights when it takes a while for the waiter/waitress to notice you, especially if you are tucked away in a corner. The staff are usually friendly and so is the owner. However, my brother and I have noticed on a number of occasions, that there seems to be a gap in the level of service for certain ethnicities. Occasionally the waitress forgets to put her game face on and doesn't seem to have enthusiasm about serving us(can't think why, we're obviously awesome ;P no, but really I don't think we're hard to deal with) . It may be coincidental but it has happened more than once so it is definitely something we wonder about.
I'd say the prices are fairly reasonable, because of the location of the restaurant, and the food isn't bad. Also, it depends on what you decide to eat. For one person, a general 3 course meal(appetiser, main and dessert) would probably be about $50 max, unless you really eat heaps. Not an entirely minimum-wage-earning-student-friendly restaurant, perhaps more for a family dinner, date or business meeting. It is pretty expensive though considering other Thai places on Remuera, but they are more reputable and better situated.
In conclusion I think it's a good place to go for dinner and while I'm not a fan of all the dishes I am quite partial to the duck and the Mieng Goong. Oh, and the desserts. The presentation is neat and the food is up to standard if not exceptional. I love the décor that makes it feel exotic, and the convenience of free parking. The service may at times be lacking but in general the staff are friendly. The price may cause some to balk but given the location and the setting it's a rather reasonable restaurant. In any case, thank you for reading this review!
For those who want more information, you can go to their website here .
Just the one Lamb(to the slaughter? Just kidding.)