Awarded by Aucklander Samantha Cheah
To me, it's criminal that more people don't know about this restaurant. I've been going for over 20 years, and sometimes wonder why. Everyone recognises the giant elephant outside (formerly gold, now red, temporarily an All Black during the RWC), but few have ventured inside. Is it the neighbouring motorway on-ramp? The juxtaposition of the elegant interior against Mt. Eden prison just behind? It definitely isn't because the food isn't up to scratch, as it consistently lives up to even my childhood memories, prone to exaggeration.
While I have many favourites here, the standout is definitely the flaming chicken with Thai herbs. It's spectacular fiery entrance that had me worried for the servers (and myself) as a child, is no less of a show now that I'm an adult. The tender, flavoursome meat, and savoury-sweet skin will have everyone wanting seconds, and picking at the bones!