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@Thai Restaurant (Queenstown, New Zealand)

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Address: Level 3 / Air NZ Building / Church Street / Queenstown / New Zealand / Tel: (03) 442 3683

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      23.02.2010 09:56
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      Finally something good to say about Queenstown

      INTRODUCTION In our somewhat disastrous trip in Queenstown, myself and Ms Larsbaby did manage to catch a few decent places to eat. Thanks to the Lonely Planet, this place was first on our itinerary. @THAI The restaurant in located just off the main street in Queenstown The Mall, and has to be sought out as it shares the building with an Air New Zealand office, just up the road from several bars. It can be found up a flight of stairs. As you walk in a bar is straight ahead to the right of the room. The restaurant has a lot of tables quite close together, although leaving enough room between each for privacy. Around the edges of the room by the windows are tables for 2. Moving towards the middle are table for 4-6. There seemed to be room for about 50 people at a push. Each wooden table has "@Thai" etched in gold at its corners, which is a nice touch. These tables are accompanied by wooden chairs with white seats, on a greeny-blue carpet, against the cream walls. In the top left corner of the room is a picture of the Thai king, as seems the norm in Thai restaurants everywhere. Thai music played in the background, creating a nice ambience. We arrived at about 7.30pm on a Monday without booking, and the place soon filled up so clearly it's a popular place. We were handed huge menus to peruse. This was huge as in physically, though there was a fair choice of dishes available too. Starters such as prawn rolls, coconut prawns, vegetarian spring rolls, fried tofu and chicken satay were available. Mains included tom yum New Zealand lobster, spicy Thai beef salad, roasted duck curry, red beef curry, peanut sauce chicken, ginger beef, venison with pepper corns, lemon fish and garlic squid. They also sold pies such as curry and chicken. I like the idea of a Thai curry pie, sounds great! THE MEAL To drink, I plumped for the New Zealand Steinlager, which was nice. Ms Larsbaby had a very fresh apple juice. A bottle of tap water was also brought to the table, as seems to be the pleasing norm over there. For starters, we shared some curry puff chicken rolls and homemade Thai fish cakes. The chicken rolls were small dumplings, the same shape as little Cornish pasties, crimped at the edges. They had a potato and mild chicken curry filling which was delicious. The pastry was quite flaky but soft; the whole thing was deliciously moreish. A sweet chilli dip with shredded cabbage was served on the same dish as an accompaniment. The fishcakes had lots of spring onion in them, and were chunky and round. These were also nice. They had a quite mild taste compared to what I'm used to in the UK. These were served with a sweet chilli dip and wanton like strips of fried pastry. As a main I ordered yellow chicken curry with kumera. Kumera is a New Zealand vegetable similar to sweet potato in look and taste. There was lots of this in the dish, and I found it in fact to be nicer than sweet potato owing to its more savoury taste. The curry was a thick, yellow-green concoction, thickened by the coconut milk, quite mild in comparison with the norm. The chicken was also nice. Ms Larsbaby went for Mas-sa-marn Lamb, which is described as "120g Tender lamb cooked in home made Thai curry with potatoes, cherry tomato, tamarind flavour". The lamb was fabulous; a rich taste with melt in the mouth texture, flaking when cut. Large chunks of new potatoes, cherry tomato sans sliced red pepper were mixed into the rich, brown sauce. A smudge of coconut cream remained unmixed on top of the sauce with the meat, which I thought was interesting as you could see how rich it was. Again this was a mild dish. Both dishes were served in deep bowls and were decently large servings. Served with both dishes was jasmine rice, presented in a quite unusual and inspired fashion. Served on a flower shaped plate, the rice was arranged into the shape of a person, and as it was quite sticky it more or less kept the shape. CONCLUSION I usually prefer Thai food a little hotter than was available here, although perhaps yellow curry is supposed to be mild anywhere. However, this was excellent Thai food, with plenty of taste without the heat. At $67 (about £33) for a 2 course meal with drinks, this was pretty decent value for money. CONTACT DETAILS @Thai, Level 3/Air NZ Building, Church Street, Queenstown, New Zealand. Tel : (03) 442 3683 Email : atthai@atthai.co.nz Website : http://www.atthai.co.nz/

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