- Tues – Sun 12 noon – late
- Price Range: Moderate, $15 - $25
- Good For Groups: Yes
- Takes Reservations: Yes
- Outdoor Seating: Yes
- Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Mekong Baby is a new modern Southeast Asian fusion restaurant in the heart of Ponsonby and it’s a modern take on Indochina.
The lavish interior of Mekong Baby Eating House & Bar has been styled on Hoi An, a historic French colonial port village in Vietnam, with several different and intimate spaces that create individual experiences for diners. There is the Opium Room with a fireplace and velvet upholstered banquettes, another area called Ms M, plus a function area upstairs seating 30 quests.
38 Reviews for Mekong Baby
The menu is set out as: Small beginnings (suggesting that you share and enjoy these first) then: Something bigger followed by Happy endings. Not so! We were surprised when ALL our food arrived within 10 minutes! Since when does the kitchen control the dining experience as was the excuse given to us (and to other reviewers I note). We love the sharing element and have loved our social eating experiences in Vietnam and South East Asia but it only works with care and attention to the guests. Most of the staff seemed pretty competent so perhaps less rush and more love then you might be onto something great and long lasting. Worth a mention is when my husband told the girl on the till that the service style had spoiled the experience, she said “how lovely.” That illustrates my point that you are just not listening!
We ordered the coriander and chili ribs, which lacked a bit of flavour however, they were so tender! Our main to share was the Goat Curry. Seems that Lady Luck was with us again, as it was fantastic! Simply melt in your mouth meat in a flavoursome gravy. OMG BIG TIME!
My cocktails were tasty, spiced lychee and miss Saigon. Seems like a very trendy place for drinks.
Safe to say that we will be back for the goat curry!
Visited January 2014
The food however, was a different story. For a restaurant that portrays itself as fine dining in Asian cuisine, it was anything but. We ordered the pork belly first to share, for $28. It was nice, but nothing special. The meat wasn’t the best quality, and there were only five small-ish pieces making it hard to recommend.
The red curry we ordered second. We couldn’t even finish the meal, only making it halfway through before asking the waitress to pass our comments on to the chef. The curry sauce was so over salted it was inedible, while the meat was fatty and tasteless, and added nothing to the dish.
The waitress returned the dish to the chef, with our expectation being that something had run amok in the kitchen. The chef believed it to be fine. A sad reflection of the food quality.
I never expected a discount, or even a replacement dish. This is also the first time I have ever posted a review of a restaurant. I will not be going back, for $30 a main you can find a lot, lot better.
Visited December 2013
The service was haphazard at best and rude at worst. The food was average with everything tasting the same after about the 3rd dish……… Chilli with a side serve of chilli! Does the chef not know any other flavour?
We ordered the $60 pp banquet for 8 only to be told we couldn’t select from the menu and the chef would decide what was served.
I will commit this restaurants name to memory and ensure that I never set foot in here again!
Sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed an assortment of Wok Fried Squid, Papaya salad and Pork Belly with lovely Brown Basmati rice. Everything was delicious – the Pork Belly “to die for”. Each dish was accompanied with a delightful sauce. The combinations were perfect. Staff extremely helpful and attentive – suggesting we start with a couple of dishes and if still hungry can order more. Finished with a delicious “Happy Ending” of Lime-Papaya Meringue Pie.
Definitely want to return soon to try other dishes and some of the cocktails which sounded exciting.
A definite must to try when in Auckland.
Visited November 2013
The food wasn’t bad, nothing to write home about though.
We were reminded at every opportunity that we needed to leave by 8.15pm, even though we had not finished our drinks.
If you are after excellent food and a good chat with friends or family avoid Mekong Baby like the plague.
If however you would like to be rushed through your meal and treated by the wait staff as an inconvenience, this restaurant is right up your ally.
We will not be returning.
The second visit, yesterday, a business lunch. Staff realised we were working and didn’t intrude other than to take orders, bring our orders and let us get on with it quietly.
Yum we got the work completed over prawn cakes -again!
Wagyu beef and Lemongrass, Crisp Rice Flour Crepe with tempeh, mushrooms and chilli jam. I realised this time just how substantial the portions are at Mekong Baby, it’s a great feed.
In summary a perfect spot for a night of fun and celebration, and also a quiet business lunch, well fed and watered on both occasions.
Then I saw staff talking among themselves, rolling their eyes, pulling funny faces and talking about the customers they were serving. Unacceptably rude!! And the fact that the restaurant was so busy and they took their time to catch away….
Food- I had better! All of 8 different dishes we had, only one was great. The others were so average…
I had two cocktails, and they tasted like juice… Very disappointing.
Will never return!
However, my meal of Lamb Shoulder of which I was really looking forward to, never arrived. As the meals all come out at different times, I just assumed it would be coming and initially didn’t want to cause a fuss. My side salad of Iceberg Lettuce hearts arrived so I picked away at that waiting for my meal to arrive. When everyone else had nearly finished their meal, I asked the waiter if mine was coming. He looked confused, came back from the kitchen and said that it hadn’t been cooked but it was definitely coming now. There was no apology. 30 minutes later it still hadn’t arrived. I asked another waiter about my meal. He seemed shocked and very apologetic. He said he would do his best to find out what was going on. He never came back. The first waiter came back 20 minutes later and informed me that the kitchen had cooked my meal and it had been taken out. But I’d never seen it. I expressed my disappointment and dismay. He came back from the kitchen again and finally told me that it the meal was not coming. The waiter still did not apologise and took no responsibility. It was now 10.45pm so it was a bit late to order a new meal. My table was almost ready to leave!
On paying, I asked to speak to the manager. I informed him of what had happened. He briefly said sorry and let us have one drink off our bill…but only because my partner asked.
All of this was made so much worse due to the fact that I’m 5 months pregnant and by 11pm all I’d had to eat was a lettuce salad!
My Mekong Baby experience was a sorry letdown.
I ended the night, satisfying my hunger at Burger Fuel.
Visited August 2013
On phoning to make a reservation we were informed that Mekong Baby operates a two sittings per night policy and we were given the choice of arriving at 6 pm or 8.30. 8.30 is later than we care to dine on a week night. 6 pm is too early given the need to navigate the rush hour traffic and search for parking (very difficult) in Ponsonby. A reservation time of 7 pm was agreed with the person on the phone who made it clear that we would need to vacate our table at 8.30 and we would be welcome to arrive early. Keeping this in mind we managed to arrive at around 6.30 pm.
Upon announcing ourselves to the maître d we were reminded of the requirement to leave at 8.30. The waitperson who attended our table reminded us of this also and continued to mention it at every opportunity during our time there. This message was repeated at every interaction with staff. We lost count of the number of times we were told when we had to leave and, during the evening (if you could call it that) the departure time was advanced, firstly becoming 8.15 and then, at 8.10 we were told our time was up and the bill was plonked on the table. We hadn’t finished our drinks and were told that we were welcome to take them to the bar but they needed the table, thank you!
I deplore restaurants where the diner is left dangling through slow service. No problems here with Mekong Baby. The service was pleasant, efficient and lightening fast. Our first courses arrived within 5 minutes of placing the order and dishes were removed while we were still eating. As we queued at the cash register to pay we noticed three other empty tables in the dining area we were in and no-one appeared to be waiting for them, or arriving. Curious!
The cash register space is squeezed between a table and the counter and wait staff were constantly Morepushing past us. There is a way of saying ‘excuse me’ that really means, ‘get out of my way’. By walking an extra two or three paces they could have walked around the table and avoided the crush.
We enjoyed the food and the décor was modern and stylish (but with no reference to Asia). We were not given an opportunity to have desert.
We are regular restaurant attendees and not naïve. We understand that a restaurant table is a revenue generation centre and they do not make money by having people linger over a glass of water. There are subtle ways of moving patrons on. There is nothing subtle about Mekong Baby. From the time we arrived we felt rushed and uncomfortable. The insistence on timekeeping and repeated reminders became unpleasant and we felt unwelcome. We did spend $200 in an hour and a half! I think Mekong Baby needs to understand that there is more to running a successful restaurant than the food and décor. There is a reason it is called the Hospitality Industry. In Auckland’s highly competitive dining scene there are many restaurants where this is well understood. The Mekong Baby experience is one we won’t be repeating.
We took ourselves elsewhere and spent another $100 on deserts and drinks. Mekong Baby could have had this revenue if they had tolerated us just a little longer.
We had Kingfish Sashimi which had the most amazing sauces drizzled on top; hot & sour; deliscious. Then we had the Lamb Ribs which were so unique in that they had their bone in at the end of the rib but otherwise the meat was completely off the bone and encased & crumbed & came with a spicy dipping sauce; melt in your mouth; devine! Following this we had the Goat Curry which was sublime; lightly spiced but the most amazing curry sauce. We didn’t drink any alcohol as she had to go back to work but all 3 dishes were so memorable; I can’t wait to go back and try some other dishes. Only problem with this place is it is very hard to get through to the restaurant by phone to make a booking!
Was great value for money, we couldn’t believe how many dishes we got and there was plenty for everyone! great way to try lots of different things.
Betel leaves and quail eggs were both yummy, squid was fantastic. Kingfish was delicious.
Papaya salad was yummy, but spicy and nothing exciting. Pretty plain, wouldn’t order again and would have been great if it had come out with the pork.
Table all declared the Pork Belly as the best pork they’ve ever eaten. Was delish!
Fire chicken was just that “fire” and over half the table were unable to eat it so odd choice to give a table. Those who liked the heat enjoyed it but also said it was far to spicy and would have preferred something else.
The green curry was nice but needed more flavouring, the sauce was slightly watery. Have had better curries in Thai restaurants.
Service was some of the best I’ve experienced, nothing was too much trouble and wait staff were able to answer all our questions for the kitchen.
Drinks are pricey, $10 beers is steep. Over all it was a great night, keen to go back and try the cocktails and have pork again!
Visited July 2013
Superb food, beautifully displayed, a wonder to eat.
Superb service, probably even better than that, from the highest to the lowest, nothing too much trouble.
Great ambiance and warmth, would go again in a flash.
The food was excellent, including a fantastic green papaya salad with peanuts and prawn floss, a beautiful goat and coconut curry and spicy lamb ribs. The servings are quite generous so we couldn’t do justice to the menu. I want to go back to try the slow cooked lamb shoulder and the prawn, pork and mango salad.
I wasn’t keen on the fire chicken, it seemed one dimensional to me, but my companions liked it.
Dined last night this was superb
Great Service , although a little glitch to start with
Wine prices at realistic pricing levels
Dined on Vietnamese Roll, starter a superb fresh spring roll filled with crisp veggies and marinated chicken great dipping sauce
Main was Spicy Chicken which on staff members recommendation was very spicy, the chicken strips were not spicy but the salad with its Asian dressing was too die for , hot and spicy , could have eaten it all night magnificent fusion
Dessert on staff recommendation was sago pudding , again superb served cold with little toppings and ice cream
All in all excellent
We thought we would give it a whirl as it was once upon a time not so long ago our regular haunt – GPK. But owner Dom has completely reinvented this restaurant, hired mostly new staff, but kept his star chef Ben and the result is stunning.
The décor, staff and ambience are all fabulous. But there’s no doubt who the real star is …… the food. It’s just divine. Mind you the cocktails are pretty amazing too I had Rum Sun it was smooth – best cocktail I’ve had in years.
Dishes come out as they’re ready and are generally shared and its all the more exciting for it. You get to taste a wide range of delicious dishes. Asian fusion from along the Mekong River – the menu combined a variety of exotic styles including curries, divine roti, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Cambodian dishes (and probably more)
We had the pork belly – absolutely to die for. Goat curry WOW so tasty, lamb dish – very tender super yummy and beef along with prawns, and Vietnamese rolls (all fabulous) and not nearly enough roti (order double it’s so tasty).
It was a Tuesday night when we went and it was packed and deservedly so. But we got a table straight away.
The powder room is quite something too by the way ladies.
We’ve recently eaten at Jervois Steak House, Cibos, Industry Zen, Euro and would have to say we enjoyed our dinner here the most by far. But we paid a good deal less.
The prices are reasonable – hopefully they’ll stay that way and we can eat here often. Mekong Baby is quite sensational – we’ll be back.
A great concept, different flavours and dished from along the Mekong River. Food was excellent, and variety very good. Large servings and, if you are a fan of spicy, you wont be disappointed. Impressed enough to re-book for a 5 person client luncheon. Recommended