On a rare night without kids we headed into Ponsonby for a drink and a quick bite to eat. The menu at East looked good and we were starving so we went with that.

We were really pleased with our choice overall, despite one minor disappointment. We ordered the Thai Fish cake ($4.90) and the Duck Wrap ($6.90) as starters and the Indo Chine curry ($15.50) and the Calamari Salad ($14.50) as mains. This came to a total of $41.80 – excellent value for two courses each!

Everything was great except for the calamari salad. The fish-cakes (not home made I suspect, but really tasty all the same) came flat on two skewers – two each skewer – and were lightly dipped either side in sweet chilli sauce and coated with crushed peanuts. It was the perfect savoury, crunchy, sweet, spicy bite. The duck wrap was also very good. It was a rice wrapper but not as wet as the Vietnamese spring roll ones and it came loaded to the brim with lettuce, carrots, coriander, cabbage, duck and hoisin sauce. Hoisin can be overpowering if people are heavy-handed with it but this was perfectly balanced against the richness of the duck and freshness of the raw vegetables.

The Indo Chine Curry was the winner of the night. Perfectly cooked soft chicken, brocolli, carrots and bamboo shoots in a kaffir lime coriander coconut cream curry served on rice. As the name suggests, this was pretty typical of a Vietnamese curry in that it was more delicate and fragrant than other nationalities’ versions. The veggies were perfectly crunchy and you could smell the kaffir lime, the perfect freshener to the coconut cream.

The salad part of the Calamari salad was also excellent. Super-fresh lettuce, coriander,  tomato, cucumber, red onion and crispy noodles in a fabulously bold tangy/sweet/sour/spicy asian dressing. I consumed every last leaf. Unfortunately I wasn’t a huge fan of the calamari itself which had been marinated too long in I’m-not-sure-what and was a bit soggy and odd-tasting. I would love to have that salad again with the chicken, Hong Kong beef or smoked fish as the topping.

East was the perfect warming meal on a cold Thursday night. They also deliver and I can imagine my joy at having that turn up on my doorstep when I didn’t feel like leaving home. Go and try it out for yourself. www.east.co.nz

Order online from East


Location: 171d Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland
Phone: (09) 360 6085
Hours: Mon – Sat 11am – 3pm (lunch) Mon – Sun 4pm – 10pm (dinner)
Prices:  Sides $2.90 – $4.90, Tapas $6.90- $7.90, Salads $13.50 – $16.50, Grill $14.50 – $15.50, Mains $13.50 – $16.50 (lunch special $9.90 on selected dishes)
Credit Cards: Yes
Suitable for Vegetarians: Yes
Takeaways: Yes, and delivery
Bathrooms:  Passable, just. It appears to double as a storage area?
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes, but tight around tables. Footpath seating available.
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