Considering that Thai Peninsula is a two-minute drive from my house, it’s surprising that it’s taken us this long to review it. However, here we are.
While there are eat-in joints in Te Atatu Peninsula, Thai Peninsula is one of the few I would really call a restaurant (although you can eat at the lovely Luscious Food Store some nights of the week). There have been a few attempts and a few failures but Thai Peninsula has stood the test of time.
It’s nothing startling inside but it is a restaurant (compared to some of the formica-tabled fluorescent-lit joints we often frequent for cheap eats reviews). It is clean, has simple décor, white tablecloths, red paper napkins and wine glasses on the table. Not exactly inner city chic but totally functional and with a lovely warm feel to it. I know many people who go once a month, some who go once a week, and every time I’ve been it’s been bustling, full of laughter and people clearly enjoying their night.
They go there because the food is good. Fresh, clean bold flavours, nicely cooked. The service is friendly and it is everything a good local neighbourhood restaurant should be. It deserves to do as well as it does.
We ordered a beef, squid, and chicken dish and were pleased with our choices.The Pad Khing – slices of chicken sautéed with ginger, vegetables and oyster sauce was probably the winner on the night ($18). It had a good flavour hit with the generous amounts of julienned ginger running through it and the textures were exactly how they should be; the chicken tender and the vegetables crunchy but not bordering on raw. Thai chefs seem to have an amazing aptitude for cooking vegetables exactly right. I would gladly eat them every day over my unspectacular weekly repertoire of steamed broccoli, beans and carrots.
The Nua Ka Ta – fried marinated beef served on veggies ($18) and the Garlic Squid ($18.50) both had fabulous flavours of garlic and pepper but were ever-so-slightly overcooked. I’m kind of hesitant to say that, as it actually wasn’t off-putting and we still enjoyed both dishes thoroughly. They were almost right but just felt like they’d stayed a minute or two too long in the wok. I have to wonder whether this was just because it was a busy night with a steady stream of takeout orders as well as a full restaurant.
All up I’m really glad to have a charming restaurant like this down the road (staggering distance from home, no less). The food is great, the staff are lovely and it’s definitely one of the best places to have dinner out west.