Ponsonby doesn't give up a parking spot easily, but for a place like Moochowchow it's worth the wade through by-streets and uncomfortable parallel parks for this Thai gem set in a sweet olden house. Arriving not-quite-on-time I was struck by possibly the only flaw in this house of culinary goodness - their entry door is impossible to figure out. You'd expect it to be the wee door that looks like the converted house's original entry (pictured), but it's not. Take a turn around the right corner and fiddle with something that looks like a giant window, and it'll open. That's your entry.
The atmosphere of Moochowchow is incredible, dimly lit and cosy, while still carrying an ultra modern vibe. After being ushered to a table, we started our night with a few cocktails. Both being spice lovers, my date and I zoned in on the Devil's Advocate ($15), a silver rum, cointreau, lime, raspberry and chilli mixture, which tasted like what I would imagine drinkable fireworks would - tingly and magical. But mind, it's a drink only for the highly spice-tolerant. Next up I tried a cheeky Black Ricky Martin ($15) hot brandy-based cocktail, which was served and brewed in a teapot. Unfortunately I think I got a bit of over-zealous to try it too early and ended up with a very weakly brewed mixture. My partner tried the Cock-a-Doodle-Do ($15) a Campari cocktail which had a really nice fruity but quite sour tone, definitely not one for the sugary RTD drinking kids out there. Ricky Martin and Cock-a-Doodle are both tasty cocktails but the Devil's Advocate is just on a completely different level, which meant that anything post-Advocate paled in comparison.
Satisfied at our progress through the drinks menu, we moved onto ordering some nibbles. The way Moochowchow serves its food is quite different, and part of the place's charm. Instead of regular and individual three course meals, the dishes are served intermittently, individually and unordered. It's perfect restaurant to come to if you like sharing between the group, so order accordingly.
In one sitting at Moochowchow we were showered with a Thai medley of tastes. The favourite of the night was the Jasmine-smoked crispy-fried salmon ($24) which came with mint, crispy shallots and galangal dressing. All the textures and flavours were in perfect harmony. Another good choice was the picked bean sprouts, wild ginger, cucumber and coconut salad ($12), which extremely fresh and extremely zesty. We also tried the smoked tofu red curry with wild ginger, green papaya and cashews ($26) and my partner had the spoonful of caramelised pork and prawn with sour pineapples and peanuts ($6), another good choice I was told.
Although our stomach had been well and truly rounded out, when it came to the dessert menu we couldn't look past the rich chocolate and szechuan peppercorn mousse with salted caramel and honeycomb ($12) or the coconut and sesame fried banana with caramel and a coconut ice cream ($12). Don't be afraid of the peppercorn in the mouse, it really is delightful. Neither of us could actually pick out the specific peppery flavour, but did do something, because that mousse was one of the best I've ever had. The fried banana dessert dish was a really well thought-out dish, with a nice balance between hot and cold, crunchy and soft, and a really fresh way to end the night.
Moochowchow has a fantastic buzz about it, with extremely friendly and well-trained staff, amazing modern Thai delicacies, and a great atmosphere which makes it a favourite on the Ponsonby scene as well as in my books.