Walking up to Kiss Kiss you'd be forgiven for thinking that the building's music shop and drum school were still in operation. Though, instead of a symphony of paradiddles, a soundtrack of inoffensive neo-soul can be heard within a 20-metre radius.
The restaurant is the newest title from the names behind Mt Albert's Chinoiserie and L'Oeuf - home of the 'most Instagramed eggs in Auckland'. The eatery has a focus on northern Thai cuisine, the point of difference from other restaurants in the heaving food neighbourhood being that it operates all day from 7am - 3pm and 5pm til late. By day the menu features inventive dishes like: coconut black sticky rice, Burmese pork belly with baked beans, rum and orange soaked brioche French toast, and a Kaffir lime Bloody Mary. On this occasion we visited during the evening and were impressed by the magnetic atmosphere and the ability to be seated and eating within a very short time frame.
Together with that soundtrack, Kiss Kiss is alluring from the get go; a rose tinted glow envelops the large floor space, scattered with palm fronds, large parasols and communal tables covered with hyper-colour floral covers. The shared space element is key to the restaurant's relaxed vibe, it also encourages friendly banter between diners and provokes immediate food envy.
The cocktail menu is a nostalgia trip and acts as a good entry point into conversation with your neighbours. It comes on your own personal Viewfinder, requiring the utmost focus and keen eyesight to navigate. While novel, the idea is something that wouldn't be out of place on a Buzzfeed hipster listicle. The display of the food menu is more conventional. Mains are all generously priced at $16 and come separated in two sections - Rice | Noodles.
The Phat Thai Thamadaa is what you'd recognise as pad thai, with thin noodles joined by crushed peanuts, egg, tofu, bean sprouts and shrimp - minus the sheen of grease you'd normally encounter at a takeaway joint. The Larb Kua Moo is a fragrant dish with spicy minced pork and a good dose of lime and coriander. It comes served with a parcel of sticky rice and the kick of spice is a great pairing with the light, fruity flavours of the house lemongrass and lychee lager, made in collaboration with Brothers Beer. The menu also boasts starters like spicy peanuts and pork crackling from the generous entry point of $5 and salads from $10; it must also be one of the only menus in town that offers a whole fried snapper under $25. Service is extremely quick, and the food will arrive before you've figured out what to do with that cocktail menu.
Much like the surrounding eateries in the Dominion Rd area, Kiss Kiss is a comfortable place to eat that warrants multiple returns. Nine out of 10 kisses.