You know that feeling when you reach into an old coat pocket you haven't worn in a while and find a 10er? It was an equal feeling of satisfaction after having ventured into the known but still largely unknown suburb of Otahuhu, and down a winding pathway which lead us deep into a magical and tropical Thai setting. Welcome to the Secret Thai Garden.
The place really is a pleasant surprise. Earlier we were standing on Station Road, a bypass for the bakery hunting pie craving trucker, but now the outside world is all a blur as we seat ourselves in the heart of a traditional Thai garden, which seems perfect for anything from birthday celebrations to a place for a quiet dinner for two.
If you're looking for some bang for your buck, you won't need to look past the traditional set menu. Mixed starters include chicken thighs, spring rolls, fish cakes and thai toast. The hot and sour chicken soup known as the Tom Yum Gai provides a sooner than expected highlight to the night.
The main dishes followed swiftly afterwards, with Pad Thai with tofu, bok choy and a yellow chicken curry a reliable treat for to the thai-loving Kiwi diner. Another highlight was definitely the stir-fried prawns with vegetables and cashew nuts. We had fresh fruit for dessert and after only $35 later, we were well satisfied with our night.
If you do find yourself somewhat further down the southern motorway than usual, this Otahuhu secret is an authentic dining experience well worth the visit.