Auckland: Bolaven

Asian fusion can be a hit or miss, so despite wanting to try Bolaven for a while now, I was sceptical whether the food will be up to par. My dining companions and I came in on a chilly weeknight and was pleased to see a busy dining room, which could only mean that it’s popular! We came in without a booking, so we took the last available unbooked seats at the large communal table.

The menu leans toward Laotian fusion and incorporates plenty of Asian spices and ingredients such as lemon grass, sticky rice, anise, glass noodles and jaew dipping sauce. We all wanted to try the beef pho but because it was not designed for sharing, we each ordered one with other smaller dishes to share amongst ourselves.

The anise broth on the pho was good and I like how we could personalise the flavours by adding our own condiments. I added in a pinch of chilli with plenty of fried garlic and peanuts. The portion was on the small size, but it gave us room to keep on eating.

The roast duck and mushroom spring rolls was average. Not enough duck filling inside but the soured hoisin dipping sauce with the filling was a good pairing. The crispy tofu with shiitake mushroom came fresh from the fryer. This kept the skin crispy while the inside stayed moist. My favourite part was the enoki crisp. I adore enoki mushrooms with their long slender appearance and eating it in a form of a crisp is new to me!

Overall, it was a nice dining experience at Bolaven. We were very impressed with the fit out. The cane basket light fixture, jars of spice on a large shelf by the kitchen and the open white washed brick walls in a dim room generates a cosy modern vibe and we ended up staying there till they were about to close up. Service was attentive and friendly and the food steadily came out from the kitchen and we were surrounded by happy diners.

Look forward to trying their lunch!

Bolaven | 597 Mount Eden Road, Mt Eden

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