Asian fusion was a bit of a late nineties early noughties phenomenon and has all but vanished from the restaurant scene in favour of authentic Asian cuisine but a couple of stalwarts in the Capital have managed to keep the fusion buzz as popular as ever. Chow on Tory Street has become something of a Wellington icon and a ‘must do’ for visitors; those craving a marginally quieter environment might try the Woodward Street restaurant – it’s the same food but tends to be a little more sedate, during the week at least.
The service – from pre-dominantly very young wait staff – can be a bit surly at times but don’t let it put you off; the food is excellent. I usually opt for a tapas style mixture of various smaller dishes but the big mains always look very appetising. Most of the food is traditional South East Asian fare prepared in a modern way; the Nelson scallops in rice paper, banana leaf-wrapped Terakihi and coconut prawn dumplings were three mouth-watering examples. There’s so much on the menu that sounds so good that it can be a challenge to choose. Luckily both restaurants have humming bars so you can drink a local beer, or something more exotic, while you wait.
Dining at Chow is as much about socialising as it is about the food so don’t be surprised if the music’s loud and you have to yell to be heard on a weekend night; but don’t be put off either. It’s brash, it’s fun, it’s loud but most of all it’s delicious.
5 May 2010