1st Floor, Bay Centre Building, 69 Beach St
Telephone 03 441 8381
Last evening we headed down to Beach Street, hungry and fully expecting to enjoy some pleasant run-of-the-mill Thai food at My Thai Lounge. Instead, we were pleasantly surprised on arrival to discover that this little gem of an establishment has a full vegetarian menu running alongside their regular menu.
Tucked away up a flight of stairs and just opposite Steamer Wharf, attractive décor, friendly staff and absolutely terrific food means that this place really does offer the complete dining experience. It was super-exciting to be presented with so many choices, all sounding equally appealing, and only a few containing egg, meaning that there is also a good selection for vegan diners like myself.
Hubby and I decided to share, which gave us the opportunity to try a couple more dishes. For starters we ordered the Summer Rolls, rice paper rolls with tempeh, cucumber, carrot, and lettuce with tamarind (or sweet chilli) sauce, and the Fried Cauliflower with Thai chilli salsa. The rolls were fresh and tasty, and the bite sized piece of tempeh in the middle were delicious. The cauliflower, although described as deep fried, was light and tasty, no thick heavy batter, just a few crispy bits here and there – it tasted and looked like, well, cauliflower actually, which was a nice surprise in itself. It was a little embarrassing just how quickly we managed to put away those two dishes, which were quickly removed and replaced with lovely warm plates for our eagerly anticipated mains.
Green Papaya Salad and Hot Spicy Tempeh arrived in next to no time. I’ve enjoyed papaya salad before and this version did not disappoint. A lively combination of green papaya, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrot and cashew nuts tossed in a spicy dressing danced on the palate. The only suggestion for improvement would be that perhaps a touch less of the dressing would have done the job quite nicely, and made for a slightly dryer version of the salad, but that’s just my opinion. The Hot & Spicy Tempeh comprised of wok-fried organic tempeh combined with shitake mushrooms, iceberg, chilli, garlic and basil in a spicy sauce. This dish was a triumph, perfectly accompanied by fluffy steamed rice, and of course, the papaya salad. The whole meal was a taste explosion.
We didn’t have room for a dessert so did not consider the choices, but I’d like to think that there would have been at least one choice that vegans could have indulged in, to end such a satisfying dining experience on an even sweeter note. A nice touch you don’t see often these days was a hot towel presented at the end of the meal, simple, but appreciated, especially after a meal that really was finger-licking good. My Thai Lounge wasn’t busy last night when we dined, but it should be, as it’s the best Thai restaurant I’ve been to in quite some time.
So, next time you’re in Queenstown, head down Beach Street and try out My Thai Lounge for yourself. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience as much as we did: comfy chairs, a view to the lake, quietly tucked away just above the street, and a fantastic menu of choices for vegetarians and vegans alike. And that’s quite a rarity in a town that obviously sets out to cater for carnivores ahead of all others. CARRIE STEELE