Let’s be real, Thailand sits up there on most of our travel bucket lists. We crave the beaches, the culture and the downright delicious food—noodly dishes, fragrant curries and fresh salads all day, erryday. Lucky for us travel-lusting foodies, Kiss Kiss in Balmoral is churning out Thai cuisine at its finest.
From the same crew who brought us L’eouf and bao haven, Chinoiserie, Kiss Kiss is all about Northern Thai cuisine and they do it well. The space itself is huge, styled like a bustling dining hall you’d find in Chiang Mai with pink walls, neon lights, umbrellas and funky communal tables. Groups cram onto the benches alongside couples and families looking to treat their taste buds with a trip to Thailand.
We were one of those groups on a recent Friday evening. Rocking up at 5pm with cocktails and noodles in mind, we were delighted to discover that the cocktail menu lived inside old school View-Masters—a much-welcomed childhood throwback. We ordered a couple of concoctions to try (they even have bucket cocktails!), because #Friyay. We also ordered their pork crackling, Northern Thai sausage and spicy peanuts to start. The crackling was cracking and the peanuts hit the perfect balance between sweet, salty and spicy.
With our thirst quenched and bellies lightly lined, it was time to get down and dirty with the larger dishes. Everything at Kiss Kiss can be shared and, to prevent food envy, we suggest you do just that. On the noodle front, we got amongst the Phat Thai Thamadaa with chicken and prawn (Pad Thai) and Phad Si Ew—although we’ve heard the Kao Soi Kai curry noodle soup is also pretty rad. The Pad Thai was loaded with plenty of peanuts, chicken, prawn and the right amount of tamarind while the Phad Si Ew tasted just like Thailand.
We also grabbed the Northern pork belly curry and added a fresh element with a Isaan pulled beef vermicelli salad. Being pork-belly obsessed, we were pleased to see plenty of tender pork belly bites swimming in a rich, gravy-esque sauce, which we cleaned up with fluffy jasmine rice. The beef salad nailed the whole zingy salad thing and didn’t skimp on the beef.
Kiss Kiss also offer the Thai classics of Tom Yum Gai soup, Som Tom salad and pork larb but we did the sensible thing and saved room for dessert. Two humongous long doughnuts landed on our table with bright green pandan custard. We took a compulsory ‘gram and dug in. There’s something oddly satisfying about tackling dessert with your hands and the hot-from-the-fryer doughnuts were spot-on for dipping into the sweet custard.
Excessively full but totally satisfied, we walked out raving about how lucky Auckland is to have Kiss Kiss. Not only do they cater to our Thai-food cravings, they serve a tasty daytime menu—think black sticky rice, rum and orange French toast and smoked fish cakes—all of which we’ll be back to try ASAP. Kiss Kiss, you’re on to something very, VERY good.
Want to know the location, opening hours and all the deets? Find Kiss Kiss in the Directory.
Image credit: Andrew Wilson, Nastaha van der Laan and Emily Powell