Dumpling Club’s stalking of ethnic restaurants on Dominion Road and surrounds has turned up another winner, this time a new eatery within mere minutes from our office, at the intersection of Mt Albert and New North Roads. Peach Garden menu spans food across the western regions of China. The restaurant is dressed in hot pink peach blossoms, which seems a bit at odds with the traditionally-inspired furniture.
The cheerful waitress is happy to help you through the extensive menu. She took one look at my very European colleagues and suggested some dishes, which are ‘popular with Kiwis’. We managed to convince her we were here to try dishes popular with her Chinese clientele. I cannot comment on how authentic the food is as I have never been to that region of China, however, I can vouch that the food is very tasty and unique, to my Malaysian (Southern) Chinese palate.
Being a wimp when it comes to chillies, I was pleasantly surprised that while the dishes do have a kick, it is not overwhelming. As with most Chinese eateries, the servings are generous, and you should be prepared to leave with some very tasty leftovers.
At my first visit, we had the stir-fried homemade tofu in hot sauce ($10) that came with pieces of pak choy, wood-ear fungus, carrot and bamboo. This had a slight sour tang, which balanced the heat of the chilli.
The eggplant noodle with shredded pork ($8.80) is moreish, with its rich savoury gravy.
My second visit, I brought along more colleagues so we could sample a more diverse range of dishes. Beef cooked Xinjiang style ($15.80) is one of Peach Garden’s hot plate dishes, and comes sizzling to the table. The beef is tender, and the aromatics lend a great freshness to the dish.
Beans with braised pork ($13.80) had meltingly tender pork belly which balanced the slight crunch of beans.
Mapo tofu ($10) was rich and flavoursome, delivering the warm, complex spicy flavours. The versions of mapo tofu I had growing up had more mince and less gravy, but this is no less delicious.
To round off the feast, we had a gravy noodles with tomato and egg ($8.80). Simple, fresh and bursting with flavour.
I never did find out what some of the more esoteric offal dishes were or how a yellow croaker fish taste; I wasn’t able to convince my colleagues to give them a go. With around 200 dishes on the menu, there are many reasons to return.
Peach Garden Restaurant (BYO)
895-897 New North Road, Mt Albert, Auckland
Ph: 09 – 849 2886