WILD ROSE THAI
150 NW Oregon Ave, Bend, Oregon, USA
We arrived … around 7pm, just after our friends who had already secured a table. The restaurant was buzzing, with most tables already full and there was a fun, lively atmosphere. Bend, in Central Oregon's high desert, was below freezing on this early November evening, but inside was warm and cosy.
We chose here because … the other three members of the group had dined here before and recommended it as one of Bend's best restaurants. After my first visit, I was quick to agree.
Our first impression was … the smells coming from the kitchen were tantalising, and the decor had some lovely, thoughtful touches - like a multitude of bunches of dried roses in reds, pinks, peach and white, hanging upside down from the ceiling.
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We started with … cocktails, recommended by the maitre d', Ben. They all had ingredients complementing the Northern Thai menu, such as basil, lemongrass and chilli, and were absolutely delicious.
The highlight was … the hot basil pork - stir-fried ground pork with aromatic basil and chillis, topped with a fried egg. It was super spicy but the flavours were complex and satisfying.
You won't find … pad thai, or any toned-down tourist versions of Thai food. This is menu is inspired by the owners' roots in Prae and their own family recipes.
Dessert was … too much for us to manage.
Come here if … you want a fresh, flavourful meal in a lively atmosphere, or need something to warm you up after a day on the slopes of nearby Mt Bachelor.
The bill … around US$100 (NZ$148) for four people, which covered five dishes, sides of sticky rice, two rounds of drinks, with some food left over to take home in a doggy bag.