Phone: (09) 630 3828
We spent: $155 for two
Rating: 13 - Good
Comedians make me nervous. I'm always scared I won't get the joke and my po-face will ruin somebody else's idea of absolutely hilarious.
At Wu & You, the chopstick wrapper is labelled: "Rice dropping device. They invented many things to eat rice with — these two sticks won."
Maybe this is a side-splitting and subversive commentary on cultural appropriation. Maybe it is as racist as f***. Mull it over while you filter the made-for-Insta (but not eating) octopus doughuts.
My spellcheck wants to change that to "donut" but I'm holding out for the full complement of vowels and consonants to properly describe these deep-fried doughy balls of stodge ($12, but I would have paid more if I had found any octopus).
Anyway, back to that HILARIOUS menu. It lists cocktails as Cocky T's. Go on, say it out loud. Oh how we laughed.
In all seriousness, the drinks are brilliant. I have multiple misgivings about Wu & You but the bar staff's ability to mix vodka, tomato juice, sesame oil, spice and seaweed is not one of them. The Bloody Dragon ($16) was fiery and well-balanced and came with a personal visit from the bar to check if we'd like more heat.
They followed that with a Jackie Chan ($16) in which gin, grapefruit juice, honey and lemon conspired to create a drink that was one-part throat soother, three-parts delicious. You sip it through a matcha and apple foam that might be the best use of matcha in the city.
So the drinks are spectacular — but here's the thing. It doesn't matter what I write about this place, the crowds will come. Mt Eden village's well-dressed, apartment-dwelling catchment was out in force when we visited. The fit-out is fantastic — all neon-pink and street-art blue — with a lovely courtyard out back and tables big enough to cope with a shared Asian-fusion menu. Still not convinced? The fries are made from battered sushi rice.
We didn't order a Mr Krab's nori taco, but it is, according to the menu, "100% EPIC" (emphasis menu's own). I saw a gazillion of them sail past and if you know any 25-year-old young professionals with a social media account, you could probably ask to see one they posted earlier.
Wu & You has perfected the art of artful deep-frying. That crab and seaweed taco is a stunning, leggy number, bubbly with batter. They do a fried bao dessert and pork crackling by the bowlful but you can have too much of a crunchy, fatty good thing — and we'd already scoffed a bowl of those battered fries ($8).
I asked how big the menu's bigger guys were and the manager told me they were bigger than the little guys. Helpful. According to the mirth-inducing menu, "food baby cheaper than real baby". I pushed on.
Shiitake dumplings were too sharp with vinegar and had a strange raw garlic aftertaste ($11). Shiny green betel leaves piled with shredded beef and toasted coconut ($15 for three) were easily the most delicious things we ate all night. I enjoyed a rich duck red curry, fragrant with cinnamon and Thai basil ($30) but the sticky rice was gluggy and overcooked and the discovery of flaccid duck skin in the bottom of the bowl was not good for aesthetics.
The kitchen did an excellent job of only just searing a slab of tuna, but the green papaya salad it came with ($19 on its own, $29 with the fish) was a travesty. I got a little chilli and a lot of wet, stringy, chew — it was missing sweet, sour and, crucially, that smack in the taste buds you should get from this dish.
I didn't really want dessert (seriously, don't order those chips if there are only two of you and only one of you has willpower and that person is sitting across from you), but we decided to share a coconut and pandan creme brulee ($13).
The custard base was grainy and the caramelised sugar topping had been taken too far. A nutty, crumby, freeze-dried blueberry, and blobbed coconut gel was delicious on first mouthful; too much by the 10th. Pretty as a picture, but looks were everything.