I relished writing this month's food review. Our family loves Thai food! We have been everywhere in Whangarei. There is something super-friendly and inviting about Thai restaurants. Tonight, we called and booked at Thai Chef's Restaurant on Bank Street. As a venue, it's relaxing. I went when it first opened with work colleagues and was pleasantly delighted again tonight. The waitresses really influence the occasion for diners and, reflecting now, they assisted in providing a great, relaxing evening with an authentic cheerfulness and, of course, wonderful Thai food.

We were seated quickly and ordered drinks. The menu is extensive, which is easy to see by the numbers, with gluten-free options a bonus. We ordered as soon as the drinks arrived. I have to add here, I loved the Main Divide Riesling – Yummm!

Tick for the entree of Dim Sim, which were so fresh, the minced pork inside was wonderfully hot from the pan, marinated with water chestnut and shitake mushrooms and wrapped in a thin pastry and served with an excellent dipping sauce.

I can't go past duck when I'm eating Thai and always love a bit of humour. So, I was giggling as I ordered the Sexy Little Duck. Jason ordered the Veges Wok with chicken, Tamihana chose the Fried Rice with lamb, given his week of Crossfit, and Sophia opted for Crispy Chicken. The food again came out fast.


The duck was very tender and came out with gently-cooked zuchinni, beans, leek, a lovely wash of fat noodles, chilli and a carrot blossom garnish.

The fried rice was exactly what you would expect. Fried jasmine rice with fried eggs, onions, tomatoes, spring onions, mixed vegetables and lamb. The young fella was smiling and full by halfway through his plate. Sophia's Crispy Chicken was a mountain of crispy chicken, lightly coated with breadcrumbs, loaded with cabbage, carrots, cauli, spring onion, capsicums, green beans and onion, in a medium spicy chilli sauce.

My Sexy Little Duck arrived and I was busting to try it. The roasted duck was cooked in an aromatic homemade chilli paste. It was perfectly-balanced, and of medium heat, as requested. It came in green beans, leeks, courgettes, capsicum and shredded kaffir leaves. I eat duck in every Thai restaurant I go to. This is the best, which I would never say lightly, and I debated with myself over writing this. We regularly dine in three of our favourite Thai restaurants and, because of this dish, it will now be four.

Jason's Veges and Chicken Wok with Jasmine Rice was exactly what he wanted after a very early morning start at work. Tender cuts of chicken, swimming in bok choi, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, garlic and leeks, all pleasingly crunchy in a sweet oyster sauce.

A brief exchange with our waitress about her family home in Thailand and her grandfather's duck farm left warm images in my mind of a country with clever food and a brilliant culture.

Many of the Thai restaurants in Whangarei fall down at the dessert menu. There is nothing like a good meal, then the dessert just doesn't stack up. Not the case when dining at Thai Chef. I was absolutely thrilled with the dessert menu.

After lots of laughter that we had finally cracked a Thai restaurant with decent dessert, we quickly ordered Lemon Cheesecake, Sweet Sticky Rice and Choco Mocha. All amazingly tasty and lived up to our expectations! A very happy family ended the night telling each other we had a good time. It was an upbeat visit and the food offers plenty of flavour for the cost.

Book soon you'll be back like we will be.