Food: 4 stars
Service: 3 stars
Ambiance: 2.5 stars
K Sing is a little 25-seater restaurant in the heart of Jackson Street, Petone. The neon green entrance does not inspire any sense of authenticity. However, regular punters know it is hard to get a table any night of the week if you do not have a booking. Sure enough, on the Wednesday when we arrived at their opening time of 5.30pm, there was a small queue outside the front door. By 6pm all of the tables were taken with takeaway orders flying out the door.
K Sing promotes itself as a Thai, Vietnamese & Laos restaurant. On the surface, the menu seems no different than the dozen or so Thai restaurants in Wellington serving spring rolls, tom yum goong, curries, stir fries with veges… you know the drill. What K Sing excels at is the balance of flavour. With the owners from Laos, they know how to marry the best flavours from their Thai and Vietnamese neighbours.
Order #23 on the menu, Pud Kra Prow – your choice of Beef or Pork stir fried with Thai basil, chillies, vegetables and coconut cream was a perfect balance of herbs and spices. The generous addition of sugar, probably palm sugar, and a light touch of coconut cream, brings everything together in perfect harmony.
The dish I had was #38 Yum Beef Salad – Grilled beef slices infused with red onion, tomatoes, mint, lemon juice, chillies and vermicelli noodles. This was a cold dish serve with rice. Although cold, the portion was generous, packed with fresh herbs and can easily be eaten as a main.
I was not too keen on the dish that my son ordered – #35 Pork Ribs – Fried pork ribs served with sweet & sour chilli sauce, soup and steamed rice. I found the ribs to be dry and the sweet and sour chilli sauce on the side to be more of a token gesture. The dish needed something to bring it all together. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if I am back in a week or two to try out the 40 odd other dishes on offer here.
All in all, K Sing is a great place to be for a low key, tasty meal. It is especially good value for money if you go for dinner as the price is the same as the lunch menu with the added bonus of BYO wine ($4 corkage per bottle) and beer ($0.50 charge per bottle). Do watch out for the chillies though – K Sing’s Chilli Chart is one of the hottest in Wellington. Order ‘mild’ if in doubt!