The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

WOP: A deluge of dreadfulness at Monsoon Poon

by Joanna on August 11, 2011 in Food & Drink

Our mouths have been working overtime this week, with all the Wellington on a Plate action going around. Of course Tuesday had the aborted attempt at Lagerfield and then eating off the regular menu at Fratelli. Tonight we’ve got reviews of Monsoon Poon, Atlanta and Bettys for you, which to sum up were DREADFUL, decent and divine, in that order I have so much to say about the awfulness of Monsoon Poon that I don’t have time to write about the others. Tomorrow (edit: here they are!)!

Let me start by saying I have never been a fan of Monsoon Poon, although I have never been as good as expressing it as Tze Ming did twice. In the past I’ve found their service to be average, and their food way too dumbed down and way too expensive for what you get – it’s the sort of place someone who lives in Churton Park might see as being edgy. But when a friend suggested we go there, I looked up their offering and was intrigued by the sound of the Royal Indian Curry Banquet. Our invitation spread on twitter, so I called them on Tuesday afternoon to see if I could reserve a table for seven people at 6pm. “Oh, we don’t do bookings,” I was told, “but we’ll have no trouble seating you when you come in”. Okay, sweet. So I got there a little bit before six, and the restaurant was just about empty. I asked for table for seven people, and was told “oh, we don’t seat you until your whole group is here, you can go wait in the bar”. Um, what the fuck? I know this is something that happens in very busy and popular restaurants in other cities, but I haven’t seen it happen in Wellington – especially not IN AN EMPTY RESTAURANT. So I was mad. I like getting to restaurants when they’ve just opened and having a drink and perhaps ordering nibbles and getting a moment to myself before catching up with friends. It’s not something I’d do at 7.30pm, or on a Friday, but it seems perfectly acceptable to do it at 6pm on a Wednesday. Apparently not.

I went to wait in the bar (and refused to order a drink until I was able to sit down at my table) and discovered that Laura had already put her name down for a six-seater, so by isolating us from the action, it was actually making things more complicated for them. We all universally agreed that this seating issue was fucking bullshit, and I was pretty tempted to actually walk out, but instead we went and asked (probably not very politely, to be honest) if since the restaurant wasn’t actually full if we could go and order some appetisers before the last two got there. Suggesting we might actually want to spend some money appeared to be the magic word, and as soon as we got to our table, the other two showed up. We all ordered the banquet, and suspiciously quickly, bowls of curry started showing up at the table. The bowl seemed too small for seven people, even given that there were five curries, so I checked – yup, one bowl between seven. Okay then. The waiter told us we’d be getting four bowls of rice. We received two, after enough time had passed for us to pass around all the curries around the table so they all mingled on our plates without rice barriers. Eventually we managed to get the attention of a waitress. She said that the chef had run out of rice (I guess that shows how authentically Asian the place isn’t), so we’d get dripfed rice. We got one more bowl, and that was it. You know how Wellington on a Plate is all about showcasing Wellington ingredients, and most restaurants create new dishes in order to do that? Monsoon Poon serves five curries that are usually on its menu. The only uniquely Wellington ingredient mentioned was the Zany Zeus raita. Guess what our servers didn’t bring us until we asked for it?

Oh, the wine we picked – Kahurangi Gewurztraminer from Nelson – was delicious and a very reasonable $35 a bottle. We weren’t asked if we wanted more when we ran out, but I wouldn’t have ordered more anyway. The $25 was already far too much to pay for such substandard service and boring food. As I was paying, I was asked how the meal was. I said it was really really average, and explained. She said she’d pass on my feedback but I don’t think anything will change. When we tweeted about our experiences, we received a lot of similar comments from others. Skip Monsoon Poon, there are far too many good places in town to eat to bother with it.

Joanna McLeod

Joanna McLeod has started calling herself the Empress of the Internet because she can. As well as wrangling the other site contributors and Getting Shit Done, she likes to eat, drink and write in equal amounts. Yes, she would love to be invited along to your event in order to do those things. Joanna's also the best person to talk to if you're interested in advertising on the site.

Jeff August 11, 2011 at 11:48 pm

oh joanna thank you so much for warning me about the evils of This Restaurant. what a horrible experience it sounds like you had there, it must have been awful to have to wait for a table, and then receive less food than you wanted to eat! i tell you if i was in the same situation i might well just loose it and start hitting people with my fork haha temper is my problem. i myself have never had a bottle of wine over twenty bucks but congratulations to you for having reached that point in life and i too one day aspire to similar greatness in my own life if only i can hold these temper issues down! haha!

cheers, jeff

Joanna August 11, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Um, you do know what a review is, right?

Pete August 12, 2011 at 7:31 am

Jeff – WTF?

If you walk in the restaurant door and can pay the fare you deserve service appropriate to what sort of place it is. Monsoon Poon failed that simple test, what’s so difficult to understand about that?
I actually find Joanna’s reviews very good and agree that, having also been to MP, it isn’t worth my dollars.
Perhaps you are from Churton Park?

Phil August 12, 2011 at 11:56 am

I’m not from Churton Park, but next-door in J’ville. My experience of the ‘locals’ of the northern suburbs is that they’re as much a diverse bunch of people as anywhere else in broad-Wellington.

To put it another way: the white-bread meme of the northern suburbs is just as trite, unimaginative and obsolete as saying Newtown is still the exclusive domain of smelly hippies and poverty-stricken students.

Alf Rune August 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm

It wasn’t a Wellingonista who said that, but there are demographics that back it up. compared to the CBD and inner residential areas, the northern suburbs tend to have fewer young single adults and more families, lower public transport use and more cars per household, little in the way of local bars and restaurants, and more conservative voting patterns. The newer subdivisions (such as the recent bits of Churton Park) are notorious for oversized houses and car-dependent street layouts. It’s an oversimplification, sure, but you can see why Churton Park can become the poster child for “people who don’t get out much”.

Joanna August 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Actually it WAS me who said ” it’s the sort of place someone who lives in Churton Park might see as being edgy”. To be fair.

SUZI August 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm

or Gore

SUZI August 12, 2011 at 11:18 am

They fill a market, white middle class kiwis thinking they are cutting edge eating Asia. I would put them in the same league as all the plastic Irish bars in the world. Locals thinking they are rediscovering their Irish roots while no true lover of Irish culture would set foot in them. You will not get top food at Monsoon Poon, they are aimed at the masses so the food is pretty bland to appeal to kiwi taste. It did disappoint me last time I ate there ( on a first date and last date , who takes a girl on a first date to a place themed on a brothel !!!!), not because of the food ( new it would not be good) but the service. The service used to be good, but now the “too cool for school” mob have moved in, for f#@k sake you are a waitress/waiter just take my order and go get my food !!!
If you uncle Steve from Gore is coming to town take him there he will love it, otherwise go enjoy the fine food of Wellington

Brenda of Churton Park August 15, 2011 at 10:38 am

This is pretty much a good description of monsoon poon, all three times i’ve been there.

Also, seriously, i’m from C-Park and I’m awesome. So there.

JA August 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I live in J’ville & Monsoon Poon is PANTS

max from Kingston August 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Ahh stereotypes. Its like me saying that I don’t go to Fidels because it is overpriced, average food, frequented by wayfarer wearing hipsters languishing in ‘their look at moi aren’t I so cool by not giving a fuck about anything.’
Is Kingston considered boring? we do have some families around us… Seriously, where you live does not define you.

Karl August 17, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I agree on the quality of the Poon. I measure a good Asian restaurant by it’s Nasi Goreng. The best I’ve had is a street side stall in Indonesia. The second best in the old Bandong Country Kitchen (which had an amazing gift shop). Third best in Dublin. Monsoon Poon’s Nasi Goreng is bland and dull – a caricature of a good nasi goreng.

Ryan August 22, 2011 at 7:44 pm

sounds as disappointing as my wellington on a plate meal at Martin Bosley’s……

Mick August 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Kingston? Is that even a real suburb?

noizyboy August 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Got a bus route with your name on it? You’re a suburb.

max August 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Damn straight.. Poor mans Brooklyn. Now Mornington that is a different question…

Shannon October 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm

I really like how you’re trying to find ‘authentic cuisine’ from third world countries yet still complain about your first world problems haha. Maybe if you pulled your head out your arse you might not taste shit 😉

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: