1133 Eruera Street
Rotorua, New Zealand
+64 7 346 8111
‘Smokin’ the herb again’ – Incubus
Marty and I were heading over to the Polynesian Spa for a late night relaxation session but first, dinner.
Not knowing where to go on a Monday night but seeing heaps of Thai restaurants, we suddenly had a craving for Thai food – Thai, it was! We had no idea what restaurants were good and which ones were best left alone like a rabies-infected dog roaming the streets of Bangkok. After some googling and a quick look at a Rotorua city guide booklet, we decided on Herb & Spices.
It wasn’t a terribly busy night so the service was pretty quick. Our three dishes arrived in short succession and a waitress was never far whenever we needed our water glasses refilled.
The dishes at Herb & Spices are pretty much the stuff you see at any Thai restaurant in Western countries that participate in the Commonwealth Games. You pretty much know what to expect. That said, Herb & Spices do offer a few unusual dishes such as the ‘fire chicken’ grilled chicken marinated with garlic and lemongrass. Okay, not a particularly unusual dish but their description – ‘flaming dish (yeap, v flamed at yr table)’ – was.
Call me a gweilo, but I order pad thai quite a bit when I’m at a Thai restaurant. I usually go for a prawn one but this time, I went for the chicken version (NZD$19/50/AUD$15.48), which was delicious. Although I wasn’t sure about the liberal use of tomatoes, I appreciated the generous use of tamarind and fish sauces making this a very decent pad thai.
Marty went all paleo with a Thai beef salad (NZD$19.50/AUD$15.48). It was wonderfully fresh and full of flavour, the dominant one being ‘OMG HOT.’ I also liked that the strips of beef were so juicy and tender, giving testament to the fact that New Zealanders do know how to raise their cattle. That said, I did feel that they could have done with less – or even no – celery.
We also shared a prawn tom yum soup ‘with healthy herbs and mushrooms’ (NZD$11.50/AUD$9.17). It was a standard tom yum; it didn’t suck but it didn’t blow us away either. The only thing I would say was that the prawns could have been fresher but I let that one go because fresh prawns are hard to come by in New Zealand, let alone Rotorua.
We thought that dinner at Herb & Spices was a lovely way to relax before, well, relaxing even more at the spa that evening. Rotorua has many Thai restaurants and even though we didn’t try the others, I wouldn’t be surprised if Herb & Spices was one of the better ones. The food was great value for what we paid and the service, fantastic.