Quality and quantity are two words that pop up regularly when David Dau talks about his new restaurant Cheek & Chong, on Orewa Boulevard.
The restaurant, located in the former ASB building on the corner of Moana Avenue, specialises in Vietnamese, Thai and Malaysian cuisine with a Kiwi twist.
“We use fresh local ingredients and a mix of herbs and spices to produce a flavour that Kiwis like,” David says. “But there are also dishes that may surprise them.”
The eclectic decor, which includes an upside television, an upside down table setting, a bicycle on the ceiling and a collection of birdcages, is designed to provide talking points and a bit of fun.
“We want people to feel comfortable and relaxed when they come here. Dining out should be a fun experience for the whole family and that’s why our food is designed to be shared.”
The new restaurant is one of several Auckland eateries owned by the Le Viet Group, whose directors are David and his brother Robbie Dau, and Minh Lu.
The Le Viet Kitchen, specialising in Vietnamese food, opened in Ponsonby in 2013, followed by Tok Tok in Takapuna in 2015 and Xoong in Mt Eden last year.
“It took us about a year to secure the right location in Orewa and a further year fitting it out, designing the menu and hiring staff,” David says. “We didn’t rush because everything we do, we want it to be perfect.
“We have a great location where car parking isn’t a problem and we like being amongst a lot of other restaurants that are all doing something a bit different.”
Cheek & Chong can cater for up to 170 diners with outdoor seating for around 50.
The menu has lots of gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options, and a children’s menu will be introduced soon. Some of the house specialties include Ruakaka kingfish sashimi, kaffir lime chicken, crispy hapuka curry, shaking beef and crispy half duck.