A quiet underdog in the evolving Ponsonby Central, The Hidden Village is truly a hidden gem of the precinct. Tucked away into the back, opposite Dante's Pizzeria, the brightly lit eatery has a much more relaxed, peaceful atmosphere than its bustling neighbours. Flora and fauna dress up the wooden furniture, facing towards the open kitchen, with a tropical vibe carrying through the restaurant.
Head chef Kino Ruvas is at the helm, using his Filipino heritage as the wind in his sails to create a diverse menu of Asian fusion dishes. Intertwining the flavours and culture of South East Asia street food vendors, The Hidden Village recreates some of the most beloved dishes from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines – with everything emerging from the kitchen fresh, packed with flavour, and doused with rich herbs and garnishing.
Crispy pork wontons, satay chicken skewers, crispy spring rolls, and popcorn chicken make for the perfect shared starters before delving into their wok section. Filipino black pepper beef and Nasi goreng fried rice arrive steaming hot, with tender meat and fresh local produce utilised for a colourful plate.
The star of the show, however, has to be The Hidden Village's savoury pancakes. A light, fluffy, thin pancake arrives in your choice of crispy chicken, tofu, pulled pork, or prawn sambal, with fresh vegetables packed inside and a generous drizzle of sauces on top. Paired with one of their tropically-delicious mojito or piña colada, it's a winning spread that'll leave the whole table satisfied.
The Hidden Village sits at 7 Richmond Road, open from 11:30am to 9:30pm.