Tucked away behind suburban fences there are glorious gardens where visitors rarely tread. One such garden, however, is a ‘secret’ that’s savoured by lovers of Thai cuisine and stunning gardens alike.
For more than a decade, Secret Thai Garden in Otahuhu, Auckland, has served locals in the know with traditional dishes in what is essentially a suburban backyard, carefully landscaped to capture the ‘tastes’ of Thailand.
After living in South East Asia, owners Nobby Clark and his wife, Aranya – known as Tommy – decided to establish the restaurant and garden. Nobby says development of the garden was a labour of love.
“We both came up with the idea but Tommy still thought I was crazy! It took about two years part time and a lot of help from many friends to complete the garden, but it’s been well worth our efforts.”
The couple was assisted by Chris Lyon, a landscape designer from Coromandel.
“I took Chris to Thailand with me on the buying trip. I wanted him to get a feel of the Thai culture, and restaurants. The result is a garden that is as traditionally Thai as I could get it, and I believe it’s the most traditional Thai restaurant in New Zealand,” he says.
“A lot of people who have travelled there, say it is a blast from the past; exactly like being in Thailand!”
While the Clarks regularly add to the garden’s eclectic array of artworks – including, most recently, two original Tuk Tuks from Bangkok – Nobby says a busy restaurant is not always conducive to buying trips to Asia.
“These days we don’t travel to Thailand as much as we’d like, because we can’t leave the restaurant for extended periods. Aside from that, I’ve run out of room for more stuff!
Click here for more information about Secret Thai Garden, or here to view more photos of Nobby and Tommy’s Thai-style paradise.