Nat Cheshire's fit-out of Saan has totally transformed the old Video Ezy building on the corner of Ponsonby Rd and Norfolk St. Where we used to sneak back our overdue cassettes in the after-hours slot, there are elegant floor-to-ceiling sliding windows. Inside, the place has an alluring plantation feel with its white-over-wood toning, wide-slat venetian blinds, tables far enough apart to make the space feel cool and luxurious, with glimpses of gold I remember from Bangkok.
You can't book but we were greeted by co-owner Krishna Botica, who took our coats and immediately showed us to a table by the window. But this was a Tuesday and arriving at 7pm sharp we were lucky. Within minutes there was a queue behind us, so don't be lulled into rolling up later in the week and expecting a table without a wait at the bar first.
Parking in Ponsonby is out of control. Many is the time I’ve arrived by Camry for a 7pm dinner date, only to spend the next 25 minutes prowling the side streets looking for somewhere to park it. If I’m lucky I’ll come across a resident who has put orange cones out to claim the space outside their home. But cones hold no legal standing. I bite my thumb at cones.
Once again on Thursday night it was bumper-to-bumper in Ponsonby Central, the only public carpark for a kilometre in either direction, and I was nosing out into traffic thinking about giving up when a ute vacated the carpark of my dreams, and I slid into a spot right outside the new Saan restaurant.
All of which is to say that I couldn’t have arrived in a happier mood, and things only got better from there. Saan is a really first rate eatery serving probably the best Thai food in the city, and I’m predicting many happy nights here.