Saan’s menu centres on the Isaan (north-eastern) and Lanna (northern) cuisines chef Lek Trirattanavatin grew up immersed in. Pad Thai – the butter chicken of Thai cuisine – shall never cross Lek’s pass; his noodle knowledge is far better demonstrated in dishes like the punchy, succulent braised beef neck with fresh egg noodles, in a spicy coconut broth. There’s usually a dry curry on the menu and it’s always amazing, like the crispy pork belly stir-fried in peppercorn and red curry paste with snake beans, chilli and kaffir lime. Waitstaff go out of their way to accommodate. You won’t be left waiting here – the kitchen cracks along at an impressive pace and waiters seem to appear on cue the moment you ponder that second drink (the Thaiinspired cocktails are well worth exploring).
160 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, 09 320 4337, saan.co.nz Lunch Wed-fri, dinner Tues-sat; larger plates $16-32
Warm hospitality IN BRIEF and punchy, exciting riffs on regional Thai cuisine