From the creators of Café Hanoi and XuXu Dumpling Bar comes this new Thai restaurant.

Our ears pricked up when we heard that the creators of one of our favourite Vietnamese eatery, Café Hanoi, and XuXu dumpling bar in Britomart were expanding their repertoire. Heeding the call for what has yet to be available on our shores, Saan has opened its doors in the heart of Ponsonby to expand our culinary horizons into the northern and north eastern regions of Thailand.

Upon entering, you’ll be charmed by the romantic interior, a result of the impressive handiwork of Cheshire Architects, who have opted for a palette of pretty pinks, lilacs and soft greens to accentuate the blonde wood. An assortment of seating options await with custom furniture infusing the space with a contemporary take on Thai hospitality; from cosy booths to long tables for groups, there’s even a low bar where one can enjoy a selection of their delicious cocktails. We’re partial to the Weeping Butterfly – a sophisticated violet blend of tequila, Chartreuse liqueur, lemongrass, cardamon, and blue butterfly pea extract that gives the libation its colour changing properties.

Helming the kitchen is Lek, a Thailand native entrusted with the task of bringing a slice of his homeland to Auckland. Focusing on Lanna (Northern) and Isaac (North Eastern) Thai cuisine – a variation of Thai that’s underexposed on our shores until now – the menu is divided into Khang Thang (street snacks) Jarn Rerm (smaller dishes), Jarn Lan (grand dishes), Khong Kiang (sides), and Kong Warn (desserts). Standouts include the crispy fried soft shell crab with pickled crab, coconut sauce, dill and coriander, and the chargrilled chicken rubbed with Thai spices and lemongrass served with toasted rice and chilli sauce. It would also be a crying shame to leave without sampling the crispy dessert of Thai pancakes with rosewater meringues and egg yolk floss.

Transporting our taste buds to lands we’ve yet to explore, we’re excited to welcome this new South East Asian addition to the fold and look forward to the many tasty mind-expanding delights to come.

Opening hours Seven days 5pm to late, and Wednesday – Friday 12pm to late.


160 Ponsonby Road

(09) 320 4237


Denizen’s guide to the best ‘first date’ spots in Auckland

Recipe: Forget the soup packet shortcut, this onion dip is the real deal

Hospitality guru Judith Tabron takes us on a tour of her favourite LA restaurants