The cuz from Oz is over again and we arrange to meet somewhere central.
I receive a warm welcome from staff and explain I will soon be two.
There is a spread of tables at the front of the deep room, the star of which is the rectangular bar and around which small tables line the walls.
There's a lot of black at the back but the fire is lit near the front and the atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable.
I check out the blackboard lunch menu, the card menu and the lunch ''star grazing'' menu of two dishes with wine.
''No, I won't order yet but, yes, some water would be lovely.''
Five minutes later, I tell myself I will give the cousin five more and then I will order.
Some of us have to go back to work.
The maitre d' asks if everything is OK and I say something scathing about a Sydneysider getting lost.
''We ring Australia all the time,'' she says and proffers her cellphone but I don't have the number.
I order from the star grazing menu - pumpkin and ricotta tortellini with sage butter, amaretti crumbs and parmesan - partnered with a Villa Maria Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2007.
Just as the cousin arrives, flustered having been seeking a Ponsonby St brasserie, so does my meal.
Looks great and tastes even better: perfect plump pumpkin pillows.
Alliteration never looked or tasted so good.
The cousin wants the same but agrees to have the other ''star'' - the Moroccan spiced duck filo cigar with quinoa, herb and grape salad, pine nuts and pomegranate molasses.
Even the description is mouthwatering.
Some filo cigars are the size of panatelas - this makes a statement, this is a Churchill. Cousin loves her meal but lifts off a central blob of sour cream.
''It doesn't need it.'' Because I finish ahead of her, I order dessert and coffee together.
The affogato comes on a small salver, the icecream in one dish the espresso, rightly, in another.
This one like a miniature martini glass.
The strength of the coffee takes me aback but then I like two spoons of sugar in an espresso and delicious as the praline is, I could have done with more of it.
That being said, it was probably the kick I needed - some of us have to go back to work.
PONSONBY ROAD BISTRO
WHERE: 165 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland, ph (09) 360-1611.
WHEN: Monday to Friday from noon; Monday to Saturday, reduced menu 3pm-5.30pm, dinner from
WHAT'S TO EAT: Star lunch choices, plus fish, pork, poultry, steak and pizza.
HOW MUCH: $68.50 for two lunches, two wines and a dessert.
WHAT DO WE THINK: Fabulous food and star service
- Auckland Now