Never does meat from caged or barn-raised poultry pass the lips of my lunch companion so she has chosen this relative newcomer to the Ponsonby strip.
Bird on a Wire – they do solely free-range rotisserie chickens – is in a block of small eateries where takeaways make up much of the trade.
So it is with Bird – there are stools at a narrow bench along one side and a couple of tables outside. But nothing invites lingering and those on the stools are waiting for their orders.
There are big bowls of salad on show and a blackboard has the menu, which is also online. That it notes a discount for customers who live or work in Ponsonby gives a good community vibe.
All comers are here for chickens that spent their lives gambolling free and now ride the ferris-wheel rotisserie, so it is just a matter of deciding on presentation.
Kate goes for a Banh Mi, Vietnamese-style sandwich, with a beetroot salad to take away and I decide to have half a chicken. It can come au naturel or with a Jamaican jerk, Korean barbecue or salsa verde baste. And then there is the champignon truffle butter baste, called Ponsy Coq. What should I have? As has been said, "You can take the girl out of the west but you can't take the west out of the girl." I also order a pumpkin salad but don't request take away.
The form is to pay as you order and, disappointingly, there is no coffee so we are reduced to bottled drinks from the chiller.
When the food arrives – in one large brown paper bag – we move outside. At least one of the two tables is wonky and the bottles slide. The salads are boxed, the Banh Mi wrapped and the Ponsy Coq comes in a non-poncy plastic dish favoured for supermarket cooked chooks.
Kate loves everything about her choice – the baguette, the chicken, the veg, the dressing and even the pate. She is keeping her salad for later but I am disappointed in my butternut version, which is hard and still has the skin on. Two pieces is as many as I can take so it's on to the chicken.
This is what they are all about here, the rest is just window dressing, and the difference between Bird's birds and the supermarket flock is like chalk and cheese. The meat is delicious, juicy and with nothing like the pulped cardboard consistency of the others.
BIRD ON A WIRE
WHERE: 234 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland, ph 093786369.
WHEN: Monday to Sunday, 10.30am-10.30pm.
WHAT'S TO EAT: Free-range chickens star, with a small supporting cast.
HOW MUCH: $46.50 for two lunches and cold drinks.
WHAT DO WE THINK: Fabulous fowls, best taken away.
- Sunday Star Times