First look: Boy & Bird
By Catherine McGregor. Photos by Ken Downie.
“What we hear most from people is ‘I feel happy just walking in here,’” says Boy & Bird’s Marie Colosimo. It’s not hard to see why – this Ponsonby Rd chicken emporium seems tailor-made to elicit smiles. With their red and white napkins and plaid-blanket benches, the table settings are reminiscent of a midsummer picnic; the walls feature a cheerful jumble of illustrations, including depictions of the restaurant’s miniature mascots Boy and Bird.
In real life, the “boy” is Mike van de Elzen (of Molten, The Food Truck, television and cookbook fame) and the “bird” is co-owner Colosimo, one of Auckland’s most experienced front-of-house stars.
Their menu includes options for vegetarians, fish fans, and red-meat addicts alike, but chicken – eight-hour citrus-brined, steamed, spice-rubbed and rotisseried – is the undisputed star of this show. Whether chopped with potato chunkies, gravy and slaw; heaped into warm wholemeal brioche rolls; or tossed into a black lentil, kumara, feta and peanut salad – it’s all (finger lickin’) good. And, it should go without saying, all free-range too, delivered straight from a Waikato poultry farm personally vetted by the Colosimo and Van de Elzen.
Given the owners’ backgrounds, it’s no surprise that the drinks list is a cut above, featuring an affordable mix of local and international boutique wines. Beers and spirits are craft and small-batch, respectively, and juices are made fresh to order.
It’s a big ask to create a restaurant that appeals equally to Ponsonby’s free-range eating, craft-beer drinking scenesters and those Aucklanders still barely out of nappies (yes, there’s a kids’ menu, and highchairs). But early indications are that Colosimo and Van de Elzen may just have cracked it. Happy chickens, happy staff, happy diners – Boy & Bird is away laughing.
222 Ponsonby Rd
Ph 09 361-3222 for reservations