My partner J and I were shopping at the Canberra Centre one weekend and decided to try out the latest eatery to open on Bunda Street, Kinn Thai Restaurant. Kinn has replaced Wagamama along the restaurant strip outside the Centre. Kinn means ‘eat’ in Thai and we were starving! A sign outside states to wait to be seated and we were soon greeted by a waiter. The inside is modern, simple and dark contrasting with the brightly lit bar. There’s both indoor and outdoor dining.
As it was a strangely warm day for this time of year, we opted to sit outside in the fresh air. Happy to report that there are heaters outside already switched on so winter will be a bit more comfortable for those that can’t get an indoor table. I came to Kinn with no expectations thinking this would be similar to Chong Co Thai and other chain restaurants. The mocktail list immediately impressed me – a) there was an actual mocktail menu, b) there are 12 mocktails to choose from, and c) all priced at $9 which is decent. (Whinge: It gets really boring ordering tap water all the time and I don’t particularly want soft drink with every meal. Not many places have or can make mocktails properly and some charge a fortune). There were lots of fruity options which I prefer, but also a virgin pina colada with coconut cream, or the Supercharger with alcohol free sangria and red bull. I chose the Sweet Valentine’s with fresh watermelon, citrus and rose water. This came served in a super tall glass and I noticed other diners nearby ooh-ing and ahh-ing with drink envy. Delicately and naturally sweet, I really enjoyed this.
After reading The Food Avenue’s post on Kinn, I couldn’t resist trying the crab prawn rolls ($7 for a serve of four) as an entree. What’s different is the wrapper around the roll is made from finely woven vermicelli and deep fried. This was super crispy when I bit into it with a crab and prawn filling and aromatic herbs inside. The size of the rolls are smaller than your average spring roll but these small morsels are full of flavour and crunch. The sauce on top makes this taste even better. Utterly moreish. I could have easily ordered more!
I was interested to see what the Thai twist to a salmon carpaccio ($14) would be like. Eight slices were presented neatly on a plate with slivers of nashi pear, onion, soy sauce and sesame vinaigrette. The salmon is silky smooth and fresh paired brilliantly with the sweet and sour vinaigrette which enhances the taste of the salmon. The nashi pear acts like a mini-salad adding crunch and natural sweetness to the dish, with some bite from the Spanish onion. I’m glad I picked this dish. This was J’s favourite out of the starters while mine were the above crab prawn rolls followed closely by the salmon.
The massamun lamb shank ($19.50) is 24 hours slow cooked and is served with sweet potato mash and roti. This looked impressive with one huge shank provided and a yummy aroma wafting up to my nose. The shank came easily off the bone, however I found it wasn’t as succulent as I expected from a 24 hour slow cook. There was a large portion of fat left on too which I had to leave on the side of the bowl. I loved the addition of sweet potato mash – a healthier alternative to regular potato and it adds some extra sweetness to the curry. The curry is rich and full of flavour, and very mild in terms of spiciness. It’s a little oily but tasted so good! The roti is flakey and I loved dipping it into the curry. It also means you don’t have to buy a side of rice as this ‘full meal’ should fill you up. However, with me being the greedy guts that I am, we did get a bowl of steamed rice ($3) to share because I just love curry sauce on rice. I could just eat that on its own. I should mention that one of the sides is steamed noodles ($3) – good to know that I can order extra noodles for any future noodle dish.
The chilli jam soft shell crab ($23) was J’s pick for a main. The crab was covered in crunchy batter with plenty of seasoning and sprinkled with spring onion. The menu states it has special homemade chilli jam sauce which was akin to a sweet chilli sauce. Deep fried crab in a thick sweet chilli sauce – powerful combination of flavours! We were happy with the portion size and really enjoyed this dish. This was J’s favourite main and I just can’t decide between the two..both equally good but different.
For those with dietary requirements, the menu (available online) indicates dishes that are gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. If you just can’t decide on what to eat from the menu, there are 3 set menus to choose from ranging between $33, $38 and $45 per person (a minimum of 2 people required). I forgot to ask whether there was a dessert menu. We were too full by that stage, but I’ll scope it out next time.
So far, we’ve found that Kinn Thai delivers well executed dishes, fabulous flavours, good presentation and portion sizes. And I can’t forget its mocktail menu! Thai beverages are also on the drinks menu such as housemade Thai milk tea, balefruit, O-Lieng Thai iced black coffee and Thai ‘pink’ milk (I have no idea what that is). Prices are not the cheapest but I’m happy to pay it for the quality of food received. Service is polite and our food came out very quickly (though it was 2pm on a Sunday afternoon). When paying the bill, I received a 15% discount card for my next meal there so I’ll be going back very soon.
Kinn Thai is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. A take away menu is available (with slightly cheaper prices).
Note: There’s a 1.5% surcharge on visa and mastercard with a minimum spend of $25.
Value for money 9/10
FPJ score 25/30
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