After having a taste, quite literally, of Kiin's lunch menu, I was excited to return during evening hours to view the complete selection. Their online booking system allowed customers to indicate their party size and preferred date of visit, but did not offer any time slots between prime supper hours. Online reservations were only exclusive to times of 5:45 PM or 9:00 PM - neither of which were appealing in the slightest.
Thankfully, the team was very responsive to email inquiries and I was able to secure a table at my desired time slow with much ease.
"Do you have a reservation?" the hostess asked. I nodded and relayed the details to her, peeking past the entranceway to lay eyes on a bustling floor of diners surrounded by flickering candles and a wondrous ambience. With the reduction of natural light and dimmed hanging lamps, a sophisticated aura had been successfully created to suit the hip, dusk-driven crowd.
Waitresses and service staff adopted similar roles to their lunchtime counterparts: one member seemed to be restricted to water-pouring and table-cleaning, while two others zigzagged from the kitchen to the booths to the smaller group tables by the entrance. Unlike the painfully sloth-like service I received during peak lunch hours, these girls were signficantly swifter in their actions and also more knowledgeable about the menu offerings.
Encased within the brown cover was a list of two Snacks, six "Small" plates, five "Large" plates, rice add-ons, and a single choice of dessert. While some may find the selection limited, I personally appreciated the chefs' intentions to focus on a select few rather than emphasize the concept of quantity over quality.
The black cover included the drink menu, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
The menu listed items in either romanized English or Thai script, so it was imperative that the item descriptions be as detailed and illustrative as possible. Devoid of images of any sort, it was entirely up to the client to conjure up an image of each listing and conclude whether that image was preferable in his or her gustatory dictionary.
The result was every bit as earthy and refreshing as advertised, and even included a fresh Pandan leaf as a sensory boost! The colour gradient was owed to a layer of essential syrup, but I was pleased nonetheless with the depth of flavour that resonated throughout the iced beverage.
With its arrival, our waitress took to delivering a thorough speech about the individual components encased within each colourful delicacy. Her last word of advice was to commence the consumption process from the most savoury piece, and make one's way across the plate to the sweetest item.
Chor Ladda was undoubtedly the most eye-catching of the four: an exquisite blue-purple flower that showcased gently-shaped petals and toppings reminscent of pollen. Enclosed within the cool-toned casing was a coarse sphere of jasmine rice. It was an amusing method of serving carbs within carbs, and tasted largely starchy as opposed to sweet.
My favourite of the assortment was Rhoom, as it combined an unexpected burst of aromatic coconut shreds with a wispy-thin, perforated egg crepe. The parcel appeared simple to create at first, but securely wrapping its contents within the crepe was, unmistakably, a skill in itself, even if stabilizers were to have been added.
Thoong Thong was a two-part dumpling that featured a deep-fried satchel of protein on top of a thick cucumber segment. A well had been formed in the centre of the cucumber, and a tangy, spicy sauce had been ladled inside for a shocking punch. Each individual flavour complimented the other, though I was personally fonder of the hydrating cucumber than the crunchy dumpling skin.
The plate containing the fish was brought over first; a deboning procedure would need to take place before we could devour it in conjunction with the wraps. I initially expressed interest in deboning the fish firsthand, as this would allow it to retain warmth and remain intact for photo-taking purposes. Our waitress responded that guests do not normally partake in such a venture, and that separation of the flesh from the bones normally took place in the kitchen. Regardless, she was more than willing to shift us to a larger table and provide the necessary tools.
Perhaps it was because I was raised on consuming fish and waterborne species for majority of my existence, but neither spines nor fine bones managed to faze me. I was honestly taken back that she was using a fork and a very dull knife, along with tweezers, to engage in this supposedly challenging task. The sea bream contained no more small bones than tilapia, yet it took approximately seven minutes for her to separate the head, tail, and stuff from the crispy product. I could only observe patiently as she meticulously removed the spine with caution.
Frankly, I did not feel the need to engage in such drastic measures to obtain the fish's edible contents. A pair of chopsticks and a sharp knife would have been sufficient for regular users, though maybe still tricky for relatively inexperienced diners.
Indeed, crispy it was. However, it also resulted in immediate bloating from the sudden consumption of fluid. To make matters worse, the Thai garlic that had been included in the sea salt rub further drained my being from any reserved moisture
I would be more likely to order the wraps with alternate sources of protein if available at a lower price point.
Tropical Thai Fruits was listed as the single dessert option. It included mangosteen, dragonfruit, and other exotic species to wrap up the meal on a juicy note. At $15 though, I refrained from quenching my thirst on varities I could easily locate at the local Chinese grocery store for much less.