Knox shopping centre, my local haunt and go to place for movies already has a huge foodie strip of restaurants, cafes and fast food eateries, not to mention a couple of pubs. That's not counting the eateries available on the inside of the shopping centre as well. Add to that events Knox has running throughout the year, and a market once a month, this is a shopping centre that's 'alive' and hell bent on entertaining its patrons. Now there's an addition to the food strip in the form of a Thai restaurant called Kinn which opened just two weeks ago. I did try getting in on opening day, but the wait time and the long line still waiting to get in, drove me away till now.
Having lived in Thailand for three years and speaking the language, I'm always keen to enjoy Thai food and practice my Thai. Kinn popping up on the horizon was exciting for me, especially since it's situated in a place I already frequent.
Visually, the restaurant is very pleasant on the eyes, spacious and modern. I could not fault the wait staff either. They were efficient and always in attendance, bringing food out quite quickly and taking plates away as soon as they were empty.
Aptly named Kinn, its meaning in Thai, to eat, you can order starters, Kinn's dishes, vegetarian meals, salads, grills, stir fried food, curries, noodles, fried rice, street food and a kid's menu. Prices range from approximately $8 to $10 for the kids menu and starters; soups in the $12 range and meals between $13 and $24.
The young wait staff mentioned that the owner was not in Melbourne at the moment, but in Brisbane and that he was a twin, both owners of Kinn's 7 restaurants. Three in NSW, two in Queensland, one in ACT and now one in Melbourne. She mentioned another was in the works to open in Brisbane.
For my dining experience, I just had to order a Thai beverage called O-Lieng for old times sake. It's a Thai iced black coffee that's strong and sweetened. As part of the street culture in Thailand, it's sold sealed in a plastic bag, tied off with a rubber band and a straw locked in to the tie. It was as delicious as I remembered. I then went on to order two betel leaf starters that are filled with tiger prawns, topped with Thai herbs and a special sauce. This is best wrapped and eaten in one mouthful to enjoy al the flavours, which I did. Yum!
A wok tossed deep fried salt and pepper squid with onion, ginger, chilli and coriander was on the list next and was quite tasty. However I was not as enthused with my mains. It was a ginger tofu with rice which tasted more Chinese than Thai to me. This is not a problem as it's quite normal for fusion food to exist within a menu, I was just hungering for the Thai taste and didn't get it with what I ordered. The other issue I had was that I felt the mound of rice was far larger than the actual stir fry, which made the eating experience a little dry.
However, this is not going to deter me from going back time and again. I'll just make sure I order only authentic Thai dishes for my next Thai food rendezvous. There's plenty to choose from. If you are however looking for sweets, there's only one you can order.
I don't even clearly remember seeing it on the menu. I just asked if they had it as my memory ran to having Thai coconut ice cream with sweet sticky rice at the base, sprinkled peanuts on top and all stuffed into a hollowed out bread roll. They basically gave me a (using the popular current term) deconstructed version, but without the peanuts and bread. It did however have some strips of tinned jackfruit (not as good as fresh) and coconut jelly cubes. All in all, still a pleasant Thai dining experience for me.
There are many Kinn Thai restaurant pages for their various branches on Facebook, but HERE is the one for Westfield Knox. Newly opened, they seem to have a special going at the moment. If you 'like' and 'check in' on their Facebook page when you're at the restaurant, you'll get a glass of free soft drink. If you're ever at Knox shopping centre, check it out and let me know what you think. Bon appétit.