Until recently, the options for good Thai in Adelaide has been fairly underwhelming, but a fresh burst of eateries are beginning to fill vacant buildings across the city.
Perched on the southern end of Hutt Street, Kin Kin Thai Eatery is one of the newer Thai joints in town. They’ve made the most of a fairly basic commercial retail site, creating a light and bright restaurant space that feels compact but not crowded. An eclectic wall of images filled with smiling faces and exotic ingredients brightens the otherwise stark interior. Textured wallpaper and timber panelling reflect bare floors and light timber tables and chairs. This is no-fuss dining: clean and simple.
With a focus on humble street-food style dishes, Kin Kin offers traditional Thai food with a spattering of Asian-fusion. Service is casual and relaxed, with staff quickly explaining the easy to navigate menu.
Tofu Tord is a very simple starter with wedges of plain fried bean curd and a sweet chilli
and peanut sauce, this is a dunk and eat dish that is perfectly okay if not a little plain. Larb Gai salad is a spicy minced chicken blended with fresh herbs and ground roasted rice. The chicken is punchy with a decent amount of chilli flakes threatening to overpower the dish before being toned down by fresh coriander and cucumber ribbons piled on top. It’s very more-ish and doesn’t take long for two of us to clean up the dish, before mains arrive.
Ka Na Moo Grob (wok fried pork belly) is quite gelatinous though pleasantly flavoured, paired with cuts of barely cooked Chinese broccoli with only a little less crunch than
the pork rind, this is a much fresher and well balanced version of a dish that can be inherently heavy. Generous slices of fresh red chilli add spice and a satisfying garlic flavour lingers. A glass of La Linea Tempranillo Rosé from the Adelaide Hills helps keep the spice at bay, selected from a short eclectic wine list that includes mainly local labels and a few Thai beers, lychee cider and a house made Thai-style blended fruit frappe using coconut, lychee and watermelon.
Lastly, Neau Pad Phrik Gang features slices of tender cooked beef in a robust sauce that has an undercurrent of traditional flavours thanks to a house-made chilli paste and Thai basil, mixed in stir-fry style with baby corn and green beans. A sprig of green peppercorns fresh from the vine adds an interesting element and a gentle heat that complements, rather than contradicts the other kind of spice delivered by red and green chillies.
This dish is easily the best of the meal, capturing the essence of Thai cuisine without too much fuss. So while Gouger Street might be known as Adelaide’s heart of Asian-fusion, the South East corner of our city is certainly doing their bit. Kin Kin have achieved their aim of presenting variety, flavour and freshness while humbly paying respect to culinary traditions.
Kin Kin Thai Eatery
4/242 Hutt Street
Open: Tuesday to Sunday
Photography: Sia Duff