First look at Kinn Thai Canberra Centre


After waiting a week for their Grand Opening (after they announced it), Kinn Thai Canberra Centre finally opened yesterday. Macgyver Boyfriend and I took advantage of the 25% off discount last night. The_Food_Avenue_Kinn_Thai_Canberra

Sandwiched between Sammy's and Wood and Coal, where Wagamama's used to be, Kinn Thai is located in the North Quarter of the Canberra Centre in Civic.

It's a Thai restaurant with a modern interior and an exciting menu. They already have other Kinn Thai restaurants in NSW and QLD. I had been poring through the menu online prior to dinner (drooling over every item) and had pretty much decided what I wanted to try that night. I liked that the menu had vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free tags next to each menu item (for those with specific dietary requirements). MB suggested a few dishes that he wanted to the satay chicken skewers and the wagyu beef but I had other plans! I wanted to get the duck pancakes, the scallops, the crispy pork belly, the soft shell crab and the crispy whole barramundi. He gave in to my demands but commented that it was a lot of food. Clearly, I had eyes bigger than my stomach and wanted to order ALL THE FOODS! MB gently talked me out of ordering the barramundi right away and by the end of the meal, I was glad he did!

We got a couple of mocktails ($9 each) and they were fantastic. MB had the Koh Sumui Sunrise (left) with pineapple juice, passionfruit, touch of citrus, and a dash of grenadine. I ordered the Pineapple Mint Lychee Daiquiri Mocktail with blended fresh pineapple, mint, lychee. Lovely tropical flavours that were beautifully balanced.


The first entree was the pan-seared sea scallops with spicy chilli and lime sauce ($9). The scallops were perfectly caramelised. The sauce was quite a bit spicy and while it was only 9 degrees outside, I was thankful for the refreshing drink to cool my mouth down (being the chilli wuss that I am).


They had sold out of the duck pancakes so we got the Crab prawn roll instead. As we were already getting crab for the main, MB wondered if we needed double crab. But when we took a bite of the crab roll, the answer was obvious. We TOTALLY NEEDED DOUBLE CRAB! For only $7, you got four amazingly crispy deep-fried spring rolls, filled with crab meat and aromatic Thai herbs, served with plum sauce. I just adored the plum sauce, which coated the crispy roll so well when you dipped the roll. It was thick but not sickly sweet and just a bit of sourness. I may have been spooning the sauce directly into my mouth after the rolls disappeared...


As a hardcore pork belly fan, I was dying to try the Crispy pork belly ($24). I was not disappointed. The crackling was indeed crisp and the capsicum chilli sauce was a unique and tasty accompaniment. Later that evening, a friend texted me saying he was at Kinn Thai and that they had run out of this dish. We may very well have had the last pork belly dish that night...oops! :P


While the pork belly dish was MB's favourite main (he loved the capsicum chilli sauce and the crispy crackling), mine was hands down the crispy soft shell crab ($23). On the menu, it was called the Chilli jam crispy soft shell crab, but out came crispy soft shell crab in a bowl of what looked and tasted like a thick red curry sauce. I certainly wasn't complaining as it was delicious (crab was crispy and not oily, sauce was magical) but I did wonder whether I was missing out on an even better chilli jam sauce.

By this stage, I was feeling pretty satisfied and content. I guess I didn't need the crispy barramundi dish after all, but boy I really wanted to try it.


I also really wanted to come back and try the wagyu beef and the pork ribs...


I really liked that the menu covered a range of dishes and prices. I could see myself popping in for either just a light snack or a hearty three-course meal. The food also came out quickly after we ordered so it would also suit those who need a quick dinner.

The wait staff were always friendly and attentive, which was great to see. I was worried that being seated outside that we might be forgotten but the wait staff was constantly walking around, our water glasses were always topped up and they even served the rice onto our individual plates for us.

For two mocktails, two entrees, two mains and rice, it came to $43.50 per person (with the 25% discount, only $32.60 per person). Even without the discount, I thought this was a very reasonable price for a good quality two-course meal in Canberra and I couldn't wait to come back to try more menu items!

*All dishes were paid for by The Food Avenue.

The Low-Down on Kinn Thai Eatery type: Thai restaurant What to order: Crab roll, Crispy soft shell crab, Crispy Pork Belly Best for: Quickie dinner before a movie or theatre show Website: Phone: 0262471277, 0477422203 Address: Shop FG08, 125 Bunda St, Canberra

Kinn on Urbanspoon

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Yum cha at AKIBA


Sometimes, there's just nothing better than having yum cha on the weekend. AKIBA, a trendy Asian fusion restaurant, opened in December last year in Civic (check out my review of their non yum cha menu). And now they are doing yum cha on the weekends. This was the third week they had been running yum cha, so Linda and I decided to check it out!


I love being able to see food on trolleys before ordering it! That way, if something doesn't look very appealing - you don't have to get it!


On this occasion, we were seduced by the pork dumpling (shaomai) with xo sauce, the prawn wonton and the pork belly with plum and plum dressing. All dishes we tried were $10 each.


Out of the three dishes pictured above, my favourite would have to be the deep fried pork belly. I could taste an acidic element, which cut through the richness of the meat and paired beautifully with the sweetness of the plum slices. This was the most value-for-money dish we ordered.


The pork dumpling tasted fairly average on its own, but the xo sauce really brought it to life. I would have loved more than half a teaspoon of that sweet, salty and slightly spicy xo sauce on each dumpling. At $2.50 per dumpling, I thought it was a very pricey dish. The prawn wonton was deep fried and I could see actual prawn when I bit into it. But again, at $2.50 per wonton, I didn't think it was good value for money. The accompanying sauce was quite unusual. From memory, I think it was black sesame and garlic but it wasn't a great combination with the prawn wonton. An yuzu mayo sauce might have been a better dipping sauce.


I know it doesn't look like much, but inside the delicate dumpling wrapper - the shiitake mushroom dumpling filling wowed us with flavour. The chilli oil and vinegar sauce was also the appropriate dipping sauce we had been waiting for all meal.


One of my favourite things when I go to yum cha is the green tea that accompanies the food. Yum cha food can be a bit greasy, so the tea helps to take away the greasy mouthfeel. Just so you know, at AKIBA the first pot of green tea is free, but after that, it's a steep $4 per pot.

Overall, I thought the food was good, but not the most delicious yum cha I've had in Canberra. The expensive price tags didn't help either. But I loved being able to enjoy yum cha al fresco. Most yum cha restaurants can get quite noisy as patrons tend to be jammed in close. And there is also a sense of urgency when trolleys come around to grab food before the trolley wheels away. Then you often end up with tons of food on the table that goes cold before you get to it. The yum cha experience at AKIBA is much more leisurely by comparison. And the service by the attentive staff was a refreshing change to the abrupt service often found at usual yum cha establishments.

Do you prefer cheap and cheerful traditional yum cha? Or do you like a more upmarket and leisurely yum cha experience? Comment below :)

Akiba on Urbanspoon

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