Kinnaree Thai restaurant won’t win awards for originality. Décor plays upon well-trod Thai tropes (gold wall stencils; bhodhi tree images; dark timber and silks in eye-catching colors, heavy silver cutlery and lovely ceramic serveware) and the extensive menu includes all the usual suspects (pad thai, banana blossom salad, chicken in green curry, tom yam gong). This is, of course, not in and of itself a bad thing; Thai food enthusiasts looking for the familiar will feel right at home here.
It’s hard to go wrong with the do-it-yourself appetiser mieng kham, and Kinnaree’s boasts crispy wild pepper leaves, prawns both fresh and dried, minced pickled cucumber instead of the usual chopped lime, and a tasty if very sweet coconut cream-based sauce. Sweet and coconuty also describes the yam huaplee (banana blossom salad), which features plump shrimp and pleasingly crispy shreds of flower. Phuek tod (deep-fried mini pyramids of mashed taro) are oily-soggy and served with a sweet plum sauce. Better here would have been the slightly tart chilli-and-fish sauce dip that arrived with the calamari we didn’t order but dove into, thinking it was the taro (Kudos to the restaurant for acknowledging its mistake and comping us the dish). One of our party pronounced the pad thai ordinary, but here I’ll give Kinnaree a pass, because traditional street foods such as pad thai (and our char koay teow) rarely translate well in a restaurant setting. Unanimously crowned star of the meal was the homok talay, a generous assortment of seafood in a smooth, sweetish yellow curry sauce.
Note the frequent appearance of the word ‘sweet’ and its variations in this review. Thai food is usually a roller coaster ride of punchy hot-sour tamed by salty-sweet, with a bit of fishy funkiness thrown. Yet like other dishes our nuer nam tok (grilled beef salad with mint) was two-dimensional, lacking any trace of sour or spicy to balance its sweetness (it was also missing from-the-grill char). To be fair the Malaysian palate does favour sweetness, and neither of my Malaysian dining companions missed the hot-sour element as I did. Service is excellent and the restaurant uses good, fresh ingredients (no wilted lettuce or brown mint leaves here).
If you like your Thai food on the mild and sweet side you’ll love Kinnaree. But to my mind a Thai meal should leave the taste buds singing an aria; mine departed the restaurant with more of a minute. Robyn Eckhardt
Kinnaree was shortlisted in the Best Thai / Indochinese Restaurant category of the Time Out KL Food Awards 2009 and 2010. Our food awards are 100% voted for by the people of KL. This way, we guarantee that popularity and consistent performance is rewarded.
|Venue name:||Kinnaree Thai Restaurant||Contact:|
72A Jalan Universiti
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 12noon-3pm, 6pm-10pm; Sun 6pm-10pm|