If one of the Inngern siblings (Roselyn, Shakris and Bank) cut their thumb on a peeler, they’d bleed palm sugar, lemon grass and hospitality. Their dad launched Tooley Street stalwart Suchard shortly after arriving from Thailand in 1975, then followed it up with local spin-off Suchard Freehouse around 15 years ago. When he decided to sell the one-time pub, it was his kids – now in their twenties – who insisted on taking it over. Thus, Kin + Deum (‘eat and drink’) was born. It’s the best of East meets West, of young meets old.
The dining room is a study in laid-back minimalism. Stripped to its bare, beautiful, Borough bones, there are lofty factory windows and original floorboards, offset by the calm serenity of plain walls and the occasional high-shelved pot plant. What’s more old-school is the number of dishes (daunting) and the size of portions (generous). Not that this is necessarily a bad thing: it just means you’ll need to take a lot of friends if you’re going to make meaningful inroads on the menu. And you will definitely want to, because the Bangkok-inspired plates are, on the whole, stunning.
‘Get the rice red curry salad’ counselled our lovably genial waiter, when we pressed him to go beyond merely declaring that ‘everything is delicious’. My special thanks to him, because it was the highlight of the night. A crunchy, chewy tumble of spiced rice clusters – think wet, savoury granola – strung through with whispers of scallions, fresh coriander leaves, slivers of red onion and ginger, and creamy whole cashews. Ripples of lime cut through the salt-sweet backdrop, followed by short, sharp smacks of heat from tiny chillies. The menu describes it as ‘our late night snack’. I’d happily eat it every hour of the day.
There were moreish breaded things, with equally irresistible sauces, from a soft aubergine with a tangy tamarind dip to strips of succulent sea bass bathing in a luxuriant, warming red curry, the occasional ray of fragrant holy basil glimmering through. Then, some classics, like the pitch-perfect som tam, a kaleidoscope of fresh, colourful veg (pale papaya, verdant beans, cherry tomatoes) studded with toasted peanuts. Or pad kee mao, an enormous tangle of wide, slippery noodles loaded with chunks of tender chicken (there are beef, prawn or veggie options, too). Each layer revealed a little more hidden complexity: crunchy green beans, bamboo shoots, sweet, soft onions, shimmering cabbage, extra holy basil and tiny but ferocious daggers of bird’s eye chillies. It’s fiery.
Only the weeping tiger steak, which was full of flavour but disappointingly chewy, showed the briefest slip in standards. Because dessert – a bowl of bua loy – was a strong return to form. Squidgy little rice dumplings bobbed around in warm, creamy coconut milk. There was a low, salty note, the perfect baseline to the quiet melody of sweet pandan. It tasted just like Bangkok.
Kin + Deum is the full shebang: a place of bold, exciting, unapologetic flavours, served in a simple, stylish space by genuinely lovely staff. It’s a triumph. Just go.