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Tue - Sat
18:00 - 22:00
€€ The fixed menu is 45€
The curries and the larb

Kin Dee

the finer touch on thai

Jul 25th, 2017

When Schöneberg’s Thai institution Edd’s closed earlier this year, the devoted regulars of Edd’s were outraged to see their beloved refuge be replaced by another Thai restaurant. Chances are they might never get over their loss, because while the new tenant on Lützowstraße also offers Thai fare, these restaurants are fundamentally different and the ambition of Kin Dee exceeds the ones of Edd’s by far. So to the dismay of all Edd’s regulars, it’s time to move on and embrace the fact that your new neighbourhood Thai will be famous beyond its Kiez, city and possibly even country.

“It is a wildly ambitious restaurant project that seeks to push the concept of authenticity around Thai cuisine to a level that might not even exist in the actual land of smiles.”

Kin Dee is Thai for “eat well” and was conceived between the brains of chef Dalad Kambhu, the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija and the restaurant group behind modern Berlin watering holes such as Grill Royal, Pauly Saal and Dóttir headed up by owners Stephan Landwehr and Boris Radzun and manager Moritz Estermann. It is a wildly ambitious restaurant project that seeks to push the concept of authenticity around Thai cuisine to a level that might not even exist in the actual land of smiles.

“Dalad Kambhu’s plan to set her own stamp on contemporary Thai cooking was first tested during a pop up she did at Dóttir in January 2017, an experience that made her the talk of town and literally blew my mind…”

Dalad Kambhu’s plan to set her own stamp on contemporary Thai cooking was first tested during a pop up she did at Dóttir in January 2017, an experience that made her the talk of town and literally blew my mind in one of the most captivating and balanced Asian food experiences that had crossed my taste buds. The opening of a full-scaled restaurant in March 2017 was the only, logical conclusion.

“The opening of a full-scaled restaurant in March 2017 was the only, logical conclusion.”

The story of Chef Dalad explains her out-of-the-box thinking for her cooking. Born and raised in Thailand she spent her early 20s in New York, where she studied and modelled while she worked in the restaurant scene. After a quick kitchen job in Paris she landed in Berlin where a connection between the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija and the Grill Royal crew led to the pop up at Dóttir. One year later, Chef Dalad devotes her days at Kin Dee to honouring the cuisine of her ancestors by making it her own.

“…have a conversation with Dalad and you’ll realize that she spends every wake minute thinking about how she can take her dishes to new levels.”

Her food is very rooted in original Thai cuisine, but have a conversation with Dalad and you’ll realize that she spends every wake minute thinking about how she can take her dishes to new levels. Two things are imperative to her: Never compromise on the quality of ingredients and never forget about the traditions of Thai cooking and eating techniques. On a plate this means replacing classical Thai ingredients with regional alternatives where it enhances quality, like papaya for kohlrabi or pike perch for sea bream, while still making sure that the dishes are unmisstakingly Thai.

“On a plate this means replacing classical Thai ingredients with regional alternatives where it enhances quality”

As a mortal you will be subjected to her work in the form of a tasting menu ranges from seven to nine courses. But don’t be fooled by the concept of a tasting menu, the sophistication of the space (that’s lined with Tiravanija’s art) or the outrageously beautiful plates – the food is very simple.
Light and cold plates like a kohlrabi Som Tham, a pork larb and Kambhu’s version of Miang Kham, where she’s using endive leafs as a replacement for betel leaves (a smart and refreshingly crunchy vessel for the taste explosive mix of peanuts, lime pieces, chilis and onions) are eventually complemented by warm dishes. The whole fried pike perch comes with an incredible tamarind sauce, a green beef curry with eggplant. The ingredients of the curry are as traditional as it gets, but the execution and quality of this dish exceed any ordinary curry experience. The buttery soft eggplant pieces are slightly charred, the beef cheek perfectly cooked and the curry so smartly balanced that I quickly raise my internal bar for just how good a Thai curry can be.

“But don’t be fooled by the sophistication of the space, the concept of a tasting menu or the outrageously beautiful plates – the food is very simple.”

A seared pork chop comes with pickled plums and a plum tomato nahm prick, a condiment where the intense notes of sour, spicy and sweet take your palate on a ride to new territories just before you contemplate how sensationally well this sauce works with the pork. The same thing goes for the turmeric chicken that arrives with similar sidekicks in form of lightly pickled cucumbers and an insanely delicious jaew dipping sauce that gets its punch from dried chilis and a boatload of other ingredients. Would dishes like these two be better if the meats received some action on a proper grill? 100% yes. We can only hope there is a green egg or at least a lava grill under Kambhu’s Christmas tree this year.

“The buttery soft eggplant pieces are slightly charred, the beef cheek perfectly cooked and the curry so smartly balanced that I quickly raise my internal bar for just how good a Thai curry can be.”

Go to Kin Dee today and you might find a whole new array of dishes on your tasting menu, all depending on seasonality and Kambhu’s level of inspiration. Are they all as great as Kambhu wants them to be? No, not yet. The constants however are the promise of one of the best contemporary Thai experiences available in Germany right now supported by the perks of starting a restaurant with one of the most resourceful restaurant groups in Berlin: A flawlessly managed booking experience, well trained staff and a very smart wine list with a selected number of bottles from the old world. Kin Dee is a restaurant that already in its infancy raises the bar for innovation in Berlin and we’re lucky to have Dalad Kambhu in our midst.

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Kin Dee Berlin Corner

Kin Dee Berlin Green Beef Curry

Kin Dee Berlin Fried Fish

Kin Dee Berlin Fried Dorada

Kin Dee Berlin Turmeric Chicken

Kin Dee Berlin Venue

Kin Dee Berlin Dessert Coconut Ice Cream

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