There’s a new 25 seat Thai joint called Kin Kao opening soon at 903 Commercial Drive. It’s coming to us from chef Tang Phoonchai, a former Bangkok native, and Terrence Feng. I toured the construction site yesterday just as a floor treatment was drying. They’re only two weeks away and eager to get cooking.
To craft the small, simple, clean, uncluttered space – which used to be the Bocadillo sandwich shop – they enlisted the help of local designers/architects David and Susan Scott of Scott & Scott, the same aesthetes who designed Bestie in Chinatown.
The food concept is a cross between home-style and street-style Thai with many of the dishes finding inspiration in what Phoonchai’s grandmother and housekeeper used to cook when he was a child. The menu I saw wasn’t set in stone, but there’s a good chance we’ll see items like red curry with duck and pineapple; a clam stir-fry with lemongrass, Thai basil and chili jam; palm sugar and oyster sauce-marinaded pork collar; deep fried whole fish with tamarind chili sauce; and sour cured ribs – not to mention usual suspects like Pad Thai, satays, and so on. Bottled beers will be in the vernacular, while the taps will see a few locals (eg. 33 Acres, Brassneck).
What’s in a name? Kin Kao translates as “Eat Rice”, which I’m told is slang for “let’s eat”, similar to eat Mandarin che fan. When it opens next month (on February 3rd if all goes to plan), Kin Kao will serve lunch and dinner six days a week (closed Mondays). Get a feel for it by checking out the “before and after” shots below.