Why would someone prefer to eat Thai food in Denmark? That’s a really good question. One that also crossed my mind when I planned our itinerary for our visit to Copenhagen and came across Kiin Kiin. The answer is that Kiin Kiin is the only Thai restaurant in the world outside Thailand with a Michelin star. Since we’re not planning a visit to Thailand any time soon, and since I’m a really big fan of Thai food, Kiin Kiin duly made its way to our itinerary.
“Kiin Kiin” literally means “come and eat”. It was opened by Lertchai and Henrik Yde-Andersen 10 years ago, holding a Michelin star for 9 of those! In 2000, Chef Yde-Andersen went on a holiday in Thailand and ended up staying there, cooking for 4 years. Not long after he was already the proud owner of a Thai gourmet restaurant in Copenhagen. He is also a judge on the TV show MasterChef.
Kiin Kiin lately launched an impressive cookbook for the 10 years anniversary celebration, which was available for browsing on each and every table of the restaurant.
There is one set menu offered, which includes snacks followed by an eight course menu. This pleasure costs 975 kr. / $105 / 409₪, and add to that 50 kr. / $5.5 / 21₪ per person if you only want to stick to tap water (a nasty custom prevalent in most of Copenhagen’s restaurants).
Many Restaurants in Copenhagen are closed on Monday evening. Not so with Kiin Kiin – we were happy to be able to reserve dinner for our last night in the city. We arrived at 19:00 and were led to the lounge area, where we would spend the next 30 minutes nibbling on a myriad of snacks served in rapid-fire succession. The lounge features low-light and low-seating, with many Thai pictures and statues strewn around lending the space a relatively dark and mysterious feeling.
Some of the nibbles were extraordinary, like the Lotus Roots with Lime Leaves. It was perfectly crisp and probably the best vegetable chip I’ve had.
The Shrimp Cracker with Lobster Mayonnaise was another pleasant surprise.
The Miang kham is composed on a side table and then served on leaves. This is a traditional snack from Thailand which literally translates to “one bite wrap”. The dish usually consists of roasted coconuts shavings, chopped shallots, sour green mango, dried shrimps, garlic and more.
Salty Soy Meringue with Cashews and wasabi yogurt sauce on the side. It had a nice texture, but didn’t score too high with us. The recipe for this snack is available in their cookbook, where it’s stated that the idea for this dish actually came from a Spanish restaurant.
The Chiang Mai Sausage came with a show. The waiter arrived to the table with a glass cloche and asked us if we’ve been to Bangkok (we haven’t). He then lifted it to release the steam trapped inside and explained that the purpose is to imitate Bangkok’s scent. The smell spreading around was smokey and got us pumped to taste the sausage. Ultimately it failed to impress us as it had a weird texture, was a bit too mushy and slightly spicy.
The Chicken Satay Ice Cream was a strange and exciting idea, but didn’t pass our taste test. At least we got to try one extra weird thing.
The Bonito Flan had a great combination of textures – with the soft creamy flan, the crunchy fried onion and chip forming a nice umami flavor.
Lastly – the Aubergine Relish was very spicy and we would not mind passing it up.
All in all it was a great opening to our meal despite the fact that not every snack was to our liking. There is something fun about being surprised with every bite, and all the miniature dishes were really unique. Even if you don’t like something, everything is so tiny so you only have a bite or two from each dish and there are lots of them! If you do like something you are left with a taste for more.
After wrapping up the ex-snack-aganza we were invited to the restaurant proper, located on the second floor. The space here was more lighted with soft lounge-pop music playing in the background. In order to create a Thai bubble in the middle of a Nordic capital, Kiin Kiin makes great use of fragrances like lemon grass and five spices, as well as furniture pieces custom designed by Thai designers.
The restaurant was packed full of people and all tables were occupied. Unfortunately the service, which up until now was brilliant in the lounge, started going downhill from here. For example, the waiters pointed out that one of the first dishes served was the spiciest and yet they failed to make sure our water glasses weren’t empty. We had to hunt down a waiter to ask for some water while burning up from the spices. I would expect that the waiters would pay extra attention to the water, especially after stressing the spiciness of a dish.
The wait time between courses was way too long, serving as an extreme opposite to the fast pace of the snacks part. It definitely stretched an already long 8 course(!) dinner to a drawn out 5 hours long ordeal. Reading some reviews online, it appears as though this is a common problem in this restaurant.
Kiin Kiin sure does love its snacks, and we received two more dishes that do not appear on the menu. The first was a little cone filled with a liquid of thai flavors (put it all in your mouth at once or you’ll be enjoying a Thai-scented dress all evening) topped with coriander salad and nuts.
The first plate to hit our table is the duo: Koh Samui On Chaweng Beach and Soup Based on Galanga & Prawns. A very creative concept featuring drinking soup out of a straw from a bowl full of sand and sea shells. The trick, by the way, is a sealed bag placed underneath the sand filled with the soup liquide. The soup itself was spicy and comforting but nothing too special. The oysters bowl was one of my favorite dishes in the meal.
Salad with Celery Scallops & Spicy Marinate – When booking dinner we have notified the restaurant about Opher’s allergy to mint. Nonetheless – the next dish we received was mint based. The waiter only took Opher’s dish away, and since the dish had ice cream I had to start eating it before it would completely melt. Opher ended up watching me eat this dish followed up by me watching him eat. Married couple life.
“Pad Thai” with Tamarin & Peanuts was just OK.
Lobster with Thai Ginger and Sweet Basil was very aromatic and not too spicy. On the lobster pieces were laid crispy chips – one made of shrimp, one of carrot and one of onion. The sauce was made from a whopping 21 different ingredients. The lobster was perfectly cooked and accompanied by bell peppers. Sadly though it was not the star of the dish and the delicate lobster taste was overpowered by the other elements.
Next was the Tom Ka with Chanterelle Mushroom – a Thai coconut soup. Where is the soup you ask? The soup arrives in the shape of frozen nitrogen coconut bits. We loved the idea and the flavors of this dish.
The main dish was Braised Beef Massaman. It was the least appealing dish but had the most amazing veggie chips I ever had – garlic chip, kale chip and pickled radish. Given how good were the veggie chips in this dinner I honestly think the chefs should start selling those in bags worldwide for everyone to enjoy.
The first dessert, Citronfromage “Thai Style” had a cute gimmick. The waiter placed a ball on our table. Once opened into two separate bowls you discover the dish consists of two parts, one in the bottom bowl and the other hangs upside-down on the top bowl. The surprise didn’t end here! When the waiter started describing the dish he stated it has mint in it. Making a mistake twice in the same dinner with the same food allergy? This is a major blunder, definitely unexpected from a restaurant of this caliber and price range. To be honest at this point we weren’t very surprised, as the service just kept getting worse from the moment we went up to the restaurant floor. The waiter said he was sorry and returned to the kitchen with the dish, only to appear again later with the same dish. He explained that it was not, in fact, mint in Opher’s dish, but the kitchen simply failed to update him. Unprofessional.
The last dessert served was Sticky Rice with Poached Peaches. The dish arrives in a big silver bowl with cotton candy on top that melts beautifully under the coconut milk. It was simply amazing and I savoured every bite. Actually, it was so amazing that I took over Opher’s dish as well. (He didn’t protest; the dish was too sweet for him and he was already tired from all the food)
Kiin Kiin offers Innovative and creative presentation but the Dinner is veeeeeery long (and unnecessarily so). We arrived a little after 19:00 and left at 23:40 after simply giving up on the coffee. We’ve been to many, many multiple-course dinners but they never took so long to finish. The service was very slow and lacking, which detracted much from our experience.
When I arrived home I saw the SMS Kiin Kiin sent me to verify our reservation. This is message I got: “pls cf yr res kiin kiin”. I assume they meant to write “Please confirm your reservation, Kiin Kiin”. To me it feels disrespectful to send such a message. I think we paid enough money for them to afford writing a complete sentence.
Kiin Kiin Online: