We all know that Copenhagen is at the centre of some of the more interesting western cooking, but who could have thought that you would find some of the best modern Thai cooking here.
It all started in 2006 when Chef Patron and Sommelier Henrik Yde Andersen opened Kiin Kiin together with his business partner Lertchai Treetawatchaiwong. Henrik had a background from fine dining restaurants such as The Paul in Copenhagen, but he had also spent several years in Thailand learning and acquiring a love of Thai cooking. Coming home he had the vision of opening a fine dining restaurant but with Thai food, which most people see as a contradiction.
They chanced and started it in a dodgy area in a place where the cellar used to be a drug stash, and looking back it has been quite a trip. The neighbourhood has developed and Kiin Kiin recently was contracted by the Kempinski to open a fine dining Thai restaurant in Thailand which has caused some debate there, with a Danish person reinventing Thai cooking.
Kiin Kiin means loosely translated “come and eat”. This is also how the evening starts out. Seated in the lounge downstairs you are treated to an array of snacks with the purpose of creating an atmosphere of Thai street cooking. The menu changes several times per year but an example of the street food can be hor mok with mackerel, fried lotus root, soy meringue with cashews, prawn crackers… all very delicious and tantalising.
To accompany the starters they have a great selection of wine, but even better the beer. It is specially brewed in cooperation with Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, a world name in beer brewing. Their Dim Sum beer with lemongrass and coriander notes is a perfect match to the street food starters.
The place and interior is trendy decorated in a style that gives a sense of being somewhere in Asia; there are Buddhas, wicker chairs, mango wood furniture and warm bamboo lamps throughout the place. The journey even starts when entering where there is a mild fragrance of cinnamon and clover. Other fragrances such as flowers, sandalwood, lemon grass are present, not overwhelming but fitting with the place and food.
Even when dinner starts upstairs you are treated not only with taste but a wonderful fragrance when eating the soup, since there is no spoon, you have to drink from the bowl and can not avoid smelling the fragrant lobster soup served with dim sum. There is only a fixed menu and no à la carte option. With the menu you have the choice of either a wine or juice pairing menu. Both go well with the food. Since Henrik is a trained sommelier the wine list has over 1,200 references and of those around 500 riesling, one of the largest riesling collections in the world. Riesling, grüner veltliner, gewürtztraminer together with red wines with low tannins such as gamays, pinots, are all great matches with spicy food where you also find sweetness and a lot of flavours. The juice menu is recommendable not only for the choice, but also because with some dishes it is an even better match than the wine.
The food is served on beautiful royal Copenhagen porcelain which is somewhat mirroring the style of cooking. Kiin Kiin is not traditional nor authentic Thai cooking, it is a modern interpretation of Thai cooking from someone who brings in other thoughts and techniques. The red curry with mussels is great, but it is frozen red curry where the coldness balances with spiciness. Tom Kha is a traditional coconut soup, but with a quail and some pinot noir it is something more. The flavours are traditional and you will find the freshness of ingredients that you normally would expect in Thai cooking, but Henrik takes it to a fine dining level by using other cooking techniques, ingredients and matches. When it comes to the desserts and petits fours it is more western cooking with Thai ingredients, but still very enjoyable even though some of the petits fours are a bit too grand.
Service will be relaxed and most of the time very professional even though the pace of the meal can be a bit uneven. Henrik Yde Andersen is also very present in the dining room with great hospitality and effort to give you a fine dining Thai experience. At the end of the meal you can enjoy the petits fours again in the relaxed lounge, recommended is to order something from their tea menu to accompany the treats.
Written by Joakim