After a few months working my butt off I decided it was time for a night out with the better half. Somewhere with a taste of the exotic was what we had in mind, and a friend of mine knew just the place.
Kinnaree Thai has been serving up the best Thai cuisine in Birmingham as far back as 2007. In the same year it won the Excellence in Tourism award. It sits on the waterfront behind the Mailbox and over the canal from the Cube.
From the outside it looks very warm and inviting, full of candles, statues and Thai curiosities. They don’t do minimalism here. The ladies who greeted us were courteous and welcoming, and led us to our table.
Over a soft drink we browsed through the menu, a long slim booklet. But it was very descriptive and full of wonder. We opted for the set menu of Sukhothai Era, mostly because it sounded like a beach resort.
It consisted of some tasty, if chewy, crab cakes, spring rolls, prawn dumpling parcels, and a fantastic chicken satay with peanut sauce. Alongside all this was a carrot carving that I could not replicate if you gave me all year.
For the next course we were given steaming bowls of hot and sour soup. It was spicy as hell, and it cleared up my head cold overnight! It was filled with tender pieces of chicken and oriental vegetables, nice and crisp.
After the starters were cleared we took a few minutes before the next course. I had first come across Kinnaree Thai when I visited their stand at the Taste of Birmingham festival last summer. They were demonstrating their achievements in fruit carving and decoration, something I have always held in awe.
A short while later our main course arrived in ornately decorated bowls. For my better half came a mild green chicken curry. For me a lovely stir-fried beef with a red chili paste. And to share came a stir-fried pork in oyster sauce. The beef was cooked to perfection, not too dry or overdone, nor too rare or chewy. The pork was lovely and tender, stewed in oyster sauce for some considerable time. It all came accompanied by fluffy, sticky jasmine rice.
I managed a fair amount but my better half was slightly over-faced by the meal. Thai food is amazing but you have to take it slowly. It is healthy and free of MSG.
By now the place was really starting to fill up with mid-week diners from the local hotels and apartment blocks. With the opening of the Cube hotel opposite, business looks set to boom for Kinnaree.
But could we manage a dessert? Better half said no, but I talked her into sharing one with me. We opted for deep-fried ice cream, more out of curiosity than anything. I mean, how do they do that?
It is a tricky process of taking a scoop of ice cream, coating it in a doughnut-like batter, freezing it again, then deep frying the whole package, like a fist-sized golden ball. We cracked open the crispy outer coating to reveal the still-frozen ice cream inside. It tasted like a doughnut, and we finished it in barely a minute. So much for feeling full!
We skipped coffee, settled up and thanked the attentive staff on the way out.
Kinnaree Thai is definitely worth a visit, especially mid-week. It is not expensive and is located in an area rich with bars for a pre-dinner drink.
Check their website here: Kinnaree Thai