It’s not immediately obvious what ‘Kiwi cuisine’ actually means but Kai, the handsome eatery that opened on Sathorn Soi 12 earlier this year, makes an impressive fist of answering the question. Run by the same people who own Snapper on Sukhumvit Soi 11, Kai emphasizes quality ingredients while retaining uncomplicated presentations; the produce is allowed to speak for itself… a fundamental aspect of Kiwi cuisine.
There’s a noticeable skew towards seafood on the menu but the all-day dining concept allows for prime cuts of New Zealand meat and an impressive selection of burgers and sandwiches. Kiwis, after all, don’t need to be asked twice to sing the praises of their lamb and beef.
Try the Canterbury Plains sandwich (B320), which comes packed with succulent New Zealand lamb, mint paste, honey-roasted carrots and rosemary potato. Or the Mini Moa (B300) with BBQ chicken, lettuce, cucumber and tomato. There’s no attempt to reinvent the wheel here – this is unpretentious but immensely satisfying fare and the extra attention paid to finding quality ingredients pays dividends. The proteins burst with colour and flavour, while the greens add a delicious crunch.
That said, it’s the seafood elements that really stand out and elevate the menu. There’s a refinement to these dishes that allows Kai to pivot from being an attractive cafe-style venue by day to a viable evening dining spot.
Try, for example, the South Pacific ceviche (B350), made with gurnard marinated in lemon juice, garlic, ginger and chilli, topped with tomato, red onions, coriander and coconut cream. The citrus tang wonderfully offsets the natural flavours of seafood. Also good are the grilled wild tiger prawns (B680) basted with garlic and parsley butter.
Hard to ignore too are the top-shelf Bluff oysters (four for B560), served with a squeeze of lemon and malt vinegar on the side. The mussels (B240) are also excellent, dressed up a little more extravagantly with lashings of Mornay sauce and herb stuffing. Fish and chips is more basic but no less enjoyable. Go for the Orange Roughy (B550) or Southern Hake (B450), served crumbed and pan-fried alongside a generous portion of thick-cut chips. They’re a well-executed staple on Kai’s menu, which specializes in straightforward dishes created with real pride in the produce.
Wash all this down with a Kiwi craft beer or a crisp white wine and what you have is another appealing culinary destination in one of the city’s emerging food hubs.
Kai New Zealand
Sathorn Soi 12 | 0 2635 3800 | kai-bangkok.com