Kiwi foodies advertise the undeniable appeal of New Zealand cuisine.by Thomas Sturrock
Diners in Bangkok may not immediately know what to expect when they come across a restaurant serving “New Zealand cuisine.” But upon entering Kai (●142/22–23 Sathorn Soi 12; 02 635 3800; www.kai-bangkok.com)—which means “food” in Maori—it is quickly apparent that these Kiwi foodies have a clear vision.
Run by the same guys behind Snapper on Sukhumvit Soi 11, Kai keeps the focus on quality produce presented in a straightforward fashion. Seafood features heavily, but Kai also branches out beyond that, allowing much-celebrated Kiwi lamb and beef to shine as well.
There’s an all-day dining approach to the menu, ensuring some serious sandwiches for anyone looking for lunch. The Canterbury Plains (THB 320) is stacked with gorgeous New Zealand lamb, mint paste, honey roasted carrots, and rosemary potato, and is definitely one of the highlights.
But as the sun sets and Kai morphs into a sleek, evening dining venue, it’s hard to shake the sense that the seafood dishes are the more upscale, more ambitious offerings.
For example, the South Pacific ceviche (THB 350), combines gurnard marinated in lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and chili, topped with tomato, red onions, coriander, and coconut cream. The Kiwi approach to food may be uncomplicated, but this is a spectacular dish.
Kiwi oysters are generally excellent, so by all means go for the Bluff oysters (four for THB 560). And no seafood banquet would be complete without trying Kai’s wholesome fish and chips, whether it’s the orange roughy (THB 550) or Southern hake (THB 450), battered and pan-fried alongside a generous portion of thick-cut chips.
Open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.