Photographs: David Straight
Sometimes, you want something a bit better than fluorescent lights and Chinese gameshows. So let us rejoice in the third restaurant opening of Jasper and Ludo Maignot and Celeste Thornley (L’Oeuf & Chinoiserie), northern-Thai all-dayer Kiss Kiss. There are communal wooden tables, pastel mosaics, indoor palms and kitschy parasols; the cocktail menu is a Viewmaster.
The food is good: northern-style Thai, so it’s sour and tangy. It’s also fun and cheap. By day, there’s muesli with rose-kissed yoghurt ($13.50) served with lemongrass-stewed apple, and there’s a fragrant Scotch egg ($19), redolent with kaffir lime and served with sour pickled cabbage and pumpkin puree – bloody delicious. The fish cakes ($19) are served with srihacha hollandaise – though we struggled to find the fish on one visit. And we loved an intriguing crispy rice salad ($18.90) served with pork sausage and herbs.
At night there are sensational ribs ($16) with Jaew sauce (a warming dry chilli), a side dish that could contend with any main. There’s also a serviceable Pad Thai, obviously, and a whole deep-fried snapper ($21.50) with a tamarind-garlic-chilli sauce, at once sweet and tangy and sour. The pork belly curry ($16) is good – though not the best we’ve had, a bit off balance. But the sai oua ($16) – northern-style sausage, the litmus test of any northern Thai restaurant – is superbly fragrant, served with a blistering naan phrik num.
Our only gripe? The service can be a little haphazard: in particular, they have a till system that saw one of our reviewers wait 15 minutes to pay. But that was in its opening weeks and it’s easy to like Kiss Kiss – expect to see more joints like this. KR & SFG
HOURS Lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Sunday.
ADDRESS 1 Rocklands Ave, Balmoral, ph 600-3076. No website but here is the Facebook page.
IMPORTANT DETAILS No bookings. Get in early or go late.