A long overdue catchup with some workmates triggered a venture into this new-ish addition to the infamous Victoria St restaurants. From the get-go, Jinda Thai already proved itself a little different from the others by being in a little alleyway just off the main strip. I would never have thought to look there. But once found, the venue proved to be spacious and inviting. The large windows let in rays of natural light warming up the “cosy-ed up” industrial inspired façade.
To start off the meal, we had the som tom salted crab salad, the grilled beef salad and the yum nam with rice balls. I had high expectations for the crab salad but unfortunately it did fall short. There was barely any meat in there, just mostly shell. Although these crunchy morsels did contain bursts of fresh flavour when chomped on. Please don’t simply swallow. The rest of the salad was a generic Thai papaya salad. Warning, this is an extremely spicy dish which ended up burning my unsuspecting friend, setting him up for pain for the rest of the meal.
The grilled beef salad was my favourite salad out of the bunch. Although personally I thought it was a little overcooked for a medium rare beef. But the lemongrass and aromatic herbs were delicious in combination. The yum nam was not the kind of dish I would order (not a fan of mince meat). But what drew us to it was the supposed rice balls in it, which we did not see nor taste. The preserved mince pork along with the rest of the tangy salad dressing was nothing spectacular.
We ordered our neur yang cooked medium rare, which was such a good decision because the meat was so tender and soft. If eaten alone, the beef is a little bland but the accompanying nam jim dipping sauces provide a delicious combination. I was a little apprehensive when I first saw this little pile, but you’d be surprised at how much meat unravelled from it. This was possibly my favourite dish of the night. The son in law eggs were yummy but because they were covered in a bucket-load of dried shallots it reminded me of instant migoreng.
The green chicken curry was very sweet and a great Thai food staple. The jungle curry was a hit and miss with some on our table. It came with its own tea light to keep it warm, which was intriguing. But it was the pork that deterred some people due to the presence of crunchy cartilage. Personally, I have never really enjoyed cooked fruits in my curry even if it did add a unique sweetness.
The fried rice and pad thai were the most uninteresting dishes of the lot but a good adjunct to all the other flavoursome dishes we had.
The idea of these noodles is that you can mix and match the different condiments to your tastes. Yes this was a fun idea…if it were actually explained to us. We were given the bowl by itself initially and thought it looked a little dry and bare. We grabbed one of the serving staff to enquire about the dish, and then they realised they forgot to give us the sauces. Even then, we were left with this array of things still unexplained. We ended up trying a little bit of everything, still not sure what the best combination would be. The dish tasted alright even with the random ingredients; gizzards just aren’t for everyone. Mine would have been better if my friend hadn’t dumped a whole heap of fish sauce in it.
These cake flavours change regularly so you do have to enquire about which ones are available on the day you’re there. We did not realise the “cakes” on the menu were actually”crepe” cakes, but I am definitely not complaining. The Thai milk tea was my favourite of the two as it tasted like the drink but in a deliciously creamy fluffy way. The green tea is just like it sounds, although the matcha could have been stronger to really overcome the sweet cream.
So I forgot to write down the names of these last 2 desserts (eep) but they were not amazing anyway. The top bowl seemed to have sour plums in an ice bath, which were strange and left unfinished by us. The second dish was a lot better. It features a sweet sticky rice with stewed sweet potato accompanied by coconut icecream. Individually they taste great but when all 3 go into one spoonful it goes to a whole different level. Not everyone agreed with me here. Then again, I like very contrasting textures and feelings in my food. This had warm, cold, sticky, mushy and sweet all in one. A little too random for some, I know.
I thoroughly enjoyed the food and the atmosphere greatly, but at the end of the day it was the service that let me down. Of course, I understand that they are an extremely busy place.
The hype around Jinda Thai is definitely worth gossiping about. Not only did it provide delicious authentic Thai food, the laid back environment was perfect for catching up with friends.