Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Kiin Kiin, Copenhagen

In the past few years I have read many articles about Noma that I perceived the shift of gastronomical center from continental Europe to Nordic. Since I am a foodie from fine dining in some of the best restaurants in France, Spain, Germany and New York, I decided to purchase a plane ticket using my mileage account in early August 2011 for a trip in May 2012. The itinerary was to stay in Copenhagen for four days and in Stockholm for five days. A few weeks after I reserved my plane ticket, NY Times had an article on Noma with the similar thought.

Kiin Kiin, Copenhagen – April 30, 2012

I and my companion made 11 reservations for our trip, nine dinner appointments and two lunch appointments. We arrived at Copenhagen on April 30 and had our 1st dinner at Kiin Kiin which was one of the two Thai-fusion style restaurants in the Michelin starred list. Kiin Kiin was awarded with one star. I had quite a few emails with owner/chef Henrik before we left for the trip. When we arrived at Kiin we were greeted by Henrik and treated with very warm hospitality. We felt like we were VIPs. We were led to sit down at the lounge which was decorated with oriental style furniture and decoration with very cozy feeling. Henrik explained to us how the dinner was going to be proceeded. It would start with Amuse Bush at the lounge. There were about six items listed on the menu. However, we were served with about ten items before we were led to the walk-in level for our dinner. The restaurant also had seating on the 2nd floor.

There were 3 items brought out in the 1st tray for the Amuse Bouche. One dish was a very thinly sliced lotus root with lime leaves, one was soy meringue with cashew, and the 3rd one was prawn cracker with tapioca pearls, tomato and chili. The lotus root was my favorite, the best vegetable chip that I have ever had. It had a very sophiscated and tasteful flavor. Henrik has informed me it was a long process to make it. It required a day of drying process after you sliced the lotus root followed by low temperature roasting in the oven. Lotus roots were sprinkled with grounded apple before serving. The 2nd tray brought to use had Samphire Tempura, Ming Kam crispy wonton, coriander bread with sesame and smoked Chiang Mai sausage. In addition, we also had a few other items. I could only remember fried shrimp balls. Then, we were led to the walk-in level for dinner.

The walk-in level has probably hundreds of woven baskets hung from the ceiling. Inside each basket there was a light to provide lighting. It also had Buddha’s pictures and statures displayed
1st course - “Soup based on Shellfish & Galanga. Chicken Satay with Crispy Chicken Skin and Crumble." It was a dish with varieties of shellfish and infused broth with Thai spices. It was delicious and not overwhelmingly spicy. The crumbled chicken skin was not greasy; it complemented chicken satay’s taste.

2nd course - “Salad with Orchids and Lemongrass, Grilled Prawns, Crispy Fish with Lemon and Green Mangoes." Prawns were from the Greenland Sea with a texture, quality and taste superbly superior. Hendrix informed me that the prawns were marinated overnight to enhance the taste.

3rd course - “Red Coconut Curry with White Asparagus & Litchee." This dish can be served in hot or cold forms. If it was in hot form, it was served with broth; if it was served in cold, it was served with sorbet. I requested for the cold one to keep my palate in balance.

4th course was “Foie Gras with Sweet Plum Wine & Ginger." I have found out that plum and/or plum wine go well with foie gras.

5th course - “Quail in Coconut Milk with Lime Leaves & Jasmine Rice." Since Kiin is a Thai-Nordic fusion style food, bread was not served, instead rice was served along with this course in case you were not full.

6th course - “Lemongrass Sorbet in Pineapple juice” as palate cleaner. It was very refreshing.

7th course - “Banana Cake with Salted Coconut Ice Cream."

All courses were superb. My favorite was Prawns and Quail. The texture and flavor of the Greenland Prawns were so sophisticated and tender, the best that I have ever had. It required not only the best quality; it also required good preparation work and techniques. The same with the Quail dish, while a piece of leg was crispy with skin on and not over-cooked; a piece of breast was cooked medium-rare. They are the true test of chef’s techniques and skills. Kiin Kiin definitely deserves the one Michelin star awarded.

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