Thai cakes. We're talking flavours of Thai tea, young coconut, egg yolk and pandan slathered with cream. If you ever walked along Campbell Street in Sydney's Thai Town, you would have seen Ma Toom's cream-laden cakes out the front of a particular grocery store, beckoning you closer with its tortes and rainbow crepe cakes. They've moved around the corner to Pitt Street now, in the heart of Thai Town, perched at the entrance of the new Kin Senn Thai restaurant.
Ma Toom cake display at the front of Kin Senn
Kin Senn sits on the site formerly occupied by Muay Thai and then Similan Thai restaurants. It's a clever marketing tactic, with ever passerby slowing down as they walk past to check out the backlit display of cakes in the counter.
Toffee cake $5.50
Alongside the side counter you'll find an array of sweets, breads and buns. Most of them are packed up and ready to go for a takeaway treat.
Pandan cream puffs $4.80
Little choux pastries are piped with custard or pandan cream.
Moo ping grilled pork skewers $2 and
moo pung ping grilled minced pork skewers $2.50
The hot box at the front holds an army of grilled pork skewers for street-side snacking.
Grilled pork skewers
At the top are moo ping, chunky slices of marinated pork skewered and then cooked on the grill.
Moo pung ping grilled minced pork skewers
On the bottom shelf you'll find moo pung ping, made with minced and marinated pork that is flattened around each skewer before hitting the grill.
Dining room inside Kin Senn
The Kin Senn dining room is a step-up from most Thai restaurants - there's clearly been a thoughtful approach to its decor. Here it's cosy booth-style seating, wood feature walls, metal leaf light fittings and an arty display of suspended pot plants that add colour and cheer. The open entrance means the place can get a little chilly in winter but if the patio heater doesn't provide warmth, there's always the added incentive to eat more chilli.
Inside, it's mostly a crowd of Thai students and workers, a reassuring sign in this Thai restaurant strip. The menu is massive - over 20 pages - in a heavy compendium. Don't worry, there are plenty of pictures too.
Moo pung ping grilled minced pork skewers $2.50
We start with the moo pung ping, and are pleased to discover that ours are cooked fresh from the kitchen rather than taken from the hot box out the front. It's a soft and sweet mouthful of grilled pork mince, best dipped in the accompanying pot of chilli sauce.
Thai style chicken feet stewed in longan $9.90
Thai style chicken feet are different from the Cantonese black bean and chilli version you find at yum cha. These have been cooked in longan juice, giving them a tropical sweetness. They're not as fluffy either, but the skin is succulent and fragrant. Before we know it, there's a neat little pile of bones on our plates.
Thai style papaya salad with crispy pork belly $14.90
There are several versions of som tum papaya salad on offer. We pick the one with the crispy pork belly that turns out to be a disappointingly small size given the price tag.
American fried rice $13.90
American fried rice sounds like a crazy made up dish but our resident Thai ex-pat, The G-Man, assures this is a dish from his childhood. In Thailand, the exotic allure of American bacon and frankfurt sausages was something that all kids adored growing up.
And funnily enough, this dish ends up being one of our favourites of the night. The tumble of fried rice, seasoned with tomato sauce and studded with corn and peas, is undeniably comforting. Each spoonful can be combined with a different protein: fried egg, bacon, grilled frankfurters cut into a flower shape and a wickedly crispy skinned chicken thigh. I'd happily eat this to all myself on my next visit.
Mee grob lard nah with pork $10.90
The mee grob lard nah is another huge dish, a deep-fried nest of egg noodles served over a lake of gravy dotted with pork and vegetables. Dunk those noodles until they soak up the sauce or keep them separate so you can relish the noisy crunch.
Pad prik king crispy pork belly $15.90
We find the dishes without a carbohydrate component are all on the modest side when it comes to portioning. The pad prik king crispy pork belly could be easily polished off by one person. It's missing the strong zing of kaffir lime leaf that I adore, and the pork belly crackling is more soggy than crisp.
Pork lover eggs in a skillet $13.90
with crispy wonton $1
We finish up with eggs in a skillet, another common dish in Thailand that is rarely seen here. The pork lover version includes barbecue pork, Chinese sausage and crispy pork belly. The entire lot is then covered with several eggs, cooked so the yolks still remain runny. It's the kind of dish you could definitely appreciate with a hangover. Get the crispy wontons for an extra buck - worth it for the crunchfest scattered on top.
Mixed ice dessert $5.90
Sadly they'd sold out of tub tim grob or red rubies when we visited, water chestnuts coated in tapioca starch served with coconut cream. We settle with the mixed ice dessert, a mix of toddy palm seeds, jackfruit, lychee and papaya drenched in shaved ice and coconut milk.
Deep fried ice cream $9.90
They also do a deep fried ice cream wrapped in filo pastry. We kinda miss the old skool deep fried ice cream balls covered in sponge cake and bread crumbs though.
Thai tea cake $5
If your sweet tooth still needs satiating, they'll happily let you grab extra desserts from out the front and add it to your bill. You'll have to eat out of the boxes and settle with plastic forks but it's not a bad trade-off for the takeaway pricing.
We have the Thai tea cake, a sponge cake and cream combo with a squiggle of Thai milk tea paste across the top.
Pandan cream puff $4.80
The pandan cream puffs are pretty darn addictive, soft choux pastry piped with a pandan flavoured cream.
Pandan and young coconut cake $5.50
But our winner is the pandan and young coconut cake, mostly for the quivering crown of young coconut flesh.
And what does Kin Senn mean? The G-Man translates it as "hits the spot". We reckon it does a pretty good job of it too.
Kin Senn and Ma Toom Bakery
421 Pitt Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9212 0721
Open 7 days 9.30am til late
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8/26/2015 08:19:00 p.m.