Kinki – the new cool bar-cum-restaurant at the Rainhill Rooftop – combines art, music, and great food for foodies of all persuasions.
By Percy Roxas
What, another Japanese restaurant in Bangkok? Don’t we have more than enough already? But wait, this is not just your usual Japanese restaurant. And this is obvious from the moment you set foot in it. Kinki, located on the rooftop of the Rainhill Complex on Sukhumvit 47, is described as Japanese with an urban attitude. If you’re not after catchphrases, that translates to a restaurant-cum-bar with a very young Japanese inspired spirit; not traditional Japanese restaurant as we know it, but more like a party restaurant where art (graffiti) and music enhance the inspired food and beverages for a true sensual feast.
The Kinki concept was imported from Singapore where it has become something of an iconic place to be, according to Sabina Ahuja, who is marketing manager of Kinki Bangkok, which opened just three months ago.
“I lived in Singapore for two years and that’s how I knew about the brand,” Sabina tells us. “My friends were always talking like: ‘I’m going to Kinki,’ ‘I wanna go to Kinki” – so I’m like, what is this Kinki place? Is it a bar? Is it a restaurant? I really didn’t know what to expect!”
When she finally went to Kinki, she realized that it’s a really nice place (to put it mildly). “They really put art into the concept of the restaurant. And it has a real party atmosphere,” she says. “I really love what they do – everything, including DJ music really gets to you. You feel like, this place is posh but not too posh. As soon as you step inside you feel the difference.”
As in Singapore, Kinki Bangkok used the entire graffiti concept. It’s walls are blazing with art done by popular Thai graffiti artists, NFE Crew. Kinki Bangkok also has a big patio outside where you can enjoy great sunsets every day, not to mention a spacious, but very friendly, inner sanctum. “Guests can eat and drink and stay all night, unlike in other Japanese restaurants where you just sit down, eat, maybe listen to some tunes for a while,” says Sabina, “but not very engaging. Again, this makes us different.”
Where did the concept come from? There’s a story about a town in Japan called Kinki and a chef, who’s also called Kinki. According to the story, Kinki wanted to be a sumo wrestler, and he tried his best to become one, but he couldn’t win any competition. So he decided that to do something in which he is really good at. He happened to be good in cooking and so to impress the sumos, he decided to become a chef. He opened a restaurant and indeed, all the sumos he had lost to in the ring came to his restaurant and enjoyed his food. So in a way, eventually Chef Kinki had good food, good company, and led a good life. Happy ending indeed.
Most people would think that it was just the name Kinki that inspired the restaurant. But we thought his story has a message that Kinki restaurant is now trying to tell people: It’s a restaurant with good food; to be enjoyed with good company, for all of us to have a good life.
How good is the food? Amazing to say the least: simple, but nice,fresh, and interesting. It’s not just the flavors; it’s also the presentation. In most dishes, a sense of drama is achieved by the meticulous placements of every element of the dish on the plate. The tai carpaccio (thinly sliced snapper with shio konbu and Kinki’s truffle dressing –Bt380) was sensational, with a delicate taste that is rich, light, and satisfying. The foie gras and scallop sushi (pan-seared foei gras with Hokkaido scallop-Bt350) was even more jaw dropping, something special — exquisite to the very last bit. A rather unique starter was the momotaro tomato (with ginger dressing-Bt140), the lipstick red color of which seduces you in temptation. A simple fresh tomato made more exciting by sheer creativity.
And they kept on coming: the flavors and textures starting from lightly delicate to heavy rich, teasing your taste buds one after another: The dragon maki (prawn tempura, unagi, avocado and snow crab – Bt350) fires up the appetite even more as you let it tango inside your mouth; the spicy pork miso cod (pan-seared cod with Kinki’s pork floss miso-Bt350), with its yummy melt-in-the-mouth finish; the Kinki style okonomiyaki (pizza of Hokkaido scallop, prawn, apple wood smoked bacon, sweet onions and mozaralla-Bt320), another signature that tantalizes; the spiced miso Chammame (Chammame sautéed in spicy miso, garlic and soy-Bt120), and even the humble garlic yaki-maki (fragrant garlic rice-Bt40) – all turning a simple food tasting into a true gastronomic feast. If at all, the dishes show how versatile Japanese cuisine can be and how amenable they are to experimentation and innovation.
But we haven’t even tried yet other specials in the menu, which looks attractive on its own. Obviously, the chefs have been putting a lot of attention to seafood, all fresh and imported, Oh, and did we forget to mention that washing them down with saketini (a favorite of gentlemen like us) and rambutini, just two of many creative cocktails on their comprehensive drinks’ list, made the food more interesting?
Definitely, foodies of all ages will find Kinki a delight, although Sabina says their main target market are those high-spending 25-40 year olds. But with prices ranging between Bt280 and Bt300-something more or less, depending on food of course, Kinki is affordable posh, which is definitely a great idea in this side of the city where a lot of expats live.
“Sometimes people come to our place and say this is a cool bar, and when they try the food, they realize it is more than just a ba. They are really amazed at how good our food are,” says Sabina. “That’s why I say we’re like the sweet spot: we’re not just a bar or a restaurant, We’re a lifestyle destination, which fits the whole concept of those who live and come to the Thonglor area.”
Still on a soft launch period, Kinki is planning bigger events ahead after a grand opening that will soon be announced. But they are already doing a lot of things such as the “Ladies Night on Wednesdays, as well as the house event on Friday, which Sabina says have been going great. They do private events too – and add a touch of urban attitude to them, we suppose.
“I think Bangkok really needs something different,” says Sabina, adding that Kinki is a brand she really believes in.“If you look at it, people are dining out these days not because they want to eat outside but because it’s part of their lifestyle. Dining-out has become a lifestyle. Kinki offers a good time at a place that has a different vibe and basically combines everything that you are looking for: art, music, great food!”
777 Sukhumvit Soi 47