Led by two hospitality veterans, Kiin will bring vibrant Thai-inspired dishes to the city in November.
Modern Asian restaurant Kiin to open on Angas Street
Seasoned chef Ben Bertei and sommelier David Wickwar have joined forces to launch Kiin, a modern-Asian restaurant set to open in November.
Taking up residency in the former site of Gurkha’s and Ming Room on Angas Street, Kiin will showcase Ben’s intricately crafted style of Thai developed over numerous stints in leading restaurants, including Brisbane’s esteemed SAMESAME.
73 Angas Street, Adelaide 5000
Wed—Sat: Dinner service
Thu—Sat: Lunch service
The front-of-house operations will be orchestrated by David, who opened popular Melbourne restaurant Vaporetto in 2016, before selling it last year.
Ben and David met in Melbourne in 2005, and have developed a deeply trusting relationship over their 17 years knowing each other.
“I didn’t even consider doing my own venue unless I knew I was going into it for somebody whose food I wanted to sell and get excited by,” David says.
“In my last place I had that, which was great. Then when this opportunity with Ben [came up, I knew] he would have the food side nailed down, and for me, that gave me peace of mind to make it an exciting venture.”
Earlier this year, the pair made the move to Adelaide with their families after seeing the city’s potential, and a gap in the food scene.
“Ben made the call that he wanted to settle in and move down to Adelaide… so we started doing a bit of research, and dining out, spending time in the city, seeing what people were doing, seeing what the industry was doing and just realised that there were some cracking restaurants here, like great produce, the city’s got a real buzz about it,” David says.
“And there weren’t a lot of options in terms of type of food Ben does. So we were quite excited by that, and it made us realise that we were making the right decision.”
Kiin’s menu will offer around 25 dishes, including burrata with nam jim served with roti bread, a red beef curry burger, and grilled snake beans with chill jam, coconut and lime.
Although the dishes are largely Thai-inspired with some “Euro feels in there”, Ben prefers to call it “Australian” – an ever-broadening category.
“I mean, what is Australian cuisine?” Ben posits.
“I was having this discussion yesterday with someone else – like, what is Australian cuisine to you? And if you honestly answer the question, well, I dunno. What is it? Well, I like Thai food, you like Italian food.”
The days of the Australian diet consisting of “meat and three veg” are “long gone”, Ben says. “I think Australia likes a wide range food. We’re multicultural. It’s what makes the country, it’s what we were built on.”
The menu will frequently rotate, with a focus on using seasonal produce as well as providing customers with “something new to look at”.
“It will sort of flow with the seasons, it won’t be strictly seasonal wholesale changes,” David says. “So for customers who come in more regularly, they don’t just get stuck with the same menu. We wanted to be a bit more fluid than that.”
“I’m excited about doing food that I can change when I want to and not be stuck on it,” Ben says.
As for drinks, David will program a wine list featuring 60-odd wines to complement Ben’s rotating menu. He wants to have some fun with the cocktails and bring in flavours and ingredients to recreate “some classics but tricked up a bit”.
They’ve brought on Emmeline Barwick from Georgie Shepherd Interior Design (Aurora, Bar Lune) and Sam Weckert from Tiger Build (Anchovy Bandit, Smokelovers) to create a “very pretty and comfortable fitout” featuring soft textures and neutral tones.
“It’s kind of a raw space that’s having a very pretty fitout dropped into it,” David says.
“It’s been a restaurant for decades, so whenever it was originally built, it had that feel that it was only ever going to be a restaurant – old school, with a closed kitchen.
“But then we saw the shape of it and realised that, you know, by knocking a couple of walls down and restructuring a couple of things, we can create a really modern, open feel to it.”
The restaurant will feature an open plan kitchen, with dining available both at the kitchen and bar.
“It’s been a lot of work to get it to the point where we want to get to from what it was. And we’re still in that, but we’re getting close”.
Kiin is located at 73 Angas Street and will open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, and lunch Thursday through Saturday. It is slated to launch in mid-November.
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