Restaurant Reviews


A lively, creative take on classic Thai flavours is spicing up the lives of Adelaide locals and visitors alike, writes KATIE SPAIN.
Diners seated at Kiin restaurant in Adelaide.Jack Fenby
73 Angas Street, Adelaide, SA

Anyone who’s explored the bustling backstreets of Bangkok will know the chaos of street vendors touting bowls of steaming khao gaeng, flame-licked meat on sticks, and weathered hands shredding papaya destined for spicy som tam salad. Sensory explosions like these are difficult to re-live on home turf, even for just a moment.

Yet Kiin, which means “eat” in Thai, does exactly that. Traditional Thai is the inspiration, but executive chef Ben Bertei applies an inventive, modern touch. Bite-sized prawn and lychee pop sticks arrive dusted with chilli sugar-salt, a savoury heart-starter in lollipop form. It’s unapologetically fun, as is the red curry cheeseburger, an oozing slider of provolone, “ketsup” and fried onion.

Kiin opened quietly in Adelaide’s CBD in late 2022, led by co-owners Bertei and David Wickwar. The pair chose a former Chinese restaurant next to the Royal Theatre as the place to deliver modern Asian cuisine to South Australia, both moving interstate to do so. An impressive refurbishment transformed shabby to chic. To the left of the vast, warehouse-like space, a narrow open-plan kitchen is flanked by bench seating, while a smattering of tables host shared long lunches, and gatherings of the convivial kind.

Kiin in Adelaide's slick bar with high seats lined up and bartender wearing apron.

British-born Wickwar works the room with enthusiasm, spruiking emerging South Australian wine producers, European gems, and a Thai-inspired cocktail list, which includes the Bai Toey Negroni that delivers soothing notes of pandan and spiced coconut bitters.

Bertei cut his teeth under Martin Boetz at Melbourne’s Longrain, and developed a following at Queensland’s Spirit House, Longtime and Same Same. A recent trip to Bangkok set creative sparks flying, adding a new layer of excitement to his offering, particularly in the Bowon curry (Bertei’s secret recipe), inspired by an encounter with a pork dish in a backstreet café. The tender meat, with pops of pickled mustard greens, sour pineapple and chilli, is as comforting as a firm Thai massage.

His seasonal salads are memorable, too. A red sensation pear som tum sees chunks of fruit and heirloom tomatoes tumble for attention across vintage crockery (the flower-fringed style of porcelain you find in your nana’s sideboard).

Even a trip to the Kiin bathrooms is memorable. There, the late Anthony Bourdain’s adventures in Thailand can be heard through the speakers. If that doesn’t warm the heart, the Thai-ra-misu will. The medley of spiced rum, vanilla tea, mascarpone and toasted coconut channels the Italian classic (and Wickwar’s time at Melbourne’s Italian restaurants Sapore and Vaporetto Bar & Eatery) with a Thai twist.

On Saturday afternoons, a resident DJ adds to the bustle. And during Adelaide’s busy festival season, there’s arguably no better, nor fun, place to grab a pre- or post-performance bite.

73 Angas Street, Adelaide, SA
Ben Bertei
Price Guide
Opening Hours
Lunch Wed-Sat, Dinner Tue-Sat

Related stories