Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Jinda Restaurant in Abbotsford: a Thai gem

Jinda Restaurant
3-7 Ferguson Street, Abbotsford (map)
9419 5899
Open 7 days, 11am-11pm

Jinda Thai

Krua Thai 2 in Richmond has been on my 'to visit' list for some time now, ever since a Thai friend of mine told me that they serve some of the best boat noodles in town. Last week I learned that the same family behind Krua has opened a new, much larger restaurant called Jinda in the side street off Victoria Street between the railway line and Punt Road, behind the little string of Thai restaurants.

The converted warehouse space (formerly a clothing clearance outlet) is beautiful, with loads of natural light pouring in through the many windows. Gold-framed portraits of the Thai royal family hang above the kitchen and on the opposite wall hangs a portrait of Jinda (the woman the restaurant is named after). Open since mid-July, the restaurant is filled with Thai students and families day and night.

Jinda Thai

Jinda's specialty is Thai noodles ($6 a small bowl, $9 a large bowl), which I was determined to try on my first visit. Most can be ordered with or without soup, with your choice of noodles (rice stick, flat rice, rice vermicelli, egg or glass). I went with the spicy pork soup with crushed peanuts, chilli powder and chilli vinegar. Savoury, spicy and tangy in equal measures, it was addictive and I wish I'd worked up the nerve to order a second bowl.

Spicy pork soup

As well as including chilli powder the condiment station offers two types of chilli vinegar: one with simple sliced chillies in clear vinegar, the other in which the chillies are pounded and mixed with other spices.

Thai condiments

As well as traditional noodle dishes, the menu offers more modern items like larb crispy chicken on rice ($12.90). We didn't order any, but the next table had some pretty amazing-looking 'prawn twisters' - spring rolls whose ends were twisted like Christmas crackers.

Larb crispy chicken

Minced pork gra pow ($9.90 with fried egg $2 extra), enjoyed on my second visit. You can order all the suburban favourites such as Massaman curry and satay skewers, but I'd advise trying some of the more unusual dishes, such as the guay jab (a pork based brown soup with rolled rice noodles, crispy pork and offal) or the mee gati (rice vermicelli with minced pork, minced shrimp and a coconut cream). I look forward to working my way though the menu over many repeat visits...

Minced chicken gra powJinda by night

Friday, 4 October 2013

Doughboys Doughnuts pop-up in Melbourne CBD

Doughboys Doughnuts pop-up at Mr Nice Guy Thai
Shop J, 535 Little Lonsdale Street (enter via Healeys Lane), Melbourne (map)
9973 1761
Doughboys Doughnuts pop-up open 7-11am Monday-Friday (and maybe weekends in the future)
Mr Nice Guy Thai open lunch and dinner Monday-Friday, dinner only on weekends
UPDATE: Doughboys Doughnuts ended their pop-up at Mr Nice Guy Thai, but are now having a summer residency at the Mercat Cross Hotel, 456 Queen Street Melbourne - see their FB page for details and opening hours.


Popping up in the mornings for the next month or two at Mr Nice Guy Thai (the cute CBD sister cafe of Middle Fish) comes Doughboys Doughnuts, serving $4.80 doughnuts baked fresh from quality ingredients and "dipped on demand" with insanely sugary glazes. Joining them is Anthony from Market Lane Coffee, serving up ML coffee ($4) with characteristic skill and aplomb.


I recently returned from a five week trip to the US, where I tried the best do(ugh)nuts in Portland and San Francisco (respectively, Blue Star Donuts and Dynamo Donuts) which came in brilliant flavour combinations like cornmeal rosemary cherry, lemon Sichuan, and dulce de leche with hazelnut. The flavours at Doughboys Doughnuts are not quite as zany, but hoo boy they taste really, really good. Today's flavours were orange-zested vanilla icing with crushed up pistachios, dark Monsieur Truffe cocoa with crushed walnuts and hazelnuts, and lemon and lime zested icing with toasted coconut. They don't come any fresher than this.

Choc nutLime coconut

Anthony mentioned to me that depending on how things go, they may end up opening for doughnuts on weekends too. Watch this space, non-city workers. Expect this one to be very, very popular - and if your heart is set on a doughnut you may want to call in advance to make sure they haven't already sold out.

(*cough* For those who, like me, aren't eating much sugar these days, you might want to approach with caution - I ate the equivalent of one doughnut by sampling the three flavours with two friends, and have been in a light-headed sugar daze for the last few hours...)

UPDATE: Doughboys Doughnuts ended their pop-up at Mr Nice Guy Thai, but are now having a summer residency at the Mercat Cross Hotel, 456 Queen Street Melbourne - see their FB page for details and opening hours.

Dipped on demand