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PaperCity Houston December 2023

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L ukkaew Srasrisuwan, the woman who brought us the popular casual Thai eatery Kin Dee in the Heights, has recently premiered MaKiin (pronounced Ma-kin), her long-awaited Thai concept on the ground floor of the residential high-rise Hanover River Oaks. The name is Thai for "Come to eat" — and that's exactly what you should do. Beyond a pair of mighty golden metal doors is a dining room awash in jewel tones. Designer Gin Braverman of Gin Design Group captures the exotic essence of Thailand through color-soaked, three-dimensional murals of glittering temples and lively night markets. Centering the 4,500-square-foot space is a bar wrapped with a gold façade, its 17 seats illuminated with an installation of tubular lights, while overhead a canopy of original sculptures depicts Garuda and Naga, mythological feuding creatures from Srasrisuwan's motherland. Take a seat in the plush velvet banquettes, where you can dine on authentic recipes that Thai-born chefs Eakkapan (O) Ngammuang and Aphassorn (Bell) Predawan elevate with innovative presentations. These dishes are typically the food of the royals, created during the days of the ancient Ayutthaya court. In keeping with tradition, Srasrisuwan pairs very specific and sometimes quite elaborate serving pieces with each dish. For example, share the Appetizer Symphony ($38), and what arrives at the table is a metal tree-like form with broad leaves cradling four different chef- selected appetizers. Starting at the top, we found a pair of hollowed eggshells filled with a light Tom Yum bisque mousse with crispy shrimp and a touch of caviar. Our next tier held Crispy Delights Unleashed (crunchy rice crackers made in-house and topped with minced prawns and chicken, dried shrimp floss, and chopped peanuts) as well as Tenderloin Temptation, MaKiin's version of steak tartar, served atop a toasted slice of baguette. Last was Chive Cake Sunrise, a rice-based dish that's steamed and then pan- fried, made with chopped fresh chives that are baked on a stick, topped with a sunny-side-up quail egg and a squeeze of sweet Sriracha chili sauce. Soups and salad options include the afore mentioned Tom Yum prawn bisque, a light sweet-and-sour broth poured over a shallow bowl filled with prawns, mushrooms, and drops of spicy chili and cilantro oils ($18). The classic Thai green papaya and carrot salad, studded with cashews and cherry tomatoes, is topped with crispy soft-shell crab when in season ($23). Signature dishes include the ubiquitous pad thai, the national dish of Thailand created in the late 1930s at a time when the country was suffering from a limited supply of rice and a growing desire to westernize. The Thai government began a campaign to promote rice noodles, a product that utilized 50 percent rice and was more efficient and less expensive to produce. Pad Thai was born as a means to preserve its rice resources and convince its patriotic citizens that by eating the dish, they were also serving their country. MaKiin's version utilizes sen chan rice noodles tossed with fish sauce, vinegar, and tamarind paste; the noodles are mingled with diced tofu, bean sprouts, and chopped peanuts before being wrapped in a delicate egg crepe net and topped with jumbo tiger prawns ($32). While the pad thai skews sweet, Sizzling Northern Adventure is a spicy northern-style yellow curry dish that will warm you from head to toe ($39). Served with paper-thin slices of short rib, it's presented on a sizzling hot stone with a decorative arch of crispy egg noodles. Tip it into the curry below, and as it softens, it absorbs the piquant broth accented with pickled green mustard, red onion, and quail egg. MaKiin at the Hanover River Oaks, 2651 Kipling St., MaKiin Thai Restaurant The Innovative and Authentic New By Laurann Claridge. Photography Sean Rainer. Makiin MaKiin's Eggcellent bisque mousse topped with caviar 32

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