London Bridge seems to be a hidden corner of Thailand. One of its most well-known Thai haunts is Suchard on Tooley Street, founded by Suchard Inngern. He arrived in London in 1975 with £20 in his pocket. Having grown up in an orphanage in Bangkok, he enrolled in a restaurant kitchen, before opening his popular Thai restaurant. He also later took over what had been a friend’s pub on nearby Crucifix Lane and added a Thai menu, calling it Suchard’s Freehouse. When he decided to sell the one-time pub, it was his kids – now in their twenties – who insisted on taking it over. Thus, kin + deum was born.
Translating simply as “eat and drink”, kin + deum is the best of East meets West, of young meets old. The aim of the three “Thai Siblings” – Roselyn, Shakris and Bank Inngern – is to cook healthy, hearty food that they would make at home. And that homely feeling comes through everything here – the service, the setting (including some goodies available to purchase like keep-cups and attractive tiffin sets) and of course the food.
The interiors feel like the family’s dining room. Stripped to its bare bones, there are lofty factory windows and original floorboards, offset by the calm serenity of plain walls and the potted plants. The view of the railway arches opposite the window counter seating is also very urban cool. It feels very clean, light and simple: a perfect backdrop for the stunning food.
Their menu brings home the diversity of Thai food. If you’re going to do justice to everything on offer, go with friends and family. As we perused the menu, we nibbled on the Banyan Spring Rolls (£5.90) filled with shiitake mushrooms, glass noodles, carrots and spring greens, served alongside a punchy sweet chilli sauce. The freshly made spring rolls were crisp, warming and welcoming – a perfect opener to the flavoursome Thai food on offer here.
Next came two salads: the “Thai Spiced Rice Salad” (£6.50) and the Som Tum Salad (£7.00). The former was a crunchy, chewy tumble of spiced rice clusters – think wet, savoury granola – strung through with whispers of scallions, fresh coriander leaves, slivers of red onion and ginger, and creamy whole cashews. Ripples of lime cut through the salt-sweet backdrop, followed by short, sharp smacks of heat from tiny chillies. Described as an “all day snack”, it reminded me of the kind of street food you might find in a Thai market – a riot of flavours and colours to pick you up at any time of the day.
The Som Tum Salad, meanwhile, was a mellower combination of papaya, carrots, cherry tomatoes, green beans and roasted peanuts: the classic Thai salad, though without any mango. Still, the kaleidoscope of fresh, colourful veg, served in large lettuce cups, was a nice refresher from the spicy curries.
We shared all three veggie curries on the menu. The spicing of Bank’s Massaman Curry (£9.50) was warming and subtle: an unusual combination of cinnamon, star anise, bay leaves and cashew nuts, it’s perfect for a wintery evening. Although I found the addition of potatoes in a Thai curry slightly odd and sparse, its deep red coconut sauce was irresistible and definitely worthy of finishing by the spoon. The Traditional Vegetable and Tofu Green Curry (£9.00), meanwhile, was a spicy twist on this traditional dish. But full of bamboo shoots and a generous amount of coconut milk, it provided a fiery kick that should always feature in any Asian spread.
My favourite was probably the nutty Panang Curry (£9.00), served with tofu, broccoli and bamboo shoots. The roasted peanut flavour of its deep red sauce shone through and the flavours were a perfect harmony between the spicy red chillies and coconut sweetness.
kin + deum is homely in the good sense: beautiful food and a simple but stylish setting. Even the small type of the name of the restaurant exudes the focus on simplicity here. It’s a perfect spot for a laid-back supper with friends or family, especially ideal for sharing memories and making more.
kin + deum, 2 Crucifix Ln, Bermondsey, London SE1 3JW