Jinda Thai Restaurant
After seeing photo after photo on my Instagram feed, it finally sunk in that this Thai restaurant is on my train line, thus I found an excuse to drop by for dinner with friends.
Although it was only mid-week and around 6.30pm, this place was packed, and I was surprised to see a long receipt-like list of bookings for the night. It’s lucky I booked, as we had five people and the place was close to full. The place itself isn’t anything too fancy, although my friend said the restrooms are surprisingly quaint (pictured below). In addition to this, the benches along the wall at our table had a few cushions. Located off Victoria St, no one really expects anything that fancy, but it is a little more spacious and nicer than crowded Vietnamese restaurants. We were seated quickly however not provided any menus. We felt a little confused, as there were big menu boards on the other side of the restaurant and we weren’t sure if that’s what we had to order from. But spotting the table next to us with their own menus, it was evident we hadn’t been given any.
A little more confusing is that when they provided them, there are two menus, a booklet and another a single page, which appeared to have noodle dishes, recommendations and more. Still, the exact difference between them wasn’t explained to us, so we had to examine both of them thoroughly.
Luckily, as mentioned in my previous blog post, I’d received recommendations from other food bloggers so it made it a little easier to order. I almost always order a Thai iced milk tea, which helps my low spicy tolerance. It came in a cute trendy jar, but I felt like it was a tad smaller compared to what I’ve had in the past. A popular recommendation was the boat noodles ($6 small, $9 large), so my friend, who unfortunately just got braces, went with this.
A large basket of condiments came at the same time as the boat noodles, and at first we thought it was all for her, then realised it was most likely for us all to share. Once again, there was not much explanation and they also forgot about our cutlery until we asked. The boat noodle soup itself was tasty – you can choose if you want a pork or beef soup and what type of noodles you would like. The soup’s colour is murky as it contains pig’s blood (a normal ingredient for Asian dishes – doesn’t taste as bad as it sounds!) But there is more flavour to the soup than pig’s blood, which was quite pleasant when I had a spoonful.
The downside are the sizes. We found the noodle sizes (the below one too) very disappointing and honestly wondered how that would constitute as a meal if we didn’t share some of the dishes. My friend ordered the above spicy dry egg noodle (above), which looked like barely anything. I guess the price for a small is cheap ($6), but there was no guidance from the waitresses that it would be this small. For either an individual or sharing dish, I find this a strange size.
This dish lived up to its name in spiciness, but it included offal even though my friend indicated she did not want it when the waitress asked.
Surprisingly, the pineapple fried rice was addictive. The fragrance of pineapple provided excitement to your normal fried rice dish, and we scraped it to the last drop.The red duck curry ($15.90, top left) was another recommendation whilst I also couldn’t help choosing the Massaman beef curry ($14.90). The duck curry was more of a watery curry and quite spicy, so much that the weaker ones out of us couldn’t taste anything at first. However, after a few spoonfuls of most of the spicy dishes, we grew accustomed to it and started to enjoy the flavours. We had all chosen a dish (plus a few extras) and I was fairly happy with my Massaman curry. This wasn’t spicy at all, but had a slightly thicker and buttery texture. It’s also hard to not order tom yum soup ($15.90) when you’re at a Thai restaurant. This was similarly spicy, but addictive too after a few sips. We ordered a seafood soup and I was surprised they weren’t too stingy on the seafood, with a good amount of vegetables and prawns.
Another suggestion was an appetiser, marinated chicken wrapped in pandan leaf ($6.90 per 2 pieces, bottom right). Upon unwrapping, the chicken was fried, crispy and juicy. I really enjoyed it, yet one friend wasn’t amazed.
More communication from the waitresses would have been helpful again, as we didn’t realise the cylinder in the background contained sticky rice. It’s in the menu description but we completely forgot about it. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) one of us discovered it at the end when we had all finished eating! I was worried we had ordered too much, but in the end it was just enough…to leave room to order a Thai milk tea crepe cake between us! This is another popular item I hear of often. Served with coconut sorbet, my friends all loved it, and it really is like eating your drink in a crepe cake form! However, they apparently sell the packets to make this in a grocery next door. Overall, the service let me down a lot. Cutlery was dropped and a little sauce was also spilt on my friend’s skirt. Because of this, I can’t see myself rushing to come back. Everything did feel authentic, but the service and serving sizes may deter me for some time.
I know a lot of other people have experienced better than me, so maybe give it a go at least once for the food and a different type of restaurant around the Victoria St/Richmond area but don’t expect top notch service.