Whether you are a Thai food devotee or a novice in the arena of Thailand’s culinary marvels, a visit to Kun Restaurant is in order to get a taste of authentic Thai fare
Thai food needs no introduction in this part of the world; Thailand’s popularity as a top billed travel destination has created a sense of familiarity among frequent travellers. But for those seeking authentic Thai food, right here in Muscat, a strong preamble is necessary to throw the spotlight on Kun Restaurant, which is, in every sense, a Thai culinary excursion – an authentic one at that.
Housed in a quaint villa on Al Safah Street in north Al Ghubra, the restaurant fits snugly with the low rise structures in the neighbourhood; unpretentious, yet completely in tune with its credentials as an authentic Thai destination. What, perhaps, sets it apart, is its neatly adorned al fresco dining section, in the front yard. The converted villa does have a majestic bearing about it, with the façade featuring subtle hints of Thai art; miniature fountains adding to the ambience. Thai influence is also discernible in its soft furnishings and wall adornments. There are no showy facades or loud décor though, as the idea, apparently, is to make diners feel truly at home. And, at home is exactly how you are bound to feel with the staff coming out to usher you in, as if they were welcoming house guests.
Interestingly, that welcome comes across as an extension of the restaurant’s title. For ‘Kun’, we were told, has both Arabic and Thai inferences. While in Arabic it means ‘to be’, in Thai it implies a sense of deep respect; it was originally a royal title bestowed to show respect. The ‘to be’ in Arabic is a prefix for happiness and health, and for all things that spread joy and a sense of well being while dining at Kun.
‘Be Kun – Kap Kun and enjoy your journey with us’, reads the introduction to the restaurant in the menu folder, and that is what we were set to do.
With January weather infusing the air with pleasant chilly notes, even at noon time, we got things on the right footing with a hot bowl of tom yum soup. It is, by all counts, what the weather gods would order to make the most of the weather and rouse a huge appetite. The latter is what we have in abundance, and we let it free to savour the authentic fare at Kun, beginning with the tom yum soup – a hot and sour soup, that has its origin in Thailand (‘tom’ referring to the boiling process and ‘yum’ to a spicy and sour Thai salad). We had the ‘Tom Yum Seafood’ and the ‘Tom Yum Chicken’ soup, which helped us clear our sinuses. The soup, with the accoutrements of galagal, lemon grass and other paraphernalia, is easily a meal by itself – and a hearty one at that. The fragrant spices and herbs linger on long after you have burped your contentment.
There is an element of healthy food in the dishes brought to the table, with the focus on fresh ingredients. We were treated to a colourful array of carved fruits and vegetables, as if to drive home the health connotations that Kun is propagating in its fresh fare. While that decorated table came as a treat to our eyes, our fresh fruit juices, sans any artificial sweeteners, indulged our palettes.
The salads that made to our table – Papaya Salad and Mango Salad – were pure vegetarian delights; they had an underlying tangy flavour that made us, shamelessly, take extra helpings. The salads were accompanied by a platter of ‘Chicken Satay’ and a bowl of ‘Chicken and cashew nuts’. While the satay had a chewy texture, the dish with cashew nuts bowled us over with soft tender bites of chicken.
For the mains, we were treated to ‘Pad Thai Vegetables and Tofu’ and ‘Fried Rice Seafood’ – both adding to the novelty of authentic Thai food. The creamy Pad Thai had an amazing flavour, while the fried rice had just the right amount of spice and the yum factor to pamper our taste buds.
Following the lunch, we plonked ourselves in the patio chairs in the front yard to savour some dessert, breathe in the fresh January air, feel the laidback mood of the restaurant and watch the flow of traffic on the road in front.
If repeat guests are an indication of an outlet’s popularity, Kun, with facilities to cater to birthday parties and candle light dinners, is definitely geared to meet the demands of foodies in town.