Jinda Thai

1-7 Ferguson St, Abbotsford Vic 3067
Date visited: 15th August 2014

I'm sure everyone has seen photos of the infamous multi layered crepe cakes floating around on Instagram and online, as well as heard rumours of the amazing boat noodles here at Jinda Thai.  Another spot I have been dying to visit, naturally.  Still on annual leave, I went with MerlinFan and AS to do our tax return (gets more and more depressing every year - whoever created that old ad of ecstatic people prancing around celebrating EOFYS should be shot) I came out with the tiniest amount of return ever, only falling short of having to pay back tax (FML).  So, to drown my sorrows, I suggested heading over to Jinda Thai for lunch.

Jinda Thai, in a nondescript Ferguson Street rather than the main road, is probably better visited by tram; however AS managed to find parking in one of the smaller lanes near North Richmond station.  We were greeted at the door by a smiling waitress.  It was about three quarters full on a week day, so we were seated straight away.

With beautiful exposed brick walls, hanging lights,  chalkboards of the menu and 'window seats' along the walls with floral patterned cushions thrown in, Jinda Thai's interior is quite unexpected of a Thai restaurant.  Very country rustic.  Deeper into the restaurant you find more Thai inspired ornaments and lanterns.

They have quite a good range of rice and noodle dishes, salads, stir fry, also grilled meat, crab and fish dishes.  The waitress came to take our orders not long after we received our menus, and our drinks arrived within a very speedy wait time.  Awesome.

 It was a bit chilly out, so AS had a Latte.

MerlinFan and I honed in on the cold tea and coffees.  I had the Cha Yen, which was their famous iced milk tea.  It came in the tiniest glass jar, but was the tea was fragrant and wonderfully sweet.  MerlinFan and the Cha Dum Yen, sweet iced black coffee.  Similarly it was really strong and sweet - just the way she liked it.

Cha Yen $3, Cha Dum Yen $3
Jinda Thai offers a good range of curries, but you can only get the Green chicken curry and Massaman beef as a smaller meal on rice.  AS had the Green chicken curry with rice.  I didn't try this, but AS said it was spicy and not overly creamy - she finished everything, so it must have been good!

Green chicken curry with rice $9.90

At this stage, a wooden carrier of self-serve condiments arrived at our table.  There was no explanation that went with this and we didn't even end up needing them so I'm can't say for sure what each were, mainly chillis.

Here, you can choose your choice of soup (pork, beef, spicy pork, boat noodle or yen ta four - pork based with brewed bean curd and picked squid) followed by your choice of noodles (rice stick, flat rice, rice vermicelli, egg or glass), and you can even choose to have your noodles dry without soup.  It comes in small for $6 and large for $9.

I couldn't come to Jinda Thai and not try the infamous Boat noodles.  

Boat noodles large $9.00

Thai boat noodles traditionally got their name from being hawked from boats along the riverbank.  They are not well known (yet) in Melbourne, and I have to admit I haven't seen them on menus in Thai restaurants here before.  We got a large one to share.  I chose our favourite egg noodles and beef (option of beef or pork).

The star of the dish here was undoubtedly the steaming hot, dark, aromatic broth.  It was salty, a tinge sweet and full of intense, complex flavours.  We felt it was similar to one of our favourite hawker dishes from East Malaysia, the gubak mee (beef noodles) just more herbal and punchy.  It was completed by crispy pork skin, meat balls and tender thinly sliced beef.  This was absolutely fantastic.

MerlinFan chose the Fried rice pla salid, which came with crunchy dry fish, fresh chilli and garlic served with Thai condiments.

Fried Rice Pla Salid $12.90
The fried rice had a slow rising heat.  Topped off with shredded omelette and a slice of crunchy dry fish, this dish sure packed a fiery punch - almost too spicy for MerlinFan who ended up red-faced and moping her face with tissues.  It also came with cucumber and green apple on the side for that added freshness to neutralise the heat.

Lastly, we got a Red duck curry to share.  The curry was creamy, sweet and fiery and contained a generous amount of juicy duck, eggplant, lychee, pineapple, carrots and bamboo shoots.  Despite being pretty lame when it comes to spicy food, I liked how Jinda Thai didn't tone down the heat in their cuisine.  Eating a curry just isn't the same without that fiery kick.

Red duck curry $15.90
A meal is never complete without dessert.  MerlinFan and I just had to try one of their infamous crepe cakes.  There were five flavours on offer, being coconut, Thai milk tea, green tea, pandan and taro.  We went for the Thai milk tea cake and ice cream.

Like all the other dishes, it came beautifully presented.  The cake was made up of meticulous layers of moist crepe, and topped off with a generous pouring of milk tea flavoured sauce.  It wasn't as sweet as I expected it to be.  We both loved the coconut ice cream on the side - it came with little chunks of frozen coconut too.  

Cake and ice cream $8.50

After our visit here today, I can see what the fuss surrounding Jinda Thai is all about.  They are more than deserving of all the hype and I would strongly recommend trying the boat noodles when you visit.  As for me, a return visit is a must for them boat noodles alone.

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  1. I am sooo keen to go there but I can never get a seat - granted I do go at 8pm on a Friday night! It looks great :)
    Bec x

    1. I was only lucky enough to go at lunchtime on a weekday during my annual leave! Maybe try early or late lunch? Less people when we were leaving that day ;)