Happily, Jinda Thai (1-7 Fergus St, Abbotsford) is genuine, great-quality Thai food (only) at quite reasonable prices. It was opened in July 2013 by the owners of two Krua Thai venues. After a prompt write-up in Broadsheet, its patronage went through the roof, and it was very difficult to get a table. I'm not sure of its current status of busy-ness, but Jinda's Facebook page advises that it actually does take bookings. I have attempted to get in twice without a booking (once successful, once not!), so I am happy to learn that this is one Melbourne restaurant bucking the no-bookings trend.
Since it is down a side street just before Victoria Street's notorious strip of restaurants, you wouldn't really know Jinda was there unless you went seeking it. It also has a very unassuming-looking entrance. So it is surprising, once you find it, to see how large a space the restaurant inhabits.
Light and airy, the height and depth of the restaurant helps alleviate the chaos of all the bodies inside. There are a few kitsch Thai touches: carved wooden furniture, lanterns, flowery cushions, big portraits hanging on the walls, blackboard specials in curly Thai-style script; and a few industrial: large windows, exposed brick, warm paint colours. Basically, it's a really big room crammed with tables that somehow manages to feel warm and rustic, despite its size.
On my visit, service was friendly, but not exactly accurate. A few items of our order were buggered up - but rectified once brought to staff's attention. Fortunately, the quality of the food made up for any errors. My coeliac, vegetarian friend didn't have a heap of options, but they were able to adapt something for him. I only wish I'd written down the names of the dishes for you. Sorry! but they still look pretty mouth-watering, right?
|Soft shell crab|
|Thai green curry|
|Drunken or drowning something ??|
|Pad see ew|
I would recommend trying Jinda with a big group of young-ish people (and a booking!) on a weeknight, when it's not so busy. With a bit of patience, you will get to enjoy some great food.
Jinda is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and takes cash only.