They say size isn’t everything, and in fact we’d say the modest 25-seater space at Thai eatery Kin Kao in Vancouver works in its favour. It’s run by Bangkok native Tang Phoonchai and his wife Min, and calls on the chef’s childhood meals for influences. The small footprint encourages a familial sense of togetherness and community – handy given the restaurant’s location and likely customer base.
Kin Kao is on Commercial Drive – a neighbourhood high street at the back of a strip mall. They’re expecting many of the patrons, especially at lunchtime, to be groups of workers from the surrounding commercial community, although the dining area can be easily reconfigured for larger parties and family groups in the evenings. Design comes courtesy of architects David and Susan Scott, who cannily opted for durable materials that would wear-in well with use. Construction-grade Douglas fir was chosen for the bar, washed with a thin blue floor paint solution, with soaped beech for the tables and seating (Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec) that can be easily refinished. The galvanised metal panelling around the service area gives a nice sheen in counterpoint to the wood, and also acts as a magnetic board to which daily special sheets can be attached.