You can’t miss this restaurant on the western side of Athlone, near the castle - its vivid yellow exterior walls on two sides of a street corner and red doors and windows mark it out very easily. The reception has recently been moved downstairs, allowing room for seating more happy diners upstairs.
It’s a pleasant room in soft tones and warm colours, with simple but very neat table settings (although only paper napkins), and large working ceiling fans adding to the atmosphere - you may not quite have been transported to Thailand, but it’s a good try and, once you start eating, you might actually be convinced.
Kin Khao Thai is run by Irishman Adam Lyons and his Thai wife Janya - Janya’s family is steeped in the restaurant and food tradition, with recipes and techniques passed from generation to generation.
The choice is enormous, neatly broken down into the various headings such as curry, soups, starters etc and with each dish accompanied by a short but useful explanation of the dish - the best initial choice is a starter platter for two of various finger items, and perhaps ask one of the attentive and charming staff for their recommendations, or select from the list of Janya’s Favourites.
Desserts include ice creams and, more unusually, sticky rice with coconut custard, which is interesting and tasty. All the dishes are perfectly cooked and presented by really friendly staff.
Authenticity is their mantra, and the chefs are from several regions in Thailand so whether you’re looking for a creamy coconut curry from the south or a sharp spicy dish from the north, you’ll find it here; with the exception of Adam, all the waiters, chefs, and managers are Thai - in fact, the kitchen is a real family affair with Head Chef Num and his little sister Song working side by side. An extensive wine list is also offered.
This is undoubtedly one of the best Thai restaurants in Ireland, and good value for money too (estimate around €20 for a main course); it is deservedly popular; and reservations are strongly advised.