KILN smells wonderful. Aromas come wafting across the counter, waves of kaffir lime and lemongrass one time, dense ginger and turmeric the next.
But they never seemed to make it onto my plate.
My mother managed to fiercely guard 3 seats at the counter by flirting with the Portuguese waiter, as slick-haired henrys puffed their cheeks and blew hot air, sent packing.
We kicked off with a heroically bad langoustine. A cold, meatless, exoskeleton lamely draped in leaves.
Then came cubed lamb bits with cumin and what must have been mustard gas.
I fancy myself relatively tolerant of heat. I spent 4 days rushing deliriously between Seoul's hottest stews and hotpots. I was a one-time habanero hot wing-eating record-holder. But these lamb skewers were hot as a punch in the tongue from the human torch.
Roast pork loin with a thinking man's sweet chilli sauce, and some generic pan-fried veg failed to recreate the excitement of the skewers.
Our final two courses trumped all others. Laotian Pollock with chilli was a satisfying bowl of dry flakes powdered and seasoned. This was followed with a Burmese wild ginger short rib curry, rich and dense, and speckled with floating strips of stringy meat. A bath of curried bleach with the half-dissolved remains of a cow bobbing around in it.