South Beach favorite Khong River House has been well received by locals since opening in December 2012. So it's surprising that the restaurant, which celebrates the flavors and cuisine of the Mekong region of Thailand, only recently began serving brunch -- especially when sister property Yardbird down the street boasts hordes of hunger-struck folks lining up as early as 9:30 a.m. Sunday for bird and bubbles.
Well, now you don't have to wait an hour at Yardbird; simply walk to the other end of Lincoln Road, where you can get Khong's version of fried chicken all weekend long. Hurry, though -- sooner or later Khong's brunch will be as packed as Yardbird's.
Khong takes Asian classics and brunchifies them. "Brunch at Yardbird continues to be one of the busiest meal periods, and Swine brunch has just taken on a life of its own," says John Kunkel, CEO of 50 Eggs, which also owns the pork-centric restaurant in Coral Gables. "We were getting lots of requests to do the same thing here at Khong, and that made our culinary team go back and say, 'OK, what are our customers asking for?'"
Seems like everyone was asking for bottomless booze, because that's exactly what you get as part of Khong's brunch offerings. Choose from Thai (bird's-chili-infused Wódka vodka) or classic bloody marys (infused with sriracha), mango bellinis, or mimosas. And in spirit of Thailand's lucky number, 9, bottomless booze is $19.99. Pretty sweet, but an even better brunch deal would be $9.99. If only we were that lucky.
Nothing says Sunday brunch like pancakes. Correction: Nothing says Thai Sunday brunch like coconut sesame pancakes ($14). They come with a coconut rum glaze, brûléed banana, and pineapple. Brûléed banana is a stroke of genius. This unique stack could convert any breakfast hater into a pancake lover.
The moo shu breakfast wrap ($15) is like unwrapping a gift on Christmas morning -- with your mouth. Scrambled eggs, ground pork, and shrimp with char siu sauce are coupled in this light nugget. A Chinese cucumber salad on the side adds a nice balance of acidity to the wrap. It's totally acceptable to sip the soy vinaigrette with a spoon when there are no more cucumbers.
The cast-iron-skillet-baked breakfast roti ($15) is a delicious combination of duck confit with eggs, potato, and curry served in a pillow of crepe-like bread.
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Khong fried chicken ($22) has a thick golden crust. Bite through it to reveal a honey-lime marinade. Mango slaw on the side is an ultra-refreshing mouthful of flavor. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the caramel fish sauce for dipping the chicken -- it's a bit strange. If you have some leftover soy from the cucumber salad, go with that.
For dessert, two options stand out: the Thai doughnuts and the sweet Thai sticky rice with mango. Because the aforementioned slaw is delectable, the clear choice is the rice with mango. The rice is infused with fresh basil, and the whole thing is topped off with toasted coconut ($8).
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha