On the menu at Kiin, Chef Nuit Regular’s Royal Thai restaurant, including a cocktail inspired by mango sticky rice

On the menu at Kiin, Chef Nuit Regular’s Royal Thai restaurant, including a cocktail inspired by mango sticky rice

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Last name: Kiin
Contact: 326 Adelaide St. W., 647-490-5040, kiintoronto.com, @kiintoronto
Piece: entertainment district
Owners: Night and Jeff Regular, Group Gusto 54
Chief: Regular night
Accessibility: Not fully accessible

After a pandemic hiatus of nearly two and a half years, Kiin has reopened. Chef Nuit Regular, one of the best-known Thai chefs in town, also operates Pai and Sukhothai with her husband, Jeff. While these restaurants focus on Thailand’s traditional dishes and street food, for Regular, Kiin has always aimed to celebrate the country’s rich royal history through food.

Jeff and Nuit Regular, partners in business and in life

At Kiin, the focus is on the intricate traditions of royal Thai cuisine. As its name suggests, this style of cooking, which dates back to the 14th century and is characterized by its balance and precision, was once exclusively reserved for Thai royalty.

The main difference between the Kiin from before and the current incarnation is the introduction of a full four-course and multi-course tasting menu – a real tour de force of the regular version of Royal Thai cuisine. There is also an a la carte option, which will include items from the tasting menu. Guests can expect the menu selection to rotate with the seasons.

And, if anyone is curious about the royal recipes, they can consult Kiinthe Night cookbook published during the pandemic.

The food

One of the seven small appetizer bites on the tasting menu is a betel leaf wrapped around a spiced galangal and lemongrass shrimp paste, finished with toasted coconut and a chili pepper. From there, the menu moves on to more substantial plates, like a deliciously tangy tom yum soup with lobster, lime leaf and pearl onion or a short rib braised in its own reduced jus augmented with homemade curry paste. Powerful flavours, precisely calibrated: it’s Regular’s thoughtful ode to royal Thai cuisine.

Here we have the mha hor: a piece of pineapple hand-carved into a star shape and covered in peanut paste. Classy enough for an amuse-bouche
This is miang kung, one of the many one-bite delights of the appetizer course. Spicy prawn with ginger, garlic, shallots, lime leaf and galangal wrapped in betel leaf and finished with a chili ring
More bites from the appetizer course. On the left is pla haeng taeng mo, a cubed watermelon topped with sweetened sea bream fish thread, fried shallots and mint leaf. And on the right we have khao tung na tang, peanut and chicken paste on a crispy rice cracker finished with an edible flower
Here is the rest of the appetizer course. Left to right: Chor muang, sometimes called Thai flower dumpling, is rice dyed with pea flower, intricately shaped and topped with crispy Thai garlic (an imported variety with an edible thin skin) and chili red. Next is thoong tong, a spicy garlic chicken and shrimp batter wrapped in a “golden bag” of crispy batter and placed in a hollowed-out cucumber with plum-garlic chili sauce. (Pro tip: eat the dumpling, then bite the cucumber.) In the shot glass, you’ll find tod mun goong, shrimp dumplings in a tangy tamarind sauce. And finally, we have a pomelo, tamarind and lime salad in baby lettuce, finished with toasted coconut and thinly sliced ​​lemongrass
One of the two options for the noodle course is khao soi pad haeng. Egg noodles dyed with Chinese broccoli and topped with braised brisket come with a host of toppings for your customization pleasure: fried crispy egg noodles, chili oil, pickled mustard leaf heart, fresh fried shallots and crispy garlic.
The other option for the noodle course, yum khanom jin, features rice noodles – dyed purple with butterfly pea flower tea – topped with ground chicken, crispy Thai garlic, bean sprouts, sprouts cilantro and lime
It’s nham prik ong, a tangy paste of chicken, green onion, tomato, garlic and shallot served with hand-carved carrot and cucumber blossoms. It is one of the eight elements that make up the main dish
Khao yum is a rainbow in salad form. Rice bundles dyed with butterfly pea flower, turmeric and beetroot accompany fresh lemongrass, green beans, cucumber, toasted coconut, pomelo, white turmeric and cilantro sprouts , basil and radish. Toss with the sweet and tangy dressing before digging
Homemade tom yum batter is the flavor base of this delicious soup, finished with chunks of lobster, pearl onions, Japanese oyster and king oyster mushrooms, cilantro, sawtooth (culantro) and leaves of lime.
Here we have the Boombai short rib, where braised beef sits in a heavy reduction of tamarind flavored with homemade curry paste and finished with cucumber and pearl onion. It is served with a tender and flaky house roti
You haven’t had morning glory until you’ve tried this version. Stir-fried with fermented soybeans and garlic, the vegetable, also known as water spinach, takes on a deep, smoky flavor.
For dessert, there is a longan rice pudding. A sticky rice pudding with rich coconut milk is sprinkled with longan – a sweet and juicy fruit from the same family as lychee – and finished with toasted coconut
The drinks

An optional food and wine pairing accompanies the tasting menu. “Unlike the sweet, dry wines that typically accompany a French or Italian menu, we have the freedom to offer wines with a bit more punch because they pair well with powerful Thai flavors,” says Jeff Regular. There’s also a tight beer list and food-inspired cocktails. Early fan favorite Bucha-Pag is like mango sticky rice in a martini glass

It’s the Kiin and Tonic, which starts with muddled cucumber, mint, and black sesame. The heady blend is rounded off with sorrel syrup, Collective Arts’ new rhubarb and hibiscus gin, St. Germain and dry vermouth. It’s finished with a rosewater spritz, cucumber sliver, spearmint, and a pod of sorrel.
A herbal play on the French 75, the Thai 75 starts with muddled makrut lime, lemongrass, lime leaf and lemon juice. Everything is shaken with gin and genmaicha tea syrup before being covered with prosecco. It is finished with lime leaves, lemon and a Thai orchid
One of the restaurant’s most popular cocktails, Bucha-Pag, which translates to “flavor offering,” is inspired by mango sticky rice, which is traditionally offered to Buddhist monks at Thai festivals. The house-brewed mango bubble tea vodka is paired with genmaicha tea syrup, Malibu, Galliano, and coconut milk. There’s coconut agar jelly at the bottom, and it’s topped with a cinnamon stick, mint, star anise, and a delicious cinnamon spice blend.

The room is inspired by Night High School in northern Thailand, a stunning colonial-style building with ornate woodwork and aquamarine walls. Elegant and comfortable, the restaurant is equipped with antique chandeliers, stained glass windows and forest green banquettes. Gold-framed portraits of the Thai royal family line the back wall.

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