Kinton Ramen 5
We were invited by Kinka Family to check out one of their locations for Kinton Ramen on Church. Although it was the day after our long California trip, we decided we must not miss the opportunity and were both pleasantly surprised by our experience.
Located in the neighbourhood best described by being East Side of Yonge street or Ryerson University area (technically it is Garden District), this restaurant occupied a corner opening to a bare lot. There might be a new condo someday soon right here as it often happens in downtown Toronto. The building had long glass panels framed by worn-looking dark steel with an adorable pig silhouette logo in white. The restaurant’s name was written in white Sans Serif letters - simple, bold and small. We really appreciated subtlety of signage, no need for screaming large signs.
The glass door had a decal of their pig logo in neon green, an odd choice we both thought. Upon entering, we were warmly and loudly greeted in Japanese by the staff. The interior had plenty of black, and a neat birch wood accent wall made of logs sticking out. This pattern created squares protruding at different lengths. Occasionally, some of these logs were repurposed as shelves with golden pig sculptures on them. The wall added warmth to the restaurant, while the little gold objects a whimsical effect. There was an atmosphere of sophistication and lightness with staff wearing black t-shirts with large and messy Japanese hieroglyphs. Some even wore bandanas which was not as tasteful as the interior, in our opinion.
For 7:30pm, the place was quite full. We sat on heavy, wooden highchairs at the kitchen bar covered in dark granite, with tones of dark spots. We liked the fact that the counter top also had a small wall piece, giving us a sense of privacy plus a simple backdrop for our photos. We enjoyed the next hour, listening to Spanish-influenced music mixed with rock and some upbeat jazz. Sipping on Calpico (light in colour, flavour and sweetness), we felt submerged in Japanese culture. Also, their homemade lemonade was thirst drenching, with lemon fibre floating, it was a simple yet impressive drink.
e first ordered Age Gyoza. These fried, crispy pork dumplings were dressed with original sweet chilli sauce - great to get our appetite going. We also had their Tofu Furai which was similar to the Gyoza as these tofu fillets were fried and came topped with sweet chilli sauce, however they were also sitting on top of a bed of greens. As for our ramen, we ordered two quite different options, to ensure we have the best of both worlds. Miso Pork with thick noodles and some pork shoulder plus belly slices came in a deep bowl with a red line at the rim to help differentiate it. There were bean sprouts, scallions, and corn garlic waiting for us in the bowl. An egg was added and some nori to accentuate the dish, as it was recommended by our waitress. We couldn’t quite make out the pork smell from the broth, however we enjoyed this dish quite a lot. It had a slightly spicy, ginger hint to it. We especially liked the pork shoulder slice, which was a bit fatty yet tender and flavourful.
The Original Chicken Broth with thin noodles and chicken breast was our second choice. It also came in a deep bowl, but this dish was branded with a little rooster icon on the rim. It was hard to confuse the two by the colour of the broths even without the labelling. This dish was salty, with white onions, scallions, nori, and a seasoned egg once again. The egg addition to both dishes was our best decision that day – it was done medium and upon biting, some of it coloured the soup. As per the waitresses’ suggestion, we had a side of cheese. It was graded, Swiss cheese with a slightly bitter undertone which made the dish a bit more wholesome, as the chicken breast was quite lean. The slice of meat was, none-the-less, tender and light.
As it was always our experience with Kinka Family restaurants so far, everything was very reasonably priced, healthy and plentiful. Light atmosphere, yet great service and tasty food made us recommend these restaurants for casual lunches and dinners with a twist. We already check out one more of their Kinton Ramen locations, as there are 5 of them in different parts of town. We always look forward to visiting and checking out the new items on the menu.
PS: going to the washroom is always an experience of its own at the Kinka Family restaurant - toothpicks, mouthwash, even Q-tips and pads are at your disposal there anytime.