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

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

And a multi-dish tasting menu fit for kings and queens

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Name: Kiin
Contact: 326 Adelaide St. W., 647-490-5040, kiintoronto.com, @kiintoronto
Neighbourhood: Entertainment District
Owners: Nuit and Jeff Regular, Gusto 54 Group
Chef: Nuit Regular
Accessibility: Not fully accessible

After a nearly two-and-a-half-year pandemic hiatus, Kiin has reopened. Chef Nuit Regular—one of the city’s best-known Thai chefs—also operates Pai and Sukhothai with her husband, Jeff. While those restaurants focus on Thailand’s traditional dishes and street food, for Regular, Kiin has always been about celebrating the country’s rich royal history through food.

Jeff and Nuit Regular, partners in business and in life

At Kiin, there’s a strong focus on the complex traditions of Royal Thai cuisine. As the 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 major difference between the Kiin of the before times and the current incarnation is the introduction of a comprehensive four-course, multi-dish tasting menu—a veritable tour de force of Regular’s take on Royal Thai cooking. There’s also an à 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 check out Kiin, the cookbook Nuit published during the pandemic.

The food

One of seven small bites on the tasting menu’s appetizer course is betel leaf wrapped around galangal-and-lemongrass-spiced prawn paste, finished with toasted coconut and a chili pepper. From there, the menu moves into more substantial plates, like a delightfully piquant tom yum soup with lobster, lime leaf and pearl onion or braised short rib in its own reduced juices augmented with house curry paste. Powerful flavours, precisely calibrated: this is Regular’s thoughtful ode to Royal Thai cuisine.

Here we have the mha hor: a pineapple chunk hand-carved in the shape of a star and topped with peanut paste. Pretty fancy for an amuse bouche


This is miang kung, one of several one-bite delights in the appetizer course. Prawn spiced with ginger, garlic, shallots, lime leaf and galangal is wrapped in a betel leaf and finished with a ring of chili


More bites from the appetizer course. On the left is pla haeng taeng mo, cubed watermelon topped with sugared dry sea bream fish floss, 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’s the rest of the appetizer course. From left to right: chor muang, sometimes called a Thai flower dumpling, is rice dyed with pea flower, intricately shaped, and topped with crispy Thai garlic (an imported variety with edible thin skin) and red chili. Next is thoong tong, garlic-spiced chicken-and-shrimp paste wrapped in a “golden bag” of crispy pastry and placed in a scooped-out cucumber with plum garlic chili sauce. (Pro tip: eat the dumpling and then bite the cucumber.) In the shot glass is tod mun goong, shrimp balls in a tangy tamarind dipping sauce. And finally we have a pomelo, tamarind and lime salad in baby gem lettuce, finished with toasted coconut and thinly sliced lemongrass


One of two options for the noodle course, this is the khao soi pad haeng. Egg noodles dyed with Chinese broccoli and topped with braised brisket come with a bevy of mix-ins for your customization pleasure: fried crispy egg noodles, chili oil, pickled mustard leaf heart, fresh and 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 minced chicken, crispy Thai garlic, bean sprouts, coriander sprouts and lime
This is the nham prik ong, a piquant paste of chicken, green onion, tomato, garlic and shallot served with hand-carved carrot flowers and cucumber. It’s one of the eight items that make up the main course


Khao yum is a rainbow in salad form. Rice bundles dyed with butterfly pea flower, turmeric and beet accompany fresh lemongrass, yardlong beans, cucumber, toasted coconut, pomelo, white turmeric and sprouts of cilantro, basil and radish. Toss with the sweet and tangy dressing before digging in


House-made tom yum paste is the flavour base for this delightful soup, finished with chunks of lobster, pearl onion, Japanese oyster and king oyster mushrooms, cilantro, sawtooth (culantro) and lime leaf


Here we have the Boombai short rib, where braised beef sits in a tamarind-heavy reduction flavoured with house-made curry paste and finished with cucumber and pearl onion. It’s served with tender, flaky house roti


You haven’t had morning glory till you’ve tried this version. Stir fried with fermented soy and garlic, the vegetable—also known as water spinach—takes on a deep, smoky flavour


For dessert, there’s a longan rice pudding. A sticky rice pudding with rich coconut milk is dotted with longan—a sweet, juicy fruit in the same family as lychee—and finished with toasted coconut


The drinks

An optional wine pairing accompanies the tasting menu. “Unlike the smooth, dry wines that would typically accompany a French or Italian menu, we have the freedom to feature wines with a little more oomph since they pair well with powerful Thai flavours,” says Jeff Regular. There’s also a tight beer menu and cocktails inspired by the food. The early fan favourite, the Bucha-Pag, is like mango sticky rice in a martini glass

This is the Kiin and Tonic, which starts with muddled cucumber, mint and black sesame. The heady mixture is topped off with sorrel syrup, Collective Arts’ new rhubarb hibiscus gin, St. Germain and dry vermouth. It’s finished with rosewater spritz, a cucumber ribbon, spearmint and a sorrel husk


An herbaceous play on the French 75, the Thai 75 starts with muddled makrut lime, lemongrass, lime leaf and lemon juice. That all gets shaken with gin and genmaicha tea syrup before being topped off with prosecco. It’s finished with lime leaf, lemon and a Thai orchid


One of the restaurant’s most popular cocktails, the Bucha-Pag—which translates to “flavour offering”—is inspired by mango sticky rice, which is traditionally offered to Buddhist monks at Thai festivals. House-infused 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 delightful cinnamon-forward spice blend.


The space

The room is inspired by Nuit’s high school in northern Thailand, a stunning colonial-style building with ornate wood panelling and aquamarine walls. Elegant and comfortable, the restaurant is outfitted with antique chandeliers, stained glass and forest-green banquettes. Gold-framed portraits of the Thai royal family line the back wall.