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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.