Thai Select Ambassador and Executive Chef, Nuit Regular is prolific in her Thai cuisine around the city of Toronto (also behind Sukhothai, Sabai Sabai, Pai), and now has opened up her newest restaurant “Kiin” with husband, Jeff Regular, on Adelaide Street West. The space was formerly Khao San Road, but is still rooted in Thailand cuisine as a renewed, brightly lit space with a polished neutral-toned interior, and imperialistic embellishments. The intricately carved medallions on the ceiling, that support the light fixtures, were inspired by a temple in Nuit’s hometown.
Kiin incorporates not only the traditional and authentic Thailand food that we love, but also a few menu items that we don’t have in Toronto. They are showcasing specific dishes from various Thailand regions and beautifully interpreting them in their presentation and harmonious flavours.
Speaking of beautiful, the Royal Thai Platter ($12), encapsulates its definition. The detailed masterpiece is hand-made by the executive chef herself and is comprised of 4 different items: Thoong Thong (a deep-fried pastry filled with chicken, shrimp, and nutmeg; embraced in a hollowed out cucumber), Rhoom (egg-lattice wrapped over chicken kofta), Chor Ladd (butterfly pea-dyed jasmine rice shaped into a flower and topped with fried garlic), and Mha Hor (pickled turnip carved into a pineapple flower and stuffed with coconut and peanut paste); which are rare delicacies in Thailand served to the kings.
The Yum Tua Plu ($15) features a four-angled legume known as wing beans. The taste reminds me of a pepper crossed with a green pea. The salad, mixed table-side, has a sweetness in the toasted coconut and soft boiled free-range egg contrasted with a spicy chilli shrimp paste. It pairs well with their Mastroberardino Fiano di Avellino 2015 white wine which helps tone down the spice. Another vegetable dish called the Pad Buab Jae ($10), a stir-fried angled gourd with garlic, and Thai basil, was also uniquely delicious.
Khao Yum ($24) is carried in a large golden wok. This intriguing salad has 3 differently coloured piles of rice; red thai rice, tamarind yellow, and butterfly powder green. I thoroughly enjoyed how fresh the ingredients were and the immense plethora of textures that came together amicably. The carefully minced components are as follows: white turmeric, long beans, lemongrass, sawtooth coriander, kaffir lime leaves, cucumber, toasted coconut, pomelo, fried chilli, sunflower sprouts, edible flowers, tamarind and soy bean sauce. Definitely a splendid heartier fare for vegetable lovers.
One of my favourite parts of eating is the hands-on experience and Mieng Pia ($32) gave just that. Thai kale and gem lettuce (the centre part of romaine) make up the two-layered lettuce wrap. Each leaf has pomelo, vermicelli, thai finger haw, salted coriander, mint, peanut, and thai basil. It is embellished with a sea-salt crusted sea bream, which is imported from Italy, and filleted by the server. The lime and lemongrass notes in the fish are a nice touch. What really brings the wrap together is the green chili sauce you drizzle ontop. The sweet sauce is made in-house and has the right touch of spiciness.
Inspiration was also taken from their neighbouring country of India with the Gaeng Boombai Nua ($32), roti is dipped into a braised AAA Wellington County beef short rib bathing in an aromatic 5 curried-sauce with hints of tamarind, field cucumber, and pearl onions. Coming from a non-vegetarian, the Chuchee Tofu & Mushroom dish ($24) was exceptionally savoury. The sauce tastes almost like a red-curry, and the gray oyster mushrooms add a meatiness to dish.
Their signature cocktail: Colada ($15) is perfect for coconut-lovers; it is a sweet mixture of J.wray rum, Galliano vanilla liqueur, coconut cream, with a garnished coconut gelatin and edible flower. Mocktails also make a wonderful drinkable dessert, with different flavour options such as Hibiscus, Pandan Leaf (my favourite), and Bael – a fruit that aids in digestion.
Nuit’s cooking philosophy brings happiness to diners at the restaurant through the marriage of beautiful presentation and beautiful flavours that represent the Thai culture. Many of the dishes encapture a perfect balance of sweet and spicy without taking away from its palatableness. In other words, spiciness is evident on the tip of the tongue, but it does not linger. Additionally, all their ingredients are carefully selected and shipped internationally from Thailand for the most part. They even serve a type of rare type of mango called “Maha Chanok” where only a few trees there grow this super soft fruit. Even though “Kiin” simply translates to “eat” in Thai, the experience goes beyond that. Kiin provides a ‘qualithai’ adventure to Thailand, exploring fun and bold flavours, right here in downtown.
More dishes will be introduced to the menu shortly, but for now, you can get the royal treatment for your palate during their soft opening: Monday to Wednesdays 5pm-10pm, Thursdays to Saturdays 5pm-11pm.
Photos by Nick Lee