Location: 326 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
Kiin is the latest Thai restaurant in the burgeoning restaurant empire of Jeff and Nuit Regular (they also own Sukhothai, Pai, and Sabai Sabai). It’s one of those places where you order a few things and share, which is nice because you get to try more stuff (though you inevitably end up spending more, which is a bigger issue than usual at Kiin).
The first thing we tried was the pandan chicken, which features tender pieces of chicken that have been wrapped in a pandan leaf (you can eat those leaves, though they recommend that you remove them). It comes with a bowl of sweet chili sauce for dipping. It’s a tasty dish, but definitely not a home run — the chicken, though nice and tender, was quite plain, and the chili sauce was standard-issue and nothing to write home about.
Next up was the pork jowl, which was a definite upgrade over the chicken. It’s crammed with classic Southeast Asian flavours: it’s a little fishy and a little sweet, with a nice punch of sourness to round it out. But it’s too assertive, and the balance of flavours is off. It’s tasty, but the slices of pork (which are slightly tougher than they should be) are completely wiped out.
The final dish was kua hang gai, which was a braised chicken stir fry. No complaints here — the chicken was super tender, and the flavours were well-rounded and satisfying. We got this with one order of jasmine rice and another of roti. The deep-fried roti was crispy and tasty, but it was closer to fry bread than standard roti. I liked it, but a more traditional preparation would have been preferable.
I mentioned that price was an issue. The pandan chicken was $15, the jowl was $17, the stir fry was $26, the rice was $5, and roti was $6. With tax and tip, it was approaching a hundred bucks, which is just way too much money for the calibre of food that we were served. Not that any of the dishes were bad, but those are fine-dining prices, and the food wasn’t at that level.