Toronto has this right now we will continue to have this until...? Meh, who knows and who cares? I'm simply thrilled that more and more ramen places are popping up...it is about friggin' TIME that somebody puts a stop to the Ajisen-Kenzo ramen duopoly in downtown Toronto. I'm confident that I speak for the masses; we welcome you Kinton Ramen (Twitter: @KintonRamen, Facebook: KintonRamen), with open arms! Actually, our arms will stay so wide open that we will gladly fit FOUR more ramen restaurants by the end of the year, namely: Santouka, Momofuku's Lucky Peach, Raijin Ramen and a ramen shop by cook Chris Jang from the Ossington restaurant, Yours Truly (source: Toronto Star: Ramen soup competition heats up in Toronto). Exciting times ahead, guys. Exciting times.
First Guu Izakaya, then Guu Sakabar, now Kinton Ramen, Guu is slowly but surely expanding its empire in Toronto. Much like how the two izakayas were when they first opened (and sometimes even now) expect constant line-ups out the door at Kinton (it wouldn't be RAMEN FEVER any other way right? :P) No reservations, obviously.
Gold pigs behind the bar. Kinton sure loves their pork!
A very long and narrow space, the kitchen bar begins from the front of the restaurant all the way down to the end of the open kitchen. There are two communal tables; one at the very back of the restaurant and one near the entrance.
My friend and I sat at the communal table at the front. We had....
Cold tea ($2)
Gyoza - Japanese pork dumpling ($3.5)
Hot Karaage - Spicy fried chicken ($4.8)
Kinton Pork Ramen - Choice of miso, shio, shoyo or spicy. Extra volume kinton pork ($12.8)
I chose regular miso soup base with pork belly.
Miso Ramen - Soybean paste, kinton pork, beansprout, scallion, corn, garlic oil with light soup base ($9.5)
My friend chose a light soup base with pork shoulder and added sweet corn ($1) & nori ($1)
Note the following:
- Aside from the Vegetable Ramen, all Kinton Ramen comes with pork. You get to choose between either pork belly or pork shoulder (both braised in the soup base, marinated and blow-torched before serving)
- Four soup bases to choose from: Miso (soy bean paste), Shio (sea salt), Shoyu (soy sauce) and Spicy. You get to choose which soup base you want for the Kinton Pork Ramen and Vegetable Ramen.
- For each soup base, you get a choice of "light" or "regular"."Regular" means before serving, sieved pork back fat is shaken over the bowl of ramen. "Light" means there's none of that.
My friend and I were both very pleased with our ramen at Kinton. We thought the soup base was full-flavoured, rich and luscious without being too salty. I personally liked how the ramen was firm and not too soft, slightly chewy with a delicate springiness to it. My "regular" soup base was evidently more rich than my friend's "light" soup base but having said that, it wasn't oily at all. The pork belly I had was off the hook! Thickly sliced, fatty and tender, I savoured each and every piece (the pork belly, however, maybe too heavy and fatty for some). The appetizers were decent but nothing exceptional; next time I will probably skip the apps and just order additional toppings for my ramen :D