I am a noodle lover. Thin, thick, hot or cold, I love them all. I also enjoy pho and Jewish chicken soup.
The first cold day in Toronto I immediately ran to Kinton Ramen on 396 Church Street. They have about 5-6 locations throughout Toronto and are part of the Guu and Kinka Family of restaurants. My favourite place is Ja Bistro.
I tend to shy away from places that don’t take reservations but I risked going at lunchtime on a Saturday afternoon. We were lucky and snagged the last available table and stools. The room is small and narrow but at least it is bright due to the floor to ceiling windows. When we walk in we are immediately greeted with an enthusiastic welcome shouted out in Japanese.
The menu is a simple concept, you choose your broth, either pork or chicken, then your flavour, your noodle, thick or thin, and add additional toppings, such as sweet corn, butter, nori, Swiss cheese, seasoned vegetables, grated garlic and so on. There are also a number of side dishes.
They serve sake or Sapporo beer, as well as homemade lemonade.
There were no surprises or delights here. I found the chicken stock to taste very one dimensional. The broth was not rich tasting, but rather bland. I should have ordered a spicier flavour or added jalapeño paste or grated garlic to add a little kick. We tried both type of noodles. I preferred the thick, which were surprisingly not that much thicker, but seemed to be an egg pasta. We ordered “the original”, which came with sea salt, white onions, scallions, nori, a seasoned egg, which was perfectly cooked with a runny yolk and two small tender slices of chicken cooked sous vide. I added sweet corn to mine, which turned out to be canned corn, and seasoned vegetables, which consisted of two pieces of broccoli and a few shavings of carrots. I love noodles as I mentioned, but I found there was an over-abundance that overpowered the dish. I had to search for the broth. The soup could have also been served hotter. I like mine piping hot on a cold day. But it was indeed a filling meal and at $11.99 a cheap and cheerful lunch.
We also had a plate of age gyoza, which are deep fried pork dumplings in a sweet chili sauce.
For dessert, they offer two choices: a matcha cheesecake or a soy milk pudding.
All criticism aside, I still have to say the place delivers fast, affordable food and generous portions in a fun atmosphere. Would I wait in line to come here? Definitely not.