With the success of Guu behind it, Kinton, being first in the new wave of ramen restaurants, was well-positioned with a Toronto primed for noodle madness. While I’d enjoyed bowls at Kenzo previously, I pined for the kind of noodles I’d had during my visits to Vancouver. So I knew today’s meal would mark the beginning of a whole other level for ramen in Toronto with both competition and quality in play.
Kinton gets busy, so I’m there when the restaurant opens. Though there are plenty of options, I get my default order in before the rest of the room fills. I’m seated in front of all the action – my favourite spot in any restaurant – and watch as the staff gear up for the lunch rush.
It’s not long before my shio ramen arrives. Maybe purists would balk, but the broth was cloudier than I was expecting for a shio. I didn’t care so much. The egg that peeks just above the liquid seems almost translucent and the scent of torched pork wafted up from the steaming bowl. I quickly dive in and drop some noodles into my spoon. With a big slurp (shows appreciation of the noodles in Japanese culture) I get my first taste of the new ramen dawn in Toronto.
Melodrama aside, my first thought – the broth was too thin – I wanted something that was more lip-smackingly rich. But immediately following was the beautiful chew of the noodles – bouncy and sleek. Really above everything I’d had in Toronto up until then. And it has remained my favourite noodle throughout many subsequent bowls since.
Taking apart the rest of the bits in the bowl: the char siu was quite nice with the toasty torched bits, and the egg, though runnier than it traditionally should be, was perfect (love those runny eggs!). It does make it harder to eat in a bowl of soup, however.
Overall, an enjoyable bowl.
The space inside is set up for all the students in the area – counter height tables and bar seating everywhere. Wood, brick, and an open kitchen is what finishes it off. The place is always busy, but with a relatively fast turn around (as a ramen place generally would be).
- Kinton Ramen 51 Baldwin Street, Toronto
- More Ramen: A Primer, Sansotei, Santouka, Ramen Raijin, and The Ramen Round-up