Kinton Ramen (Bloor St.)
Kinton Ramen has expanded to Bloor St. with a new location in Koreatown. The perpetually packed noodle shop from the team behind Guu and JaBistro sports slightly bigger digs than the original location, with about 10 extra seats on the Baldwin Village space. That said, it somehow feels far more spacious.
The room is warm and inviting, with interior walls featuring Kinton's signature wood blocks alongside hospitable details like bar stools with built-in cubbies for bags and a basket full of blankets in case a draft slips through the vestibule. The bustling open kitchen gives the whole dining room energy -- it's a lively place.
I ignore the pork soups and make a point to try the chicken broth exclusive to this location. First up, The Spicy ($10.80) is served in a deep bowl and topped with incredibly tender sliced chicken breast as well as ground chicken, scallions and nori. Jalapeno paste (available as an additional topping too) gives the soup a sharp kick that balances nicely with the chewy noodles.
The Miso ($10.80) is richer thanks to soybean paste that's both salty and a little sweet. It's topped with the same tender chicken, nori and scallions, plus a perfectly soft egg with a golden runny yolk. Noodles are available both thick and thin at this location, and the choice of chicken breast, pork shoulder or pork belly can be customized to order.
The Spicy Salad Ramen ($8.80) is composed of chilled noodles, greens, cherry tomatoes and sprouts tossed in chili soy dressing and sprinkled with nutty fried garlic. It's not especially spicy compared to the aforementioned soup, but it's a vegetarian option so it's got that going for it.
The bar offers Sapporo by the pint for $5.80 or blended into beer cocktails with lemonade, ginger ale or Clamato ($5.50-$6). There's a house sake ($5.80) served hot or cold as well as red or white house wine ($6).
Kinton Ramen in Koreatown is open daily at 11:30 am for lunch where they continue the tradition of offering a free side dish (Ton Ton Don or Gyoza) with any soup order. The noodle shop closes at 10:30pm most nights with the exception of Friday and Saturday when they keep the kitchen open 'til 2am.
Photos by Jesse Milns