First Look: The Regulars return to Adelaide to open Kiin


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Nuit Regular (left) and Jeff Regular (centre) plating food at Kiin

Image: Yvonne Tsui

Chef Nuit Regular and her husband, Jeff Regular, have produced hit after hit when it comes to their restaurant empire. From their beginnings at Sukho Thai, Torontonians no doubt have to give thanks that there is good Thai food that doesn’t involve ketchup-y noodles.  

It is fitting that the duo’s newest restaurant, Kiin, is located in the space that formerly housed Khao San Road, which chef Nuit also made popular. But the new room is nothing like it’s loud, rambunctious former self. Swap out the casual, communal tables for a bright, new colour scheme with the bar serving as the focal point. This is to Thai food what Los Colibris is for Mexican, an attempt at elevating the dining experience.


Mieng Pla ($32) - Sea salt-crusted whole sea bream with Thai garlic, Thai basil, finger mint, peanut, ginger, shallot and lime in Thai kale leaves (IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

Kiin was inspired by chef Nuit’s experience growing up in Phare, Thailand. The interior design was influenced by the colonial style of architecture and brightly coloured buildings throughout Thailand.  Another source of inspiration for the design was the rich details that can be found in Bangkok’s royal palace. 

To bring her vision to life she teamed up with interior designer Kat Gudov at Steven Fong Architect to marry these two styles together and create a “refined and uniquely Thai experience.” There is a wall adorned with photos of Thai royalty, which ties in thematically with the style of Thai cuisine at Kiin.  


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

While the duo's other ventures have focused predominantly on Northern Thai cuisine, Kiin is an “opportunity to celebrate the traditions from all across Thailand while incorporating the delicate qualities and rare art of royal Thai cuisine.” For those who are unfamiliar with what royal Thai cuisine is, for simplicity’s sake you’d get to “dine like Thai royalty” although the dishes consumed are no different than those that most Thais eat in their home. The only points of differentiation lie in the focus on the best, freshest, seasonal ingredients, beautiful presentation and a delicate and complex balance of flavours as opposed to extremes in flavour.  


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

One of the more interesting ingredients on display at Kiin is wing beans, which are shaped like boomerangs and are quite crunchy. They also feature cooking techniques like salt-crusted whole fish. Unlike royal Thai cuisine, the menu is composed of sharing plates and family-style platters.  


Yum Tua Plu ($15) Wing beans with chilli shrimp paste, toasted coconut, peanut and soft boiled egg (IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

Emily Robertson manages the bar at Kiin with a menu of classic cocktails with a Thai influence such as the Negroni which incorporates kaffir lime or the Moscow Mule which gets an added flavour boost with the addition of pandan leaf, a fragrant leaf often paired with coconut in desserts. The bottles on the wine list are drawn from different regions including a Savatiano from Greece and a Pinot Nero from Italy.  There are 5 draught options including a ginger-Thai chili cider.  


Thai cold teas (IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

Kiin, 326 Adelaide St. W., 647-490-5040, open for dinner from 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday (lunch service will follow later this month)


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 


(IMAGE: YVONNE TSUI)

 

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Yvonne lives to eat. She’s known to her friends as the “Ask Alexa” for the best restaurants in cities all over North America. When she's not doing on-the-ground, scrappy PR for TouchBistro, she's a freelance food and drink writer and tells the origin stories, struggles, and successes of restaurateurs – veteran and new.

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