Henry: Our love of Japanese culture and Japanese food has led us to yet another wonderful restaurant in downtown Montreal: Kinton Ramen!
Mariam: Oh yes indeed, Kinton Ramen was a delight. One of my friends sang the restaurant’s praises to us, so we were only too happy to go check it out. And we’re very glad we did 🙂 .
Henry: This place really commits itself to its branding and Japanese esthetics. Its pig silhouette logo is pretty much everywhere in the restaurant – from the big front sign to menus to decorations to even the bathrooms, the big pig is impossible to ignore.
And with good reason, I’d say. I ordered the spicy garlic pork ramen, and the pork was just exquisite. Tender, flavourful, and juicy, my only complaint was that there was not enough pork! Not in a bad way, mind you – the serving sizes are more than fair. I’m just being a glutton 😛 . But I get ahead of myself. Let’s rewind a bit!
Mariam: When people line up for a place, it’s usually one of two reasons – the place is overhyped, or the place is really that good. Kinton falls into the latter category. Once you get past the line and into the restaurant proper, you’ll notice just how close to a real Japanese restaurant Kinton is. Tiny tables and chairs, Japanese decorations and settings, and a staff that is very overtly enthusiastic to both see you and to see you off. Every time a customer left, most if not all of the staff break into a farewell in Nihongo (Japanese). It’s a neat way to make customers feel special.
Of course, all the attentive service in the world would be pointless if the food isn’t good. On that, Kinton delivers.
Henry: I ordered a combo as a means of trying out more things in one sitting. My starter was chiki chiki don, a mound of rice intermixed with minced chicken and an in-house mayonnaise.
It’s the first time I’d had something like this. It was pretty delicate in flavour. Not bad, but definitely not a main event (which is why, I suppose, it’s an appetizer…).
As I’d mentioned above, I ordered the spicy garlic pork ramen, and it was great. However, I wish I’d paid attention to the fact that the scoop of garlic in the centre of the bowl was raw. I took in a small mouthful of it without thinking, and that burned my tongue something fierce… I had to mix it all into the spicy soup so that it’d cook.
The broth was thick and flavourful, and it had a good kick. The spiciness wasn’t extreme, so that was great! The noodles were thick and chewy. The best part by far was the tender roasted pork though. And that alone was enough to make me want to come back for more even before I was done eating (I did say I was being a glutton, didn’t I? 😛 )
Mariam: Yes, yes you were 😉 [Henry: Heeeeey… You don’t have to agree with me 😛 ]. I have to say, I liked the noodles a lot. We were there with a third person, and so we had the chance to order more to sample. On our end, we ordered the classic pork ramen and the miso pork ramen (with extra strips of pork belly).
They were both pretty darn good. Let me start with the classic ramen.
It was pretty much what you’d expect or want out of a bowl of Japanese ramen. The broth was (comparatively) clear but still rich-tasting (although I found myself wanting to add hot sauce to it now and again) [Henry: You should have gotten spicy… 🙂 ] [Mariam: Oh, hush 😛 ]. The noodles were soft and springy (but not impressive), and the meats actually surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to like it so much, but I did! It was tender and seasoned, and made me wonder just how they cooked it to achieve that result!
The miso pork ramen had all of the strengths of the classic ramen, plus it had the added bonus of being a miso-based broth. Wow. It was terrific. A bit too salty (then again, it was miso), but the thickness of the broth and the richness of the flavour more than made up for it. If you’re a fan of miso anything, I highly recommend it!
Beyond the food, I loved the atmosphere here [Henry: So did I!]. The staff all had on their game faces. The waiters were bright and energetic, and they all added to a generally raucous atmosphere. As I’d said above, when people left, they all chanted a farewell greeting in loud, loud Japanese that reverberated throughout the place. It made the experience that much better.
So, in the final analysis, we’re coming back 😀 . There’s more stuff to try here, and we’re looking forward to trying it all; see you there!
Where to find Kinton Ramen:
Address: 1211 Bishop St, Montreal, QC H3G 2E2
Phone: (438) 387-6187