Lunch @ Kaiju (Yonge & Gerrard)

Kaiju (@KaijuToronto) is located in the basement of a shopping centre in an almost deserted food court. Yes, you read that right, I am a reviewing a food court restaurant! Yet being in a food court has not stopped them from putting themselves on the map for serving delicious food. I learned of them from the glowing reviews I read on Yelp and Urbanspoon (now Zomato).  At the time of reading the reviews I did not know if this court gets very busy, so I e-mailed the restaurant for a suggestion on when they thought the quietest time would be to visit them on a Saturday since I was planning of checking them out with a bunch of friends. The restaurant responded to my message and said that there was plenty of sitting and that there should not be an issue accommodation-wise. So, on a Saturday afternoon my friends and I met here for lunch.

Where is the restaurant?

In the basement food court of Shops at Aura at Yonge and Gerrard. Next to this shopping centre is Reds Midtown and Scaddabush. You have to go down a set of escalators, and once in the basement, follow the signs.

What are they known for?

Kaiju is known for their Asian-inspired cuisine, and in particular, their Japanese Curry. According to their website, unlike the curries of India, Thailand and other curry-loving countries, Japanese curry is thicker, milder, sweeter and has more of a “gravy-like” consistency. When I spoke to Brian Chen (chef and owner of Kaiju), he told me that the curry sauce at Kaiju is made from over 14 different ingredients including various spices, fresh fruits, and vegetables and it is slow cooked for up to 48 hours.

Did you know that Japanese Curry was introduced to Japan more than a hundred years ago by the British? I did not know that Japan, and certainly not the English, knew much about curries! I was wrong!

Is it expensive?

Every dish is under $10! The only item over $10 is the Kaiju Jumbo Combo for 2 at $18.00.

Do they only sell Japanese Curry?

Nope! They have over 22 dishes on their menu! The options range from fried chicken cutlets with rice, coleslaw and curry, to noodles, fried rice, poutines, etc. Lots to choose from!

What do you recommend I order?

If you can, go with friends and have each order a different dish, then share! That is what my friends and I did. The grand total for each person was under $15 with a drink, and tax included! After you order, they ask you to sit down and get comfortable, then they come around and set the table for you – they put the cutlery, napkins, and everything you need on the table the same way you would find it at a restaurant, and then they bring the food to you! Honestly, you forget you are in a food court! The service is impeccable.

What was your first experience like?

My 6 friends and I met at noon in the food court, and they had already been greeted by the staff at Kaiju. I made the executive decision of having a family style lunch, and after some back and forth with my friends, and the staff at Kaiju, we decided to order the following:

  • Kaiju Jumbo Combo for 2 (come with chicken or pork katsu, fried fish & shrimp) $18.00
  • Mama’s Chicken (crispy chicken with mama’s homemade special sauce) $8.95
  • Kaiju Poutine (Kaiju japanese curry with fries and cheese) $6.00
  • Crispy Pepper Chicken (stir-fried crispy chicken seasoned with freshly ground black pepper) $8.95
  • Malaysian Fried Sambal Udon (udon noodles stir-fried with homemade sambal sauce, onion, fish balls, and chicken) $8.50

Wow, my friends and I thoroughly enjoyed our meal. We had fun passing the food around, trying to decipher which one was our favorite, and interestingly enough, there was no consensus. We loved every dish, but I gravitated towards the fried chicken, pork, fish and shrimps. I generally hate how greasy and soggy chicken/pork katsu can be, but not at Kaiju. Each item was perfectly cooked – very moist, crispy and not oily! I loved that they added coleslaw to the fried dishes because it really helped cut the heaviness of the rice, fried items, and the curry sauce.

My friends wanted me to mention the hot sauce. We have been to so many restaurants whose hot sauce is not in fact hot (the kind of hot my crazy friends love), and this pisses off the friends who really do love their hot sauces to be what they purport to be – hot! And apparently the hot sauce at Kaiju does the job well. 🙂

Since this visit I have returned to Kaiju three more times, and I have yet to try their desserts. I have looked through their catalogue – a binder that has an image of the dishes they sell, and every time I make a mental note of what I want to try at my next visit. First on my list is the cheesecake!

Thank you to the Kaiju team for doing a fantastic job! The food is not only delicious, but the service really distinguishes them from what we have come to believe eating at a food court is like.

xo

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