King West and Portland is an interesting intersection. The surrounding residential area feels like a community in itself, but with one look east on King you’re brought back to reality by the twinkling silhouettes of the buildings that define our city’s skyline. King West is an area of Toronto for the upscale, older crowd looking for a memorable night out.
With this in mind, I propose that my friend and I check out KiWe, a smaller restaurant named after its situated location. I enter through the side door where I wait in the entrance, only to see my friend a second later making her way towards the front door. I wave my arms frantically, trying to tell her that she’s wasting her time. She mistakes this for a wave and keeps on walking only to discover the tell-tale sign I noticed earlier at the front entrance: “Use other door”. Once she finally gets inside, we’re asked by the hostess if we’ll be dining or just drinking. We come to the conclusion that the one stool available at the bar won’t work for both of us, so we must make our way to the dining room.
Except we stop during our journey there as the hostess guides us to a table in a long hallway. We sit down and look over the menus. I gaze around, disappointed to see that the décor doesn’t match up to the restaurant’s potential. Generic wallpaper outlines the boundaries of the restaurant, and it feels like the layout planner of the restaurant made do with whatever space they had. The area we’re in can be defined as half a hallway, as well as a pathway to the much more glamourous, chandelier donning dining room. Thus very often in the duration of our conversations, I’m distracted by the lower end clientele walking back and forth who truly believe they’re the epitome of class. Those heels ain’t foolin’ no one honey, no one.
But being the night life goer that I am, I’m used to all this. What I’m not used to is the unbelievable pricing listed to the right of my menu options. My friend orders a $15 mojito. Yes, you read that right. For that price she’s hoping it’s the best damn mojito she’s ever had, (it was). I order the signature KiWe martini, yet with one sip I feel like they went way too hard on the raspberry vodka. It’s like eating too many Sour Patch Kids in one go. We order the “Marinated olives, spiced nuts, dried figs” which looks plenty appetizing. It is, but $6 is a little steep for a bowl of this assortment if you ask me.
The drink taste eventually doesn’t get to me as much due to the pleasant buzz setting in. You get what you pay for, they’re definitely not stingy on their alcohol. The bad news? The bill, consisting of two drinks and a bowl of tapas, sets us back $40. In one word? Ridiculous. This really is the cherry on top of the whole experience, which can only be summed up as a hyped environment where there’s simply nothing to hype about.
Let’s SCALE it:
Group of Friends: 2-6 – Different size groups frequent here before their big night out.
Fanciness: 8.5/10 – I think my definition of fanciness varies greatly from most of the customers here, yet the effort is there. Dressing up is encouraged.
Ambience: 9/10 – I can’t deny that the ambience is great. The place was packed. They just need to turn down the music so the customers can actively participate in their conversations.
Location: 7.5/10 – King West is a peculiar area. It’s indeed out of the way of the mainstream “Entertainment District” clubs, but if we’re just focusing on King West itself then KiWe is definitely in the heart of it.
Food/Drink Selection: 8/10 – Pretty good selection.
Food/Drink Quality: 9/10 – The quality is pretty great, can’t deny that.
Service: 7/10 – A little slow at times but our waitress was very friendly.
Price: 3/10 - If I haven’t said it enough: Ridiculous.
First Impressions: 7.5/10 – Kind of tiny and it has a very odd layout.
Last Impressions: 6/10 – This place serves well for a pre-drink meeting spot before the big party of the night, yet it’s definitely lacking any quality that would make me want to return.
Population: Late 20’s-Mid-40’s
Summary: KiWe is KIND OF on my radar!
587 King Street West
The menu options