Monday, September 26, 2016

Jungsik Seoul

C says:

Jungsik Seoul is known for reinventing Korean flavours and ingredients with modern techniques. Just stepping into the tranquil yet not imposing dining room and we knew we were in for a treat. 

While we had good street food, Galbi and seafood in Korea, our lunch at Jungsik was, without question, the best meal of the trip.

We started with a whole array of amuse bouches. Some were tastier than others, but they set the scene for both local flavours and extraordinarily pretty plating that would be a theme for the rest of the meal.

First course was fatty tuna served with seaweed crisps, home-made soy sauce  and an array of accompaniments including wakame, kimchi and dashi jelly, for you to mix and match as you please. I thought the tuna was best eaten on its own, but everything else paired very well together atop the seaweed crisp.

Next up was abalone with a citrus mayonnaise. The tempura abalone was ridiculously tender, very fresh and the citrus mayo lightened the dish very well.

The octopus tentacle served with gochujang aioli was again perfectly tender with a great char, and the gochujang was a nice reminder that we were, after all, in Seoul.

Soy lobster came next - soy-marinated raw lobster served with rice and deep fried Sakura ebi on top. Bit surprising that a carb came so soon, but it was a small portion and very tasty.

Next was Ok Dom, which was red snapper with wakame. I love the wakame in Korea, and the one here was excellent. I also love how they prepared the snapper - they poured hot oil over the skin and scales, so they crisped up and were thin and delicate like filo dough.

The last savoury course was their version of Galbi served with sautéed mushrooms and buckwheat pancake. This was good, but probably the least interesting/impressive of all the courses. 

Pre-dessert was Sujeonggwa, which was a modern take on the traditional cinnamon and ginger tea that is served at the end of Korean meals.

Dessert was their signature Dolhareubang, the name of the ubiquitous "grandfather" statues all over Jeju that are considered to be protectors. The statue itself is green tea mousse, covered with a cookie crumb. There was also a black sesame sponge, and ice cream. Tasted as good as it looked. 

We ended with petit fours, and a selection of teas. A went with peppermint and I chose the buckwheat, which was a lovely end to an outstanding meal.

We had the 8-course tasting menu for KRW150,000; they also have 4 and 5 course choice menus for KRW50,000 and 80,000 respectively, but we felt that the tasting was better value all round, since many of the dishes in the tasting menu required top-ups to the choice menu. 

We'll definitely revisit whenever we come back to Korea. 

A says:

Best meal in Korea. The only dish that wasn't fantastic was the beef, which was above average. 

Will definitely be back.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Salted and Hung

C says:

Salted and Hung gets its name from the charcuterie that they cure in-house, but the food here is so much more than just good cold cuts. 

The pig's head terrine was quite brazenly gelatinous, and served with a great piccalilli condiment (a bit like a pickle relish) and amazing focaccia.

One of specials was a poached egg with shaved black truffle and porcini soil, served with uni. Each component was very good, but I'm not sure that they necessarily complemented each other. 

The next dish was called Burrata on the menu, but honestly it should have been labeled as Tomato instead. It was 3 types of tomatoes - cherry, green and confit - served on a very thin bed of burrata. 

The Kangaroo tartare with blood orange purée was surprisingly mild, and went very well with the juniper crumble on top. 

Another special, the Angus intercoastals (which is the area in between the ribs) with cauliflower and piccalilli, was very tasty too. The meat had the perfect balance of tenderness and flavour.

I've saved the best 3 dishes for last. The hamachi collar with lardo was outstanding. It's amazing how they achieved such moist fish with such a degree of char. The slices of lardo draped on top were good but, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but unnecessary. That's how good the fish was. 

Black mash, a jet black potato purée with squid ink and charcoal, was also ridiculously good. Incredibly flavourful, and also terribly addictive. 

The grilled Iberico Secreto with kohlrabi and pork jus was another winner. Sweet, flavourful and wonderfully marbled pork cooked perfectly medium rare, and beautifully charred outside. 

We didn't have room for dessert, but they surprised us with an Anzac biscuit topped with bacon caramel. An excellent end to a stellar meal. 

Already eyeing what we can order next. 

A says:

Great food that's relatively affordable. Could be one of our new go-to places. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016


C says:

Ever since Wolf closed, we've been looking for a place that does proper nose-to-tail cooking. Dehesa could well be it.

We started with the Dehesa platter, which came with a serving of sourdough and the most amazing aioli ever. The platter composed saucisson, chorizo, lomo Iberico, jamon, home-made lardo, fifi pate, pig's head terrine, rillette and crispy crackling. 

The duck hearts on toast came with a heavenly sauce that had hints of black pepper, balsamic and honey. 

Instead of crispy pig's ears, they have crispy tripe here, with fried garlic oil and a romesco sauce studded with chilli padi. With its flowery exterior, honeycomb tripe really does take deep frying really well - light and crispy, yet still retaining the slight chewiness of tripe. 

The Octopus is served on a bed of mashed potatoes, and blanketed with more lardo slivers. Just before serving, the chef comes with a hugeass blowtorch and torches the lardo so that it melts into the octopus. Aburi lardo. Divine. 

I expected the crispy pig's head to be more, well, head-y. Instead, it came as a croquette of sort, with egg yolk and lardons. Perhaps a little too generic for my liking.

We ordered the Frit Mallorquin because we've never seen it anywhere else. Basically it's a stew made from lamb offal (here, it was heart, liver, kidney and sweetbreads) and Mediterranean vegetables. It was interesting and pretty tasty, but at the same time it was quite heavy so I don't think we'll order it again.

We ordered one dish too many, so we didn't have space for dessert, which looked really interesting. We've already got a list of other dishes that we're going to try next time.

A says:

Great value and a surprisingly non-poncey place. Would go back, especially for the lardo.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Wild Rocket omakase

C says:

First off, I think it's a travesty that Michelin completely ignored Wild Rocket. The Singapore guide doesn't feature the chef who pioneered Modern Singaporean cuisine? Madness, I say. The omakase dinner we had last night was one of the most interesting, creative and downright delicious meals we've had in a while.

First course, and probably best dish of the evening, was their take on chwee kueh - scallop carpaccio with chai poh and truffle konbu. A big flavour punch in the face, and the best way to start the meal.

Next was a play on rojak, with the hae kor in the form of a light ice cream. 

Char kway teow came next. We were asked to guess what the noodles were made from. I said squid, which was close. It was ribbons of cuttlefish. Quite genius, because the flavour of the cuttlefish also echoed the flavour of hum (cockles) that would normally be in char kway teow. Every element came together perfectly to form a truly char kway teow flavoured dish, even down to the lard bits. Very well thought out dish.

Next up was an uni laksa risotto. I think this has evolved from Wild Rocket's early days of laksa pesto spaghetti. The laksa flavour is much more refined, and all the elements that make up a good laksa are perfectly balanced.

The crab cake, comprising both spanner crab and blue swimmer crab, on a bed of salted egg yolk sauce was probably the most predictable dish of the evening, but nonetheless still very tasty. 

When Chef presented the next dish, he said it was home made green curry served with beef. The texture of the meat was excellent. There's a surprise to this dish, but I'll hold my tongue so that I don't spoil it for others. 

The Singapore fried noodle dish was a hokkien mee, with a wonderfully cooked prawn on top of angel hair pasta cooked with an intense prawn stock.

We were still a bit hungry (greedy), so they added an extra dish - Iberico pork char siew with quinoa and preserved vegetable. And because Chef usually has his char siew with rice, it was served with Vietnamese rice paper. 

After a palate-cleansing guava sorbet, dessert was a riff on mango sticky rice, with the mango and sweet coconut rice served inside a chocolate tart shell. Again, a really well-balanced dish.

This was a really fun, playful and unpredictable dinner. We'll definitely make it a point to come here more often, so although they're more than deserving of at least one star, part of me is actually glad that they're not in the guide. Then it won't be overrun with starchasers who won't appreciate a good meal if you hit them on the head with it. Hmph.

A says:

Best meal I've had in a while. So inventive. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2016


C says:

Tried Dstllry's new omakase dinner - 11 courses for a very reasonable $120. They also have a 6-8 course for $65, and a 8-10 course for $95. The higher priced courses may also have more premium items, besides just more courses. 

First two courses were samplers that were quite Japanese inspired, with items like negitoro, foie with unagi, cubes of their signature barachirashi, and uni tempura. 

Then came possibly the best dish of the evening - a giant-headed carabinero prawn, with sakura ebi and caviar. The prawn was served sashimi style, but the head was lightly grilled, resulting in the head juices solidifying ever so slightly. The red purée isn't sambal chilli, that's the head juice from the prawn. Insane.

Onsen tamago with shaved truffle, ponzu and wanton crisps was also very good. 

The bouillabaisse-inspired broth was surprisingly light, with a nice meaty Hokkaido scallop inside. The mussels were a tad rubbery though.

Next up was their take on katsu curry, with ramen in the curry sauce. Quite a sizeable portion, and we're only halfway...

Mozambique lobster grilled with mentaiko, with mentaiko pasta. This was really tasty, particularly the pasta. Getting quite full...

Pan-seared seabass with tomato salsa. After the heaviness of the previous 2 dishes, I was glad to have a relatively lighter dish. 

Alas, only a brief respite. Next up was chilli fried rice with seared beef. Both very flavourful, but we're rapidly hitting a wall...

OMG! More carbs! This time, a cha soba soup with tempura prawn and soft shell crab. By then I'd given up. Plus the tempura was quite oily, which didn't help. 

Dessert was home-made vanilla ice cream with yam paste (orh ni). I found the yam paste a little on the floury side, as though the flour hadn't quite been cooked out.

For the first time in a very long while, an omakase got the better of atetoomuch. I think the dishes were mostly very tasty, but not enough thought has gone into the progression of the meal. Having 4 carb dishes is just too much, and with a large proportion of the proteins being fried or seared, everything felt a bit oily and heavy after a while.

We gave the chef our feedback, and he admitted that they're still finding the right balance. With some tweaks on the portion sizes and the flow of the menu, they could have a good thing going here. 

A says:

Great value. The quantity defeated even me. I think they need to cut down at least 1 carb, probably the soba and soft shell crab which was a bit too oily.