Korean food has enjoyed a recent, and much deserved surge in popularity. KIM Contemporary Korean restaurant in Potts Point is the latest project of David Ralph from Flying Fish fame, and Tae Kyu Lee, formerly of Mr. Wong and Ms. G’s.
Kim Restaurant may be a relative newcomer to the Llankelly Place dining precinct but it’s an exciting addition to the vibrant lane. Llankelly place is tucked in behind the Main Street of Kings Cross. The lane way is pedestrian access only and full of trendy little restaurants with loads of character.
Arriving early meant we had the option of dining indoors or outside under the heaters. It was a mild night and I couldn’t resist the more lively atmosphere outside.
We made our way to a gorgeously arranged table whilst our waiter organised a heater and the menus.
A welcome dish of shredded sweet potato which had been deep fried to a crispy deliciousness arrived at the table. The waiter explained that it is customary to serve “Anju”. Anju is a term which describes Korean food served with alcohol.
The sweet potato was so addictive! It was sprinkled with chilli, Korean salt and sesame. The flavours combined beautifully. Before long Mr GG and I were pressing a finger to the empty plate to get every last sprinkle of the seasoned salt.
I ordered a pot of the Korean Fermented Green Tea. Fermented tea is a process where the tea is exposed to microbes, oxygen and humidity. The fermentation process alters the chemistry and the flavour of the tea. The waiter also explained the tea is brewed at 100 degrees.
The resulting tea was slightly floral, smooth and silky. The fermentation process removes any bitterness from the tea and this was evident in Kim Restaurant’s Tea.
We were nice and toasty warm under the heater, but we were also offered some soft genuine South Korean army blankets should we need to snuggle more. The waiter joked that they were rated to -15%. It’s the little touches that make this restaurant so interesting. I wonder where you buy South Korean Army blankets?
Mr GG chose the Korean Hite beer as his first beverage of the evening. The Hite beer is a brewed in Seoul and is South Korea’s best selling beer. The beer itself was clean, crisp and slightly sweet, it’s quite thin on flavour and doesn’t give a good head. Hubby has tried Hite before and was interested to compare it against OB (Oriental Brewery) the other Korean beer on offer at Kim Restaurant.
OB is South Korea’s 4th highest selling beer. It is brewed from rice and has slightly more flavour than the Hite.
Kim Restaurant has a variety of pickles, Kimchi and Namool (Namul) on the menu. We chose the Kojengi Kimichi as the waiter described it as being the spiciest of the vegetable side dishes.
On the menu these are described as “white boy” made seasonal Kimchi. I learned these were David’s responsibility, hence the menu description. Our Kojengi Kimchi consisted of radish, cucumber and cabbage. The radish was cut in fingers and was crisp, fresh and spicy while the cucumber had a more salty cooling flavour. The cabbage was probably my favourite as it had taken up more of the spice mix and had the biggest flavour and heat.
I can never go past dumplings on a menu. We ordered a serve of the Mandoo Korean dumplings with a pork filling. They were served with a soy, lemon and Miriam dipping sauce. Biting into the soft, gelatinous dumpling wrapper was sublime. The pork filling was so deliciously moist and full of spiced pork goodness.
Mandoo Korean Dumplings – Pork
By now Kim restaurant was full and the little kitchen was pumping out dish after dish. It amazed me that so much delicious food could be produced in such a small kitchen staffed by just two chefs.
The dish of the evening for me was the Ojingoh Soondae. What arrived at our table was a squid tube which had been stuffed with a mixture of beef and pork and was resting on a spicy Korean cabbage Kimchi. The squid had been topped with a Korean style pesto which was made from a traditional Korean mountain herb, combined with sesame oil. I loved the flavour of the spicy Kimchi, charred but tender squid and porky filling!
It was time to roll up our sleeves with the next dish.
The Bossam with pork belly, ssamjang and garlic chives kimchi is served on a platter which allows diners to construct their own “wrap” in the lettuce provided.
Such a melody of complimentary flavours. The pork belly glistened on the platter in all it’s layer glory. The garlic chives kimchi was served topped with julienne pear to add a touch of sweetness to the heat of the kimchi. Picked onion lent a vinegar, sour element to the dish and the spicy ssamjang paste brought the dish to life. The ssamjung paste had been topped with a mixture of pumpkin, and sunflower seeds giving a lovely textural earthy component.
Our final dish of the evening was the Dobbokki. Sticky rice cakes had been cut into strips and deep fried. They were then coated in a spicy Korean sauce and served with light pork floss.
This sticky plate of goodness made my mouth sing! The flavours were heightened by each delicious bite. The heat continued to build but I couldn’t resist taking another bite, and then another until the plate was empty and my mouth was on fire.
We complimented the waiter on the delicious assortment of dishes we had sampled. He explained to us that in Korea, dishes must aid “wellbeing”. The Koreans believe that for health in excess of 30 small portions of different foods should be consumed, all with different health purposes. This is why there are so many side dishes in a Korean meal.
I certainly enjoyed the amazing flavours and the contemporary style of Kim restaurant. It has a quiet, easy sophistication with exceptional food and knowledgeable, friendly service.
Gourmet Getaways would like to thank Kim Restaurant for their hospitality.