[Seoul] Apparently, molecular Korean food is still considered a novel thing in Korea, and Jungsik 정식 is a frontrunner by taking traditional ingredients and serving them in a modern way.
Opened in 2009, Chef Jung Sik Yim’s restaurant specialised in this new style of Korean cuisine propelled its way to be the highest ranked restaurant in Korea on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, and its outpost at New York also quickly earned a Michelin star.
No mean feat.
For those who has a certain impression of Korean food that it is all about kimchi and barbecued meats, this restaurant may just blow you away.
The Jungsik building at Gangnam is divided into three stories – the lower floor with a bar concept, and the other two consist of the main restaurant and VIP rooms.
For a fine dining restaurant, prices are considered value for its buck when compared to its equivalent in America, European or Singapore.
You can choose between a 4 or 5 course Choice Lunch (40,000 Won SGD$46, 80,000 Won SGD$92), 8 course Tasting Lunch (150,000 Won, SGD$173), 5 course Choice Dinner (120,000 Won, SGD$138), or Tasting Dinner (180,000 Won, SGD$208).
I ordered a 5-course which included an appetizer, rice dish, sea item, land item and sweet dessert. More than half can be considered remarkable, some I thought were almost faultless.
The banchan-inspired appetizers already stole my heart away.
These cute little items of mini-rice ‘bowls’, egg pudding with asparagus, smoked salmon with kimchi, smoked beef sticks encapsulated some of Korea’s iconic dishes. I said “So fanta-bulous” and that was only the start. (Note: The accent of the server was slightly thick, so I could jot down some ingredients wrongly.)
The standout dish for me was the Octopus – slow-cooked so it was elastic yet tender, deep fried till lightly crisp.
I couldn’t imagine that one day I was say “That octopus had a great texture”, because I had so many rubbery ones, and you know this octopus must had a good swim.
Another worthy appetizer was the Truffle Egg, mixed with white kimchi, pan-fried mushrooms and covered in truffle parmesan foam. When you mix the dish up and shove a spoonful in your mouth, the mingling of truffle aroma and creamy textures could send you on a gastronomical high.
Both the Uni Sea Urchin and Baby Octopus Rice Bowls had its strength, the former velvety smooth and rich, the latter savoury-tasty on every bite.
A shocker dessert was the Dolhareubang. You may find this ‘stone grandpa’ figure familiar, especially if you have been to Jeju Island. It is said to symbolise fertility?? (Nevermind if it looks like a male anatomical part. Oppsie.)
This is indeed a piece of art – green tea mousse and peanut ganche, smothered in black sesame butter and served with black sesame sponge cake and milk sherbet. Didn’t taste bad at all.
An exceptional meal at Jungsik. Probably one of the best fine dining restaurants in Korea, cleverly incorporates Korean cultures and taste into the menu. Yes, this is a dessert. A green tea mousse cake. It looks like a dolharbang statue, that I seen at Jeju Island. Em, yup. They represent protection and fertility. Now that I just ate one up…
After trying out a few of Seoul’s highly acclaimed restaurants, I thought that Jungsik was a one to beat with all rounded innovative dishes influenced by Korean culture, sincere service and surprisingly not that unfriendly to the wallet. Quite amazing.
11 Seolleungro, 158 Gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
서울특별시 강남구 선릉로 158길 11 [지도보기]
Tel: +82 2 517 4654
Opening Hours: Lunch 12pm Last Order 2pm, Dinner 5:30pm Last order 9pm
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