Seoul : Return to OKitchen

Okitchen - Bread Basket

27th December 2012.
Seoul, South Korea.
If you know me, I like visiting cafes and bistros or an eatery with a casual atmosphere and sentimental value that makes Dezato and Black Sheep Café sort of special for me. Pity Black Sheep Café is now gone as Chef Ratha has moved on, now heading Masons at Gillman Camp and as much as I want to try his Duck Confit, 48++ SGD is simply too much for me.

Okitchen - Inside

In my second last day in Seoul, I decided to revisit OKitchen once more before my trip back to Singapore. OKitchen was like the good’ol Black Sheep Café, the café loves cooking and he comes and converse with his patrons from everything from food to travel. The interior is cosy and the atmosphere is rather informal. On top of that, the food is great.

Okitchen - Bread Basket

As like the previous time, the meal started off with some bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I really love their Onion Focaccia.

Okitchen - Seafood Platter

Once again, I had the Lunch Set. I noticed the Seafood Plate is different to my delight. According to Chef Susumu, the fish varies depending on the market and he mentioned that his diners should not expect tuna, sea urchin, king crab or lobster on the plate as these are expensive and premium items that high end restaurants are serving. At OKitchen, he instead looks out for the fresh and affordable fishes and come up with various kinds of way to serve them.

Okitchen - Seafood Platter

The Seafood Plate has a sequence to follow and the flavours intensify as one progresses with the various seafood served on the plate. Starting with the delicate flavours, I had the Black Rockfish with sansho fruits pickle made with sansho seed, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar and a Yellowtail served with grated yamaimo (mountain yam) and ponzu, a mixture of soy, vinegar and lemon or yuzu juice). Both are rather mild and light in flavor, The Black Rockfish was slightly savoury and the sansho seed was like ikura while the Yellowtail has a nice yuzu-like dressing.

Yellowtail

Next up, I had the Spike Fish, also known as sayori in Japanese seasoned with perilla seed oil, caramelized kimchee and dried seaweed and Smoked Mackerel marinated with vinegar, soy, sugar and salt and served with grated ginger and seaweed. The sayori was rather briny and the mackerel was sweet, robust and fruity.

Sayori

Finally, strong flavours marked the end of the dish with Sea Cucumber seasoned with chojun made with grated apple, gochujang, vinegar, sugar and honey served with shredded leeks as well as the engawa of a Halibut (Chef Susumu’s favourite part of the halibut) which was prepared with a Mexican twist, using garlic, cilantro, parsley, lime juice and oil. The Sea Cucumber was jelly-like and juicy with a late onset of spicy flavours from the gochujang while the halibut, soft and springy has strong, earthy and herbal flavours.

Okitchen - Potato Soup

The Fish Chowder wasn’t available on that day and it was replaced with a bowl of Potato Soup which has a bacon and chicken stock base and garnished with fried shredded potatoes and leeks. It was quite simply one of the best potato soups I had thus far. The addition of friend shredded potatoes (somewhat like a rosti) adds crunch for the soup and those bits of bacon in the soup makes it really fragrant. For a cream soup, this was rather light as it was slightly frothy like a cappuccino.

Okitchen - Root Vegetable Terrine

The beautifully presented Root Vegetable Terrine, Gorgonzola Mousse and Pickled Salad feature a really tasty croquette of warm creamy cheese which flows out like a really nice liu sha bao (except this is savoury). The terrine composed of carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, kohrabi, smoked sweet potatoes and beet was really interesting because the vegetables have distinct flavours and textures, combining them in different ways yield a different kind of result each time. This is one of my favourite dishes for the day.

Okitchen - Casarecce

Missing the really good mushroom pasta I only had a bite of the last time, I went for the Casarecce this time round. The pasta as usual came with its aromatic mushroom cream sauce with generous bits of mushrooms. However, I felt the seasoning was slightly off this time round although it was still delicious.

Okitchen -Cheesecake

Dessert was a creamy and rich Cheesecake served with Strawberry Sherbet. The refreshing strawberry sherbet balances the rich, creamy cheesecake rather well.

OKitchen - Dessert

OKitchen

168-14, Itaewon-dong
Seoul, South Korea

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