Monday, 7 May 2012

Korean fine dining - Poom Seoul

For our last dinner in Seoul, Won had made reservations for a resto called Poom Seoul, located on the slopes of Namsan and overlooking the city. The chef of the resto is female (Young Hee Roh) is very well-regarded and Poom specialises in contemporary, refined Korean cuisine using the best and freshest ingredients. There is a choice of tasting menus and our dinner had 9 courses - luckily, the dishes were not too large since we had eaten so much already during the day!!
Poached egg with sea cucumber, abalone, shrimp, cucumber and pear with meat broth, pine nuts and citrus sauce

Barbecued aubergine filled with cucumber, bean sprouts and mushroom with vinegar soy sauce

 Summer dumpling with pan fried mushrooms and cucumber

Meat broth with beef, mushroom and mung bean jelly

Pancake with leeks, green pepper, sesame leaf, soybean paste and chilli pepper paste 

Grilled sirloin with soy sauce mixed mustard served with fried garlic and grilled vegetables

Clam and squash stew with rice and side dishes

Traditional deep fried cookie made of rice flour, sesame oil and honey dipped in honey ginger syrup

 Kimchi pots on the terrace at Poom Seoul

It was a lovely dinner in impressive surroundings. The food was delicious and well presented; however, I couldn't help but feel that some of the "soul" of Korean food was missing from our meal. Yes, Poom Seoul shows that Korean cuisine can be as elegantly presented as other cuisines but what I love about Korean food is the great variety and boldness of flavours, the use of different cooking techniques and the generosity of dishes served. I don't think I am expressing myself very well but I guess it boils down to the fact that eating "normal" food cooked to a exceptionally high standard (which is easy to find here in Seoul) gives me a lot more pleasure these days than seeking out the dizzy heights of fine dining and the likes of Michelin. The problem for me is that fine dining promises much and after many meals, rarely manage to fully deliver.....

358-17 Huam-dong  

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