Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Mingles Restaurant - Apgujeong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea

One of the best meals I’ve had in my life was in Seoul, South Korea. What’s even better is that in Seoul, you can do progressive lunches at Michellin restaurants at a reasonable price. In this post, I’m referring to Mingles Restaurant. It’s a restaurant that’s positioned at number 11 in Asia’s 50 best restaurants as of 2018. It has also been voted as Korea’s best restaurant for 3 consecutive years.

Mingles is also located in the upmarket area of Apgujeong and is not far from another Michelin star restaurant, Jungsik. The interior and vibe of the space is both warm and hip without any pretention even in their service. The name Mingles comes from the “mingling” or fusion of cooking styles/flavours from European, Korean and Japanese cuisine. Head chef Mingoo Kang is said to have worked at Nobu and also trained under renowned chef Martin Berasategui. The menu is seasonal and it changes every few weeks so dishes in the post may not be available at the time of your visit. We opted for their 7 course lunch (we ordered different dishes on some of the courses), which was ₩85,000 per person at the time.

It was love at first taste for me with their Amuse bouche. It’s Mingle’s egg custard with sansho pepper dish (still available). The beautiful silky custard had garlic, smoky and peppery citrus notes.

Squid carpacio dressed with fish roe.

Fruits appetiser with seasonal seafood and pinenut sauce.

We also had a Korean Cabbage Seon which had abalone on cabbage, cabbage consomme and rice cake (still available). It was delicate and simple but it had so much umami.

The butterfish from Jeju island with fried potato was delicate and perfectly cooked. The fish was velvety and juicy.

The braised Korean short-rib with roasted onion was amazing! The meat was fatty, tender and buttery as expected from a Korean short-rib. If your buttery umami from the short-rib was not enough, you will get the same extra goodness from the beef tartare along with the crunchy tile of battered nori.

High quality striploin with Jang (or Korean style sauce) consomme with seasonal vegetables and beef tartare. This dish was umami packed with from the meat to the veggies. The medium rare striploin was super tender, perfectly cooked and seasoned well. The veggies also had some sour and sweet notes.

The Jang trio is a “Doen-Jang” creme brulee, “Gan-jang” pecan, “Gochujang” blackrice, vanilla ice cream and whisky foam dessert was more than just a great treat. It was a party of well balanced flavours in my mouth!

The chestnut Korean style mont blanc was also nothing short of excellent. It had jujube, Korean citron, pear and mascarpone. It was almost like a hybrid of mont blanc and cheesecake.

We ended our lunch with a long black coffee made from Fritz coffee beans and specialty tea with sweet treats.

I was highly impressed from the space to the service and food. So much attention to detail and creativity went into each dish. I will definitely come back here next time I’m in Seoul. Another plus side to this restaurant is that you can book ahead online too!

757 Seolleung-ro, Nonhyeon 2(i)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Koreaa
Tues-Fri 12 to 10:30pm
Sat-Sun 12 to 10:00pm
Monday - closed

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Mate Burger Shop - Mt Druitt

Mounty County has a new Sheriff in town! The team behind Mate Burger truck has now opened a new shop in the heart of Mount Druitt.

I’ve been a fan of my homie Henry Paraan’s work since I first tried his burgers at the Blacktown Aussie Night Markets 2 years ago. You can now get their American/Filipino fusion burgers from Friday to Sunday at their shop that sits up to 40 people. Henry is a Shake Shack fan like I am so you can expect awesome juicy flavoursome smashed patty burgers from this new joint too. The all-time favourite Mate offerings are also available like the cheesemate, ensaymada burger and adobo fries. Then there’s the shop exclusives like lechon rice bowl and the Hey Mounty burger.

Fries before guys folks!! Yes, they do have normal fries and a Cheese-cino fries ($10). The cheese-cino fries is a serving of large French fries loaded with melted cheese and tocino-style bacon pieces and Mate sauce. The tocino-style bacon had hints of garlic and sweet flavours. 

Their classic ensaymada burger ($13) consists of a juicy beef patty, smoked sriracha maple bacon, rocket, melted kraft cheese and a mayo based Mate sauce in a sweet fluffy buttery Filipino-style brioche bread with cheese. This burger perfectly exhibits how one can balance out sweet, salty and umami flavours.

The Mare (pronounced Mah-reh) burger ($14) is the first exclusive item on the menu. This is a must order when you visit the shop for the first time! Crispy deep-fried chicken thigh fillet with the Mate sauce, cheese, apple, chilli jam and lettuce in a soft milk bun. The coating on the chicken was crunchy with a texture somewhere between a doughy karaage chicken and Southern-style buttermilk coating. The meat was perfectly cooked and I love it went well with the apple and chilli jam.

The Hey Mounty ($14 for a single patty and $4 for an extra patty) is another shop exclusive. A massive classic “the works” style burger with beef patty, tocino bacon, cheese, mate sauce, onions, tomato and lettuce.

Mate stays true to it’s Filipino roots with a Filipino style Rice Bowl ($15)! Fluffy rice topped with succulent and crispy pieces of roast pork belly, atchara (pickled shredded green papaya), lechon sauce and banana ketchup.

Add ons to you burger like fries, bacon and drinks are also available. There are also plans of expanding the menu too, which includes the addition of the all-time Filipino dessert halo halo. Trading hours will also be extended soon (follow @MateBurger on instgram for updates). Congrats Henry, Rose and the rest of team Mate Burger!

Mate Burger Shop
1B Mount Druitt Road
Mount Druitt NSW

Trading hours:
Friday to Sunday
Fri & Sat 12pm to 8pm
Sun 12pm to 6pm

Mate Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Goryon San, Surry Hills - Kushiyaki/Yakitori

The contemporary yakitori that we come across out here in Australia and other parts of the world is in actual fact Kushiyaki. Whilst the menu in a yakitori restaurant mainly consists of chicken based grilled skewers, kushiyaki restaurants covers all bases.


Head Chef Akihito Marui
The new Goryon San in Surry Hills is a Hakata-style Kushiyaki restaurant that offers a great range of grilled delights. They have 3 shops in Tokyo: Nishiazabu, Shibuya Miyamasuzaka and Shibuya Nanpeida. My friend Akihito Marui (ex Torikizoku Osaka, Yakitori Jin) is the head chef at the Surry Hills shop. Hakata-style kushiyaki specialises in rolled up meat skewers that are filled with either vegetables, seafood and even cheese seasoned with tare (sauce marinade) or shio (salt). But since it’s Hakata in origin, expect a lot of pork in the menu. There’s a decent range of sake, shochu and wine too.

Chef Yuto Moriue
The Surry Hills shop has counter seatings that lets you enjoy the grilling action (watch out for Chef Yuto Moriue aka the “Japanese Salt Bae”) as well as seatings for 2 people and big groups. The space is well lit with modern Japanese fittings and furnishings.

The grilled skewers menu is quite extensive and boasts quality:

The wagyu loin skewer ($10 each) was extremely tasty, tender and buttery. It also comes with some freshly grated wasabi.

The sukiyaki wagyu skewer ($8.50 each) is another hit! Crown daisy leaf & enoki mushrooms wrapped in tender Wagyu glazed with tare. It also comes with egg yolk for dipping.

King prawns ($7.50 each) wrapped in thinly sliced pork belly.

The buta bara ($5.50 each) is a pork belly skewer that is extra fatty and seasoned with shio.

A bunch of juicy (with a slight crunch) enoki mushrooms & pork belly skewers ($6.50 each).

The XL shiitake mushrooms ($6 each) are smoky and full of umami.

How can I say no to grilled camembert cheese ($5.50 each)!

What do I love more than tsukune (grilled minced chicken skewers)? Grilled cheese tsukune ($8 each) of course!

Then there’s the gorgonzola honey skewers ($6 each). Pungent and delicious gorgonzola cheese wrapped in sweet & smoky flaky pastry glazed with honey.

The scallop and bacon skewers ($7.50 each) were so addictive!

There’s a also a classic zuri or chicken giblet skewer ($5.50 each) that was smoky, sweet and tender.

Last but not least is the fatty and delicious bonjiri ($5.50 each) or chicken tail. Love the umami packed caramelised bits at the edges of the fatty bits.

Omedetou gozaimasu Goryon San on your first Sydney branch opening!

Goryon San Surry Hills
47 Reservoir Street
Surry Hills NSW
Ph: 9281 2228

Opening Hours
Dinner 5:30pm to 10:00pm 7 days

Ramen lunch (COMING SOON) 12pm to 2:00pm

Goryon San Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato