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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Kim Restaurant, Potts Point

TKFC Tae Kyu fried chicken at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point

EDIT: Kim Restaurant has closed

Modern Korean might be riding a new wave of popularity in Sydney-town, but Kim Restaurant in Potts Point is no gimmick. It's helmed by David Ralph (co-owner of Kakawa Chocolates and ex-Flying Fish) and Tae Kyu Lee (ex-Mr Wong and Ms Gs), both of whom are serious about Korean cuisine. That means a menu littered with interesting items beyond the run-of-the-mill japchae noodles; with dishes like soy fermented prawns, crispy skin mackerel and acorn jelly with sesame leaf.

Chef David Ralph at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Chef David Ralph in the kitchen

At first glance, it's tempting to make comparisons with that other hip new Korean restaurant, Moon Park, but the vibe is infinitely more relaxed here. The tiny restaurant is more outside than inside, with tables and chairs sprawled out into the laneway of Llankelly Place. Outdoor heaters will keep you warm at night but nabbing a table inside does give you a sneaky glimpse into the kitchen.

Fresh makgeolli at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Fresh makgeolli $15 

The semi-outdoor space does encourage more laughter and animated conversation, but maybe that's just the makgeolli talking. They serve a fresh version here, a fermented rice water drink that arrives in a copper teapot for you to pour into individual tea cups. There's a slight fermented fizz to the milky liquid but it's not overly alcoholic, and makes for easy drinking.

Three Korean style vegetables at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Housemade namool $9
Three Korean style vegetables

Everything is designed to share and you'll want to, if like us, you want to try as much as possible. There are 19 savoury dishes on the menu and between the eight of us we still only manage to get through 13 of them.

The pickles and kimchis are a good place to start. The housemade namool is a sprightly trio of mixed vegetables, from tender green tendrils studded with sesame seeds to shavings of pickled cucumber draped with red chillies.

Housemade pickles at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Housemade pickles $9
Five mixed pickles

The housemade pickles are bound to get your tastebuds firing too, a collection of radishes, beetroot, carrot and cucumber that vary in juiciness and crunch.

Kojengi white boy made kimchi at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Kojengi kimchi $9
Three white boy made seasonal kimchis

And they're not afraid to make fun at their own expense either, with their kojengi kimchi that translates as kimchi "made by big nose" or "white man". The fermented kimchi is currently David's responsibility, and be warned, he doesn't hold back on the chilli - just the way we like it.

Haemul pajeon seafood pancake at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Haemul pajeon $14
Pancake, squid, prawns, octopus, shallots

So every Korean restaurant offers pajeon seafood pancake, but noone does it quite like this. The haemul pajeon is a seafood spectacular of squid, prawns, octopus and shallot tenuously bound together in an earth-shattering batter. I've had plenty of pajeons in my time but this is less of a soggy pancake and more of a kakiage tempura crunch-fest.

The seafood is fresh and firm, the batter is crisp, and the sweet dressing on the side kicks everything up a notch. It's so incredibly good we ordered another at the end of the night.

TKFC Tae Kyu fried chicken at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Yangnyum tonk dak $18 for 9 pieces
TKFC, wings, bbq sauce

Tae Kyu puts his stamp on fried chicken, tumbling midwings and drummettes in a spicy barbecue sauce and then sprinkling the lot with crushed peanut and green onions.

Dotori mook muchim acorn jelly with mushrooms and sesame leaf at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Dotori mook muchim $12
Acorn jelly, mushrooms, sesame leaf

If things are getting too fiery, the dotori mook muchim provides some cool respite. The rectangular prisms of acorn jelly have a wobbly nuttiness, tossed through with enoki mushrooms and peppery ribbons of sesame leaf.

Ojingoh soondae kimchi, pork and beef stuffed quid at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Ojingoh soondae $18
Kimchi, pork, beef stuffed squid, minari

The ojingoh soondae is one of my favourites of the night, a whole squid tube stuffed with beef and grilled to a wondrous tenderness. It's served on a bed of kimchi and covered in a trail of minari, or Chinese celery.

Prawn jang soy fermented prawn at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Prawn jang $18
Soy fermented prawn, yolk, rice

Our other highlight is the prawn jang, three massive raw prawns fermented in soy for three days.

Rice with egg yolk at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Rice with egg yolk

The prawns are served with a side of rice, crowned with a runny egg yolk that's ripe for bursting.

Soy fermented prawns with rice and egg yolk at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Mixing the soy fermented prawn with the rice

The prawns have a shimmering luminosity, not unlike raw scampi or lobster, but the soy fermentation gives a slightly chewy feel to the flesh. You can smell the sea with each mouthful, and the subtle saltiness of the prawn is a perfect complement to the sticky grains of steamed rice.

Goduenger crispy skin cured mackerel at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Goduenger $12
Crispy skin cured mackerel

The seafood bounty continues with the crispy skin cured mackerel, best eaten with rice, although I could see this working as side snack to a cold beer as well.

Bossam pork belly with ssamjang at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Bossam $26
Pork belly, ssamjang, garlic chive, kimchi

It's a hands-on affair for the bossam, one of my favourite Korean dishes. Fat-ribboned slices of pork belly are lusciously tender, wrapped in baby cos leaves with kimchi garlic chives and spears of nashi pear for sweetness. It's meaty, fatty, spicy and sweet and the crisp crunch of lettuce leaves you re-energised for more.

Jokbal naengchae pork hock with jellyfish at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Jokbal naengchae $18
Pork hock, trotters, jellyfish, mustard

It doesn't stop there. We plow on through the pork hock, thin slices of trotter hidden beneath a tangle of spiced up jellyfish, cucumber and enoki mushrooms.

Dobbokki rice cakes with chilli sauce and pork floss at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Dobbokki $12
Rice cakes, chilli sauce, pork floss

Dobbokki is a crowd-pleaser, little stumps of chewy rice cake deep-fried so the surface is deliciously tacky. Chilli sauce adds heat, and fluffy strands of pork give a protein boost. You could spend all night eating these, one by one, until there's nothing left on the plate.

Ogok bap 9 grain rice and roasted seaweed at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Ogok bap and roasted kim $5.50
9 grain rice with salted roasted seaweed

Nine grain rice is a revelation of textures, a nourishing mix of black rice, barley, mung beans and more, that feels like a meal with every bite.

Ogok bap 9 grain rice and roasted seaweed at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
 Salted roasted seaweed

The rice is so filling you could probably share this between four, but the chewiness is so addictive you may find yourself going back for more. It's lightened if you eat the rice with the accompanying sheets of roasted seaweed, the crinkly squares adding a salty whiff of the sea.

Gamja tang pork ribs stew at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Gamja tang $25
Pork ribs stew, potato, wild sesame, minari

And then there's the gamja tang pork rib stew, a hearty huddle of pork bones simmered with potato in a spicy soup. It's the ideal soup to warm you up, from the inside out.

Kalbi jjim pear and soy braised beef short ribs at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Kalbi jjim $26
Pear and soy braised beef short ribs, carrot

We're struggling by now, but there's still room for the kalbi jjim, a beef short rib stew cooked with carrot, soy and pear. The beef slides straight off the bone, soft and unctuous, and we soak up our rice with the meaty gravy sweetened with pear.

Shikkae barley, ginger, malt, rice and cinnamon punch at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Shikkae $5
Barley, ginger, malt, rice, cinnamon punch

Shikkae might sound like a strange thing to order for dessert but this sweetened barley and rice drink has a soothing and calming effect that makes a welcome digestif. It's extremely cooling, with a hint of ginger and cinnamon that soothes the stomach.

Patbingsoo milk ice with fruit jelly and red beans at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Patbingsoo $12
Milk ice, fruit jelly, red beans

The patbingsoo just looks like a mountain of ice, but dig beneath the milk ice crystals and you'll find hidden treasures of lychee jelly, cooked red beans, and slivers of fuyu fruit. It's light and sweet and refreshing for the palate.

Hoddeok Busan style doughnuts with black sesame parfait at Kim Restaurant, Potts Point
Hoddeok $12
Busan style doughnuts, black sesame parfait

The hoddeok is more of a heartier dessert, and it's hard not to get excited by the prospect of donuts. The Busan style doughnuts are a little denser in texture but the sugar crystal coating is all too familiar. They're sprawled on the plate with squares of black sesame parfait and doused in a gloopy trail of basil seeds that equals spoonfuls of fun.

There's much to love here, a foundation of traditional Korean cuisine with a youthful spin. If this is the face of modern Korean in Sydney, we want more of it.

Kim Restaurant, Potts Point

Kim on Urbanspoon

Kim Restaurant CLOSED
24-30 Springfield Avenue, Potts Point, Sydney
(enter via Llankelly Place off Darlinghurst Road)
Tel: +61 (02) 9357 4578

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 5pm - 10pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Korean - Moon Park, Redfern

Potts Point - Busshari Japanese
Potts Point - Gastro Park
28 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/15/2014 09:12:00 pm


  • At 6/15/2014 9:25 pm, Anonymous Cindy (a foodie's joy) said…

    Great post! The Bossam is seriously calling me! :)

  • At 6/15/2014 10:18 pm, Blogger ChocolateSuze said…

    dem donuts. YES.

  • At 6/16/2014 1:18 am, Anonymous Padaek said…

    Wow - the food looks wonderful! I've not seen Korean food like this before - so innovative and exciting. Everything looks super delicious, esp. the prawn jang - wow - steak tartare, eat your heart out. :) Gorgeous pics, esp. love the one of the makgeolli and copper teapot. Magic!

  • At 6/16/2014 3:59 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Oh! So pickle, very kimchi, much yearn!

  • At 6/16/2014 7:18 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    I've been wanting to go here for a while now! Yes to those Busan style doughnuts!

  • At 6/16/2014 7:34 am, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    Awesome line-up of dishes there. Especially the mackerel! And the dobbokki, hock, stuffed squid. Hmm, there's nothing there I wouldn't try!

  • At 6/16/2014 10:28 am, Anonymous mademoiselle mange à Sydney said…

    Yum!!! I luuuuve Chicken wings. Could have them for brekkie, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner :). I walked past Kim restaurant friday but already had had dinner. The rice cake with pork floss look quite intriguing too... Must definitely go there :) :)

  • At 6/16/2014 11:26 am, Blogger Jacq said…

    ooh those fermented prawns sound amazing! good to see there's still some favourites like korean fried chicken and dobbokki that have been given a modern twist

  • At 6/16/2014 11:30 am, Anonymous Martine @ Chompchomp said…

    It looks like you managed to get your way through a hearty chunk of their menu. Impressive. As always Perth is a little behind Sydney in food trends but we recently got our first non-BBQ modern Korean restaurant open and it is also really good, however not with quite the finesse this place has. However about 75% of their menu is GF which means I can totally pig out! Woot!

  • At 6/16/2014 11:52 am, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    TKFC and rice cake thanks! my 2 favourite dishes!

  • At 6/16/2014 11:58 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    What a feast! Love the looks of the paejon and cured fish. Reminds me that I haven't had Korean for ages...!

  • At 6/16/2014 12:29 pm, Blogger Von said…

    Wow! That's a lot of food!! :) Seafood pancake is one of my favourite Korean foods- this version looks amazing!

  • At 6/16/2014 8:48 pm, Anonymous angela@mykikicake said…

    Shamefully I have never had Korean except for the BBQ places. I want to try that seafood pancake.

  • At 6/16/2014 9:24 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Oh yummy! Korean's always on my agenda because I can't ever go past kimchi. Glad to know there's more beside BBQ and kimchi however!

  • At 6/17/2014 2:14 pm, Anonymous ChopinandMysaucepan said…

    Dear Helen,

    This food is testimony that Sydney's dining scene is world class.

    It will be difficult to find this kind of creativity in parts of Europe and North America.

  • At 6/17/2014 4:55 pm, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    Oh my - eyeing those wings and rice cakes!

  • At 6/17/2014 10:30 pm, Anonymous daisy@Nevertoosweet said…

    Ohhh I'm sure I've read about Kim Restaurant before :) it looks and sounds absolutely AMAZING! I'm also a huge fan of Korean food so it'll definitely be perfect for me and can you believe it, I haven't tried Pat sing bo before!

  • At 6/18/2014 1:03 am, Anonymous Gourmet Getaways said…

    What a variety! I didn't expect that they'd have a wide range of items in the menu. I'm scheduled to visit pretty soon, too :)

    Gourmet Getaways

  • At 6/18/2014 1:20 am, Blogger CQUEK said…

    I think I would be one of those ppl who would love to eat all night long

  • At 6/18/2014 12:50 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Oh wow the food descriptions sound so authentically Korean, but the presentation is so modern!! Those fermented prawns look delicious!

  • At 6/18/2014 5:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Needing a Korean fix NOW! Love to order the Shikkae, sounds delightful.

  • At 6/18/2014 6:43 pm, Anonymous Amanda@ChewTown said…

    I really shouldn't read your blog before I've eaten dinner... now this is ALL I'm craving right now.

  • At 6/19/2014 5:41 pm, Anonymous Berny @ I Only Eat Desserts said…

    YUMM I love Korean food - my bf is Korean and his mum makes the best Korean food ever :P This restaurant looks so posh and I am loving the sound of ojingoh soondae <3

  • At 6/20/2014 1:01 am, Anonymous sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    All looks amazing, but it is the prawn jang that has grabbed my attention. Marinated for 3 days, wow.

  • At 6/20/2014 1:01 am, Anonymous sara | Belly Rumbles said…

    All looks amazing, but it is the prawn jang that has grabbed my attention. Marinated for 3 days, wow.

  • At 6/27/2014 11:13 pm, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    This looks incredible! I recently spent a week in Korea and just GORGED myself nearly every day. This modern take on the food I was eating there looks great.

  • At 7/03/2014 7:07 am, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    All the food & drinks look AMAZING! Dishes look stylised yet flavourful and no need to worry about freshness/quality of ingredients.

  • At 1/09/2015 2:07 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    I'm not too keen on Korean food, but having seen this, I think I could change my mind and make the trek to Pott's Point and Kim's. Petra


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