Not being a real watcher or follower of Food Trends, I can’t help but notice that Korean food and flavours seem to be getting featured more and more and sometimes in the most unexpected places. We have seen Kimchi burgers, Korean chicken wings, liberal use of Gojuchang, that spicy Korean bean paste in all sorts of dishes, not just Asian ones. All this partly inspired by David Chang of New York’s Momofuku fame as he seems to be cited as the source of some of those trends hitting the streets of London.
The talented Stevie Parle of Dock Kitchen has just returned from Korea where he went on an exploratory trip to experience and discover Korean flavours. The restaurant funds trips for their chefs to do similar food exploration trips abroad which results in the innovative menus at Dock Kitchen.
The restaurant sits on the edge of the canal in a glasshouse structure. The open kitchen splits the long dining room and the semi private room at the back. It’s all exposed brick and clean lines but a bit cold in winter.
Stevie has devised a new menu which features quite a few dishes inspired by his trip. This menu is being offered at the Dock Kitchen from February 3rd to February 22nd.
The menu read started off with some “snacks”:
Raw beef, pear, egg yolk, sesame oil
Rice cakes, gochuchang
The raw beef salad was not unlike a steak tartare, with an egg yolk in the middle, drizzled with sesame oil but nestled on a bed of Asian pears, which added a nice crunchy texture contrast and sweetness to the meat. The rice cakes were fried, with a crispy skin and chewy centre dressed with some spicy gojuchang sauce.
Next up was a real treat which we don’t often see on menus in London. Fresh sea urchins, foraged from the Northern Norwegian coast by Scot, Roddy Sloane who supplies places like Noma. Here is the plate of delicious spikey black treasures.
The idea was to scoop out the glistening orange flesh and eat it with some rice and nori seaweed. not unlike the Japanese Uni sushi. The soft flesh with the seaweed and rice made a terrific flavour combination, with maybe a little less soy dressing. The flavour is so delicate that you really shouldn’t do much to this but eat it raw. I’ve had it in a Greek Taverna, drenched in olive oil and lemon juise. Sea urchin is sometimes thought to be an aphrodisiac, so bring your dates here on Valentines!
The outstanding dish of the night was the Onglet steak which he had marinated for a day with his secret Korean recipe which permeated the meat. The steak was then lightly grilled and was resulted in a very tender piece of meat. Lots of restaurants like to serve Onglet as it is a cheap cut of steak but cook it so badly. Not here. It was outstanding.
Lots of the different textures and flavours from the various types of sides on the table and everyone raved about the squid kimchi supplied by Korea Foods. Stevie and his team even made their own kimchi using Red Cabbage. Very clever, tangy and crispy with that garlic hit.
As with Korean BBQ, we wrapped some meat with a piece of lettuce, some of the vegetable side dish and smothered on some hot bean paste. With the plate of pork belly, we ate this wrapped in the unusual sesame leaves and some of the sides like tiny anchovies and kimchi.
With the beef, we added an oyster and then some of the sauce. That plate of beef was gone all too soon.
Just when we thought the mains were over, we were brought a plate of Dried mullet roe (A bit like bottarga but not as strong) and cripsy fresh radish. Not sure how the Koreans would normally eat this but served like a canape was a bit overwhelming.
Pudding was a Yuzu ice cream and a black sesame shard. (Am going to nick this idea) To finish, we were served a glass of hot jujube tea. The Chinese drink this too, made with a mixture of red and black dates as a blood replenisher after operations.
Stevie’s Korean menu was a very honest interpretation of Korean flavours and not overly fusion. I would definitely recommend my friends to try it out, especially that Onglet dish. I’ll have to go back for the next innovation, whichever continent that might be inspired by.
Dock Kitchen is offering this Korean menu from February 3rd to February 22nd. Go try it. If you go on a Monday, it’s 3 course with wine for just £24.50. Note, the menu changes every 3 weeks and they could be inspired by one of Stevie’s many trips like Sri Lankan cuisine. So check before you go.
342–344 Ladbroke Grove
Kensal Road W10 5BU
020 8962 1610