Edward Kwon is like Ironman. He’s brash, he’s rich, he’s very outspoken and he is known to over exaggerate. Rumors circulate around this man like a tabloid newspaper under the influence of absinthe. Now at the end of the day, it’s the food that counts. Now, I have to say that the food at Edward Kwon’s The Spice lives up to the hype for the price point. You get more than you pay for and the food, I think (but don’t tell Mr. Kwon), is a bit under priced for the quality you receive. For example, the Prestige dinner is priced at 39,500 won. With tax and service the meal comes to about 45,000 won for a 4 course meal. In this post, I’m going to focus on the Prestige Dinner- for I feel it’s his best course.
The concept of “The Spice” seems to be a culinary education. Each plate comes with a confetti of tastes, textures, and worldly ingredients. For example, the first course is:
“Foie Gras, Poussin, Pork Belly Ballontine, Candied Kumquats, Miniture Mesclun, Cornichon, Cucumber Salad Spiced Coriander.”
It seems like a mouthful, but what you get are intense tastes of miniature bits of food. It’s really fun to play around with the flavors and texture as you scoop them up with your fork. The Foie Gras, Poussin, Pork Belly Ballontine (meat that is tied in a bundle and poached) was like a velvety, savory sausage. The candied Kumquats added a nice tart, sweetness to balance the dish.
Next we had the White peaches, figs, procuitto, arugula orange vanilla dressing with marscapone mousse. This was a standout dish. The white peaches had a meaty texture, yet subtle in flavor. The peaches were grilled just right so the peach meat was just about to turn to mush. The skill in the kitchen is evident.
The main was Port wine braised beef short rib, potato gnocchi, green peas, spring onions, carmelized onion, chervils, baby basil. I have to say wow. This is the dish I would go back to the restaurant for. That evening I also had a chance to try the most expensive menu (The Journey of Edward Kwon’s TFT at 57,500 won), but this port wine braised beef dish was exquisite. The sauce was thick yet liquid, the beef was cooked tender but with bite, the gnocchi was crispy yet chewy, and who knew that green peas could go so well with port wine. This dish was a whirlwind of flavor that centered around the beef and wine sauce.
Finally the dessert: Cinnamon Chocolate Tart, Rose Jelly, Pistachio Chantilly. Meh. I mean it was a good attempt, but a bit overkill. The cinnamon on the tart was overpowering in flavor. The Rose Jelly was pretty to look at, but not memorable in flavor. The pistachio chantilly was nice but I would have liked something citrusy like a sorbet after the beef course. Overall, a very enjoyable meal.
Now I did have some issues with the place. The atmosphere is a bit too helter skelter. (I get that they are trying to be Las Vegas/New York, but a flashing red and white light throughout your meal makes it seem more like the remake of Psycho than a high-end meal). I love the high ceilings and the tiled walls. Very opulent. Oh, and the bathrooms. There are 1 person only and you can open them by pushing a button. Sure, it’s interesting, but just having 1 bathroom for men and 1 for women didn’t seem enough. Also, once I got in there, I was welcomed by plumes and plumes of smoke from the previous occupant. The room needs either a smoke detector or better ventilation.
Would I go back? Sure. I want to check out his lunch sometime, but I hope he turns off that infernal red light.
Go out Hangangjin Station (Subway line 6) Exit 3.
|Foie Gras, Poussin, Pork Belly Ballontine, Candied Kumquats, Miniture Mesclun, Cornichon, Cucumber Salad Spiced Coriander|
|Port wine braised beef short rib, potato gnocchi, green peas, spring onions, carmelized onion, chervils, baby basil|