The Place If you have been a fan of the One-Michelin Starred Meta restaurant at Keong Saik, Kimme is your answer to a relatively more casual fine-dining concept even though this sounds oxymoronic. Located at 47 Amoy Street, the two weeks old Kimme restaurant is a modern, 48-seat Asian concept which takes up the entire 3-storey shophouse. The restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Sun Kim, the chef behind Meta and is helmed by Head Chef Louis Han who has worked with Chef Sun closely the past few years. The inspiration for the restaurant’s name comes from Chef Sun Kim, where his friends used to address him Kimme affectionately.
My first impression of the space is the huge slab of white marble communal table with the open kitchen behind where you can watch the chefs perform magic to the plates. The space at level one is not huge yet it feels spacious, all thanks to the clever design of using ceiling mirrors to create a bigger sense of space. If you prefer a more private space, level two is a more intimate ambience for couples and some quiet moments, whereas level three is an attic space with only one table which is pretty much a semi-private dining space.
The Food The menu is a simple one pager split into small plates, big plates and desserts. Unsurprisingly, I noticed quite a number of dishes with Korean elements and I was excited to see how the dishes would unfold.
From the small plates section, I started with the Irish oyster with lemon ginger and trout roe (S$5/piece, S$26/half dozen), which was very fresh and I slurped it within seconds. I am not even a big fan of oyster but the whole lemon and trout roe combination work so well for me.
Next up was the Taco with lamb, Mushroom, mint yoghurt and kimchi (S$13). The New Zealand lamb here isn’t gamy at all, and who would have thought of having lamb in a taco style? The mint yoghurt and mint elements are not screaming for attention in this dish but are nevertheless an interesting touch to the lamb taco.
I have never seen sashimi served this way, but the Kampachi sashimi with ginger and gochujang (S$22) is one of those I could go on and on eating. While the fresh kampachi from Kagoshima is a given, the addition of gochujang to the dish is ingenious. The Korean red chilli paste complemented well with the sashimi without being overpowering at all.
I can’t believe this is my favourite dish at Kimme. The Korean style wagyu tartare with sago chip (S$23) is mind-blowingly delicious. Mix the small egg yolk with the beef tartare and have it along with the sago chip, the combination is divine. The sago chip is delicious on its own, while the well-marinated beef tartare is simply one of the best I have tasted.
Other small plates we tried were the Spanish octopus with vegetable salsa, endive and dill (S$24) and King prawn with XO sauce, Jerusalem artichoke and mussel (S$30). Both dishes play put well with the palate, with one thing in common – the accompanying ingredients steal the limelight from the main ingredient. I enjoyed the refreshing vegetable salsa more than the octopus, which mirrors how I enjoyed the XO sauce (made with deep fried scallops, prawns, anchovies and steamed with chili) and Jerusalem artichoke more than the prawn. This is a good problem to have.
For the big plates, the Brittany Pigeon with onion and watercress salad (S$32) is easily one of the more memorable pigeon meat I have had. I don’t usually take pigeon or opt for it as I find most versions slightly gamy and bland, but not the case here at Kimme as it is well marinated in Korean soy sauce. The pigeon meat is in fact very tender and for a split moment, I thought that I was having a steak.
Seaweed in linguine? This is a first for me with the Spanner crab linguine with Korean seaweed soup (S$25). It is not so much about the crab here but the comforting seaweed broth which steals the thunder.
If you are looking for a Korean dish on the menu, look no further than the Bossam with endive, ssamjang and homemade white kimchi (S$35). The sinfully tender bossam or pork belly here is slow cooked over 12 hours Soh soybean paste. The right way to enjoy this dish is to wrap it with the crunchy endive, along with Chef’s grandmother recipe for the ssamjang sauce. This dish is as Korean as it can be.
The Australian wagyu striploin with pickled chilli and onion purée (S$45) is not the most unique dish on the menu, though it is still a good rendition of a beef dish. The beef was succulent to say the least, and there is nothing not to love about onion purée.
I surprised myself for enjoying the Australian wagyu rump with Mushroom doenjang (S$33) more than the striploin. The wagyu rump is aged for 7 days with soy sauce which lends it a sweeter flavour than the striploin. I am usually sceptical about beef rump but this dish changed my opinion.
For desserts, I highly recommend Banana cream puff (S$10/2 pieces). The size is extremely small, with the puff filled with caramelised banana cream.
I also tried the Pear and cranberry pie with walnut ice cream (S$19). I don’t really have a strong inclination towards fruit pies or tarts, though I do enjoy the walnut ice cream.
Rants Prices are on the high end, despite the fact that this is not exactly a fine dining restaurant. The communal table at level one is perfect for a big group of friends but not so much for couples.
Will I Return Again? Almost every dish I tried at Kimme is on point and unique in its own way. It was an enjoyable and memorable meal to say the least, and though it is only the start of the year, I can safely say Kimme is easily one of the best new restaurants this year for me.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservation instantly at Kimme here.
Taste bud: 4.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Monday to Friday: 11.30am to 2.30pm; 6pm to 11pm
Saturday: 6pm to 11pm
Ranted by The Ranter