I cannot lie: I did not eat the raw sea urchins at Stevie Parle’s Korean-influenced dinner last Wednesday. But I was in a distinct minority, as around me friends and colleagues (including intrepid Emily) scooped out the shells with glee.
We had been invited to a preview event at Stevie’s excellent restaurant, Dock Kitchen, off Ladbroke Grove, for his new Korean tasting menu which will be available for three weeks from February 3rd. He is passionate about travelling far and wide to challenge his palate and stretch his culinary knowledge, recently travelling to South Korea to meet and cook alongside local chefs, as well as to eat as much as possible in as many places as possible. (I highly recommend following Stevie on Twitter, as he always Tweets from his travels.)
Stevie’s passion for travel and culinary exploration is always present in his menus – and in his great cookbook, and the menu traditionally changes every three weeks at Dock Kitchen to reflect his - and his brigade’s – myriad influences. (Dock Kitchen staff can apply for bursaries to travel to check out local flavours, ingredients and techniques to bring back to the restaurant.)
The menu for the evening, with thanks to Korea Foods, from whom some of the basic ingredients had come:
Raw beef, pear, egg yolk, sesame oil
Rice cakes, gochuchang
Warm rice, raw urchin, aged soy, seaweed
Steamed pork belly
Oysters in gochuchang
Dried tiny anchovies / Fermented squid / ‘English’ kimchi / Green kimchi /
Gochuchang, pine nuts, honey / Saamjang
sesame leaves / Italian leaves / English leaves
Dried mullet roe and radish
Yuzu ice cream, black sesame
Above are the rice cakes, which were delicious, with a curious kind of dense, chewy texture,
I don’t eat fish (can’t abide the taste or smell – the last fish I ate were sardines in tomato sauce aged five years old, and the taste still HAUNTS me), so Stevie kindly put together a vegetarian version for me, as so much Korean food has fish in it. (But I relish discovering more about other food cultures, whether or not I am going to eat all of the food, so I would have been happy to just pitch up, watch and learn.)
These raw artichokes dipped in sesame oil were so simple, yet such a perfect combination.
The Korean-themed menu will run for three weeks at Dock Kitchen in West London from 3rd-22nd February at a cost of £45 per person. Diners can also take advantage of a special three-course version of this menu – plus a glass of wine – on each of the three Mondays, for just £24.50.
Huge thank you to the charming staff at Dock Kitchen, and, of course, to Stevie himself, for hosting us for such a lovely evening.
Portobello Docks, 342–344 Ladbroke Grove, Kensal Road W10 5BU. 020 8962 1610