I was intrigued when I heard about Restaurant Hyun, a new modern Korean and French fusion diner in Claremont. There are strong French influences in Vietnamese cooking, though I wasn’t aware the same could be said for Korean food. The combination of French and Korean is certainly unchartered gastronomic territory for Chef and I. Can kimchi really marry seamlessly with French flair? We are about to find out.
We enjoy a warm welcome by our waiter, though the minimalist décor of the dining room leaves me feeling a little cold. The entry, which could serve as a funky bar-style dining spot, is packed with empty glasses and feels more like a storage area. Packed with busy tables, the cottage-style dining area lacks soul – or perhaps that should be Seoul?!
The small wine list is constantly evolving. Chef’s Plantagenet Three Lions shiraz is has a peppery, blackcurrant aroma and Chef notices it’s not served in a red wine glass. I choose a citrus driven Willow Bridge Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from WA’s Ferguson Valley region. The crisp drop compliments fresh Asian flavours well.
Rather than rice laden traditional dishes, the French influence and cooking techniques lend to a lighter style of dining and interesting flavour combinations. I wonder if it would be more accurate to say the cuisine is more Korean-European? Kimchi, a chilli-spiked Korean staple of fermented vegetables, features throughout the menu. Their kimchi arancini is an Italian-Korean hybrid and a green tea scallop ceviche even has Peruvian origins.
The sautéed mushrooms ($14), is a beautifully plated entree. The classic, though modern fine dining style of plating certainly borrows from French cuisine. The enoki, shiitake and shimeji mushrooms, are served in a mushroom consommé, along with an earthy mushroom and cashew mash, smooth pumpkin mousse, pickled baby courgette, labne, and a drizzle of truffle oil. A spoon would have been handy, to fully enjoy the tasty consommé, a French-style clear soup.
We go from an immaculately plated dish, to the “bao duo” ($13), which Chef eats with his hands. Always a sucker for street food, he finds it difficult to choose between the Korean fried chicken or the bao. Chef settles on the latter. He devours one fluffy bao bun stuffed with pork belly, kimchi and a chili garlic aioli, while the other is brimming with bulgogi, a radish pickle and chive ranch sauce. The creamy sauce should cool the bulgogi, which quite literally means “fire meat”, though this version is lacking the big chili kick.
Bite sized chunks of pork belly ($32) melt in my mouth. The tender belly meat is slow cooked for twelve hours and sits on an orange and carrot puree, a caramel den-jang sauce, topped with pressed apple and a red onion and ginger salsa, not to mention more kimchi kraut – a combination of flavours which are very well balanced.
A lip smacking sticky lamb rack ($34), glazed with a sweet soy jus, is cooked perfectly and served with a crispy rice cake, kohlrabi kimchi and fresh Asian salad.
The sides are no afterthought at Hyun. The duck fat potatoes ($9) are deliciously crisp, while a funky bowl of winter root vegetables ($9) is garnished with a vivid pink beetroot hummus.
For dessert, winter spring rolls ($12), bulge with cinnamon apple and banana. The crisp morsels are coated with lashings of gooey salted caramel sauce, a sprinkle of rose crystals and a house made green tea ice cream – an acquired taste.
A Korean miso crème brulee ($14) has a perfectly caramelised crust. I break with my spoon and dive into the custard-y goodness beneath. Served with meringue, house made granola, soy bean crumbs and vanilla ice cream, it’s a lovely little dessert.
The newcomer deserves props for bringing something different to the Perth dining scene and at affordable prices. Here you can enjoy a three course meal for two with wine for little more than $100. The French Korean fusion provides unique flavour combinations, though the crossover from hands on street food to pretty as a picture fine dining plating is a little confusing.
At a glance
■ Restaurant Hyun
235 Stirling Highway
Phone 0450 866 294
■ Opening times
Tues to Thur 5pm to 9pm
Fri & Sat 5pm to 10pm
Sunday 10am to 3pm & 5pm to 10pm
value for money 4
■ style – Korean French Fusion
■ wine – Small but varied wine list.
BYO Tuesday to Thursday.
■ Chef – Luke Lee
■ Owner – Luke Lee
■ feel – welcoming
■ wheelchair access – some
■ cost –
Entrée – $8 to $16
Mains – $24 to $36
Dessert – $11 to $14
■ all in all – Modern Korean meets
French technique. Beautifully presented
dishes and something a little bit
different for your tastebuds.
First published in the Post Newspaper