Last Updated: May 2, 2018
Kimme‘s introduction into the Singapore food scene seemed almost effortless as Chef Sun Kim’s decorated efforts of previously helming Michelin-starred Meta paid off, in terms of having an already-present following of ardent fans.
The three-storey space includes a communal table on the first level, from which guests can interact and witness the kitchen crew in action in their open kitchen.
On the second level, there is a more intimately-spaced seating area, while the third serves as a sort of attic-cum-private room that accommodates a decent-sized party of about eight people.
The menu is split into Small, Big and Sweet sections, and the first plate (from the Small section) we had was the Irish Oyster. Lemon Ginger. Trout Roe ($5 for a piece, $26 for half a dozen).
The oysters weren’t briny at all, possibly due to the refreshing drizzle of citrus and ginger, as well as the subtle saltiness of the ikura.
Sashimi is often served as-is, with little to no added sauces. Here, the Kampachi Sashimi ($26), from Kagoshima, is lightly seasoned with pickled ginger, pomelo and shiso sauce, homemade Gochujang (Korean red chilli paste), and topped with chive oil and shiso powder dust.
The result was a smooth transition in taste from mildly fatty to an edge of acidity and spice. The pomelo, in fact, brought out an unexpected sweetness that made this one of the better dishes of the night.
More commonly seen on a French menu, we were very curious to find out what Chef Sun Kim’s interpretation of beef tartare is like. Kimme’s Wagyu Tartare ($25) is made Korean-style, comprising hand-chopped beef rump that will likely remind you of marinated Korean meat.
It is marinated in a combination of soy sauce, sesame, Dijon mustard, lime juice and mirin. It comes with a raw egg yolk, which diners are encouraged to burst and mix with the meat, as well as house-fried papadum chips.
This version was a lot more savoury than the French versions we’ve tried. And we absolutely loved the textural contrast that the papadum chips delivered, making this an enjoyable appetiser that we’re sure everyone at the table will devour.
The next Small plate was a memorable one as the Spanish Prawn. X.O Sauce. Jerusalem Artichoke. Mussel ($30) brought bold flavours to the table.
On the plate, there were roasted king prawns with spring onions, homemade X.O sauce (made with deep fried scallops, prawns, anchovies and steamed with chilli), roasted Jerusalem artichoke and artichoke puree with squid ink, finished with a sprinkling of spring onion and a dash of chilli powder.
It was hard to say which flavour stood out the most, but we can safely bet top dollar that this addictive dish will have you mopping up the sauce with every last bite. In our first bite, there was a saltiness from the X.O sauce, followed by the natural sweetness of the prawns, ending with a smoky nuance, all thanks to the roasted and fried ingredients – delicious.
Moving on to the Big plates, our first was the French Quail. Onion & Watercress Salad ($32). We typically wouldn’t order a quail dish, given its miniature serving. However, the juiciness and rich flavours of this dish made us question our pre-conceived notions.
The bird is marinated in Korean soy, served with a side of onion and watercress salad that’s tossed with Thai fish sauce, sesame oil and chilli powder. With only a handful of ingredients, we’d like to believe that the unlikely pairing of Thai fish sauce gave the recipe an element of savouriness that was adequately satisfying, despite its small serving.
Visually simple, the Japanese Seabream. Daikon. Sunchoke Tea ($28) was easily our favourite Big plate of them all. Served was a crisp, yet tender Japanese seabream from Osaka and white daikon root, laid in a pool of sunchoke tea (Jerusalem artichoke tea), dashi and chilli padi, brewed and steeped to create a nourishing and savoury broth.
It was indeed light on the palate, yet the oiliness from the fish as well as the broth provided a well-rounded mouthful. We reckon even meat-lovers would take an effortless liking to this dish. The cherry on top was the perfectly charred edges on the vegetables that elevated this.
If you dine at Korean BBQ spots often, you’ll be quite familiar with this next dish. The Bossam. Endive. Ssamjang. Homemade White Kimchi ($35) made for the perfect sharing plate.
As one of the heartier Big plates on the menu, it combines bossam (pork belly) that has been slow-cooked over 12 hours with soybean paste, coffee powder and soy sauce, with ssamjang (Korean thick and spicy paste) and homemade white kimchi.
The DIY dish comes with endives, meant to wrap the bossam with the ssamjang sauce. The result was not only a refreshing crunch that contrasted with the fatty bossam, but a slightly sour-bitter flavour profile that makes this dish very homely and traditional in Asian cuisine.
When we talk about ribs, one would expect succulent, tender meat that’s rich in flavours and aroma. Chef Sun Kim has prepared his Korean Style Pork Rib. Brocollini. Wild Rice ($30) with a medium-rare serving of pork rib that’s been braised for four hours and seasoned with a traditional Korean soy and sesame dressing. It is accompanied by a side of broccolini and a sprinkle of toasted barley and multi-grains.
This rib dish was good, but not great. So far, everything that was served to us had been surprising, welcoming and quite impressive. Sadly, this one didn’t wow us, considering it was a tad tougher than we’d expected and not as moist. Its saving grace was, however, the great flavours of the marinade.
We finally came to desserts, and the first of the two was the Mix Berry Pie. Vanilla Yoghurt. Raspberry Sorbet ($16).
The crust on this tiny pastry was flaky as opposed to crumbly, and the acidity of the fruits really served as a great palate cleanser. We’re traditionally not fans of fruits that lean towards the sour spectrum of flavours, but this dessert was actually really pleasant and enjoyable.
Finally, we had the Banana Cream Puff ($10 for two pieces). Profiterole lovers will fall in love with these! The banana cream was just the right amount of sweet, and the outer crust delightfully crumbled as we bit into it. We only wished these were bigger because they were admittedly addictive!
Fans of Chef Sun Kim’s recipes from Meta will undoubtedly want to come here and enjoy the same love and fervour he puts into his cooking at Kimme. The food has traditional notes, with recipes inspired by his childhood favourites, tweaked with modern interpretations.
If you’re already crazy about Korean cuisine but are looking for a break from the famous BBQ renditions, Kimme is a place you’ll soon be returning to incessantly as well.
Expected damage: $30 – $55 per pax