Korea Dinner

Bailliage of Korea
Seoul, March 6, 2021

A spring night full of stars
" the stars were not in the sky, but on the plates "

For this evening the stars were not in the sky but at a stellar event in the world's highest hotel ballroom on the 76th floor of the Signiel Seoul's rocket-like tower.

Signiel Seoul is a luxury landmark hotel operated by Lotte Hotels & Resorts, the country’s biggest hotel group that boasts of half a century’s expertise.

Chef Yannick Alléno's team, headed by Chef Thierry Le Queau and Wine Director Tom Chung, joined the race into space. They took us on a gastronomic three-hour intergalactic trip on a beautiful spring night.

Waiting for lift-off anxiety was alleviated by sipping generous amounts of Wolfberger Crémant d’Alsace and Kir Royale served with mouth-watering canapés:
- beef tartare with caviar, yuzu jelly, gold
- white asparagus and sea urchin
- matured rock fish on a sesame leaf and coriander.

Mellowing views of a late afternoon sunset and soothing spring flowers were relaxing.

Lift off began with the “Spring Triangle”: a thin Parmesan crust layered with watermelon and citrus gels and decorated with borage flowers. Travellers’ eyes discovered awe-inspiring suspended constellations with heads tilted up to gulp down glasses of perfectly chilled Champagne Bollinger.

In no time, everyone arrived at “Purple Galaxy”. Savouring concentrated flavours of a silky-smooth foie gras paste covered in a layer of sweet Port wine jelly implanted with a violet flower macaron, Korean pear and dates, all spread over a slice of lightly-toasted brioche. Champagne Bollinger continued to be the perfect refreshing complement.

Already in heaven our second stop was at “Leo” where we found crunchy, succulent prawns wrapped in a fine sheet of rice paper awash with fragrant essences and parsley oil. Topped with caviar, the dish delivered delicate, refined flavours which burst through minerality of Chablis 1er Cru ‘Vaillons’ 2018.

Trip highlight: “Green Planetary Nebula”, a piece of toothfish (known as mero in Japan, Chilean sea bass in the USA & Canada) covered with creamy sauce deliciously flavoured with Chef Alléno's signature extractions. It was crowned with delicate, gravity-defying, crisp potato structure and beautifully paired with Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru ‘Les Vergelesses’.

We prayed it would never end.

Arriving at “Hanwoo Painted in Stars’ Night Colours”, awaiting us was a captivating mushroom extraction resembling a black hole and pulling in a golden comet filled with lobster ragout and a juicy slice of Hanwoo beef. The course was nicely paired with a young, robust Château Desmirail 2015 (a classified Margaux 3rd Growth).

Wrapping up the trip, we discovered an intriguing, planet-like “Wandering Star”. Bursting it revealed a fascinating concoction of strawberry sorbet, topped with fermented strawberries and jelly on a vanilla cloud inside. The sweetness of the accompanying Lions de Suduiraut 2013 lasted an eternity.

All it took was a cup of coffee and chocolate mignardises to bring everyone back to their senses.

On this night, the stars were not in the sky, but on the plates of the Signiel Seoul. Heartfelt gratitude to the establishment’s banqueting team who created a dream-like experience.

Needless to say, all measures to ensure a safe, pleasant trip were followed.

Soon Chul Kim
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