Pierre Gagnaire is an absolute superstar in the culinary world so it would be an understatement to say that I was looking forward to eating here and spending my Korean Won. In addition to his flagship restaurant in Paris (which of course has been awarded 3 Michelin stars for many years and consistently one of the top restaurants on the San Pellegrino list, which I think is rubbish, but that is a story for another day), Pierre Gagnaire has been building a bit of a restaurant empire around the world, but not at the same pace as Alain Ducasse (another culinary genius) and Gordon Ramsay. In Asia, he has restaurants in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Dubai, all of which bear his name. I have read that he visits the Seoul restaurant about 3 times a year, but unfortunately he was not there on the night.
Pierre Gagnaire is known for being far from conventional, an inventer and perhaps bordering on crazy according to some. He explores the science behind textures and combinations of different food ingredients. He often introduces combinations of flavors, tastes, textures and ingredients that have never been attempted before. So he is kind of daring and bold, yet pulls of everything with subtlety and skill.
The service here is very professional. At first I felt a bit overwhelmed at attentive the service was. The staff is almost entirely Korean (there was one French waiter). The food here is also nearly all sourced from Korean farmers and fisherman. This is due to South Korea’s strict food import regulations make it difficult to bring produce in from Europe (I believe his HK restaurant is predominately European ingredients since you can’t grow anything there).
We decided to go for the l'esprit de Pierre Gagnaire menu. In short, this menu consists of 4 courses, each with multiple small items. You get an amazing variety of tastes and textures - some classic and some very experimental.
When we sat down the sommelier wheeled out several bottles of wine / champagne and asked us which one we wanted. Given the way the wine was brought out to us, it was very difficult for us to refuse so we went with the rose. It was about $A30 a glass, probably the most expensive glass of wine I have ever had!
Vegetarian Amuse Bouche
So here is the amuse bouche, but unfortunately I don’t quite remember what most of these parcels of goodness are, so you will just have to admire how beautiful they look on the plate.The cigar looking thing is seaweed powder coated stick, filled with anchovy cream. The pillow with the yolk looking thing is souffle with cumin cream and Mimolette cheese. The green one is arugula cake.
Amazing breads and butter!!! French bread (pain de campagne), Italian bread (lemon stick), English muffin and fruit loaf (caramelized fig and apricot bread).
Cocktail de poche (Pocket cocktail)
|Chicken liver, ham (standard course)|
|Burned onion soup (both courses)|
|Traditional rouille, cauliflower and cod petals (standard course)|
|Shellfish mariniere with sesame (standard course)|
|Green peas soup (veg course)|
|Red cabbage with vinegar, raspberry and red beetroot marmalade (both courses)|
|Cauliflower (veg course)|
Around the Lobster
|Pan fried lobster with fresh ginger, yellow and green mango brunoise, fresh ginseng and coriander.|
|Lobster mousse, melted spinach, walnuts|
|Lobster bisque, rice|
Vegetarian Main course
|Egg, mushroom, truffle, pine nuts|
|Chick peas, asparagus|
|Gorgonzola ice cream, black pepper opalin, tomato and chili pepper jam|
Pierre Gagnaire desserts
The chocolate was definitely my favourite out of the three. It was so delicious! Chocolate mousse was light (how a good mousse should be) and it was wonderfully paired with pear and hazlenut.
Our meal was finished off with these delicious bite sized treats. Again I don't remember what these are exactly as they went down quicker than you can say 'petit fours'!
Bonus: Assorted goodies from Pierre Gagnaire Patisserie a Seoul
|What's in the box?|
|Seoul Opera Cake and Sesame Eclair|
|Tropezeine and Macarons: Red ginseng and passionfruit; Caramel; Yuzu.|
Highlight: The lobster course, which might be the best course I have had in any restaurant in the world!
Lowlight: There was a bit of confusion at the start when we queried about what my wife would be having due to her vegetarian diet. We definitely informed the restaurant of this when the reservation was made but they seemed to be caught off guard by it. I thought they would have been prepared, but fortunately they were able to come up with something that was amazing for my wife.
Overall: A modern French fine dining establishment that is worth the splurge for special occasions. The food here is creative and flawlessly executed. 9/10 (Outstanding)