Miele One To Watch Award - Asia 2017

TocToc, Seoul, Korea

Multi-talented chef combining Korean, Japanese and French elements to magical effect

A seafood specialist, TocToc also features chicken and fried truffle dumplings on its eclectic menu. Primarily influenced by French and Japanese cooking, the kitchen also goes to great lengths to source rarely used Korean ingredients. Super-casual in décor terms, the relaxed space is home to some of the most sophisticated cuisine in Seoul.

As such, this is not a restaurant that lends itself to easy categorisation, but it means the dining experience conjured up by charismatic chef-owner Kim Dae-chun is full of unexpected tangents and delightful surprises. The food directly reflects Chef Kim’s varied culinary and life experiences, broad international influences and ever-curious personality, with each dish benefiting from relatively simple but beautiful plating. The tasting menu ranges from the finest sushi to meticulous seasonal salads, kelp consommé and butter-poached cod with saffron sauce to deliciously indulgent cream desserts.

Kim Dae-chun grew up in Seoul, pursuing a career as a musician in his twenties and moving to Japan in the process. While there he unearthed a growing passion for gastronomy, leading him to enrol in Tokyo’s Cooking Academy, before embarking on a series of roles in top kitchens including L’Embellir in Tokyo and Bono Bono in Seoul. While specialising in pastry for a period, he also became increasingly fascinated by seafood and regularly visited the famed Tsukiji market during his time in Japan.

Since the opening of TocToc in Seoul’s Gangnam district in April 2013, he has brought that focus to bear on Korean-sourced fish. At the same time, he has embarked on a mission to rediscover many forgotten Korean ingredients including varieties of fish species, seaweed and wild greens, which he then reintroduces to high-end dining, a journey he describes as having been “lonely and difficult” at times.

His perseverance, however, has more than paid off as TocToc’s reputation as a pioneering French-Korean destination has mushroomed, with the battle to secure a table increasingly competitive. In 2016, Chef Kim was named his country’s chef of the year at the prestigious Blue Ribbon Awards alongside Mingoo Kang of Mingles (No.15 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016).

The name TocToc is derived from the French for ‘knock, knock’ – with this Miele One To Watch Award the restaurant is not so much knocking on the door of international gastronomic acclaim as bursting through it.

TocToc
3F, Rodeo Bldg.
33, Dosan-daero 51-gil
Gangnam-gu
Seoul
+82 2 542 3030
toctocseoul.com

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