Seoul, South Korea
Jeong Sook Lee
The chef: Despite first moving to Seoul to pursue a career as a musician, Kim Dae-chun ended up in Tokyo’s Cooking Academy, enjoying stints at the likes of L’Embellir in Tokyo and Bono Bono in Seoul after graduating. A fascination with seafood led him to open TocToc in 2013, pioneering French-Asian cuisine while reintroducing forgotten Korean ingredients including varieties of fish species, seaweed and wild greens.
The space: While the food might be deemed some of the most sophisticated and exciting in Seoul – so much so that Toc Toc was awarded the Miele One to Watch Award in 2017 – the décor is understated and the ambience casual.
The menu: Kim mixes eclectic with classic on his menu, which features broad international influences and mirrors his ever-curious mind. Expect to see dishes such as roasted scallops with black truffle cappuccino foam or 12-hour cooked octopus with tapenade. More familiar dishes such as ceviche and steak are also regular features, with a decadent foie gras terrine with seasonal fruit compote and brioche just one of the more recent highlights.
Bonus point: Toc Toc is derived from the French for ‘knock knock’ – and they’re certainly starting to make a real racket in terms of their significance to the Seoul dining scene.