The Kimchi Project (Auckland CBD, New Zealand)
Korean Fusion is quite new to me, in fact if I am not mistaken this is restaurant that we are reviewing today is one of the first Korean Fusion ever tried, while I have tried dished infused with Kimchi this place offers more than that and it is quite surprising, for me at least. I had passed by this place numerous times and was ignoring them as the place looks small from the outside, what is noticeable though is that it was very bright, clean and green hence it will be very inviting to anyone passes by its store front. What put me off on those times is the size of the place, or from what I assumed, until I booked a table one lunch time after looking for something new.
The day came and I was surprised the place was not full from what I can see, until I was invited inside. It looks like there was a secret door to another dimension that opened a courtyard filled with greenery tucked in between high-rise building, this place was huge, at least compared to the restaurants in Lorne Street. It was honestly one of the cosiest restaurants I dined in Auckland.
Upon seating we were happily greeted and offered some drinks menu. I grabbed some Asahi Lager 400ml (NZ$11.00) to start with while we are choosing our entrees. Lunch menu was simple, the way I like it, 12 mains/entrees, 4 baos, 4 sides and a choice of 3 kimchis.
As a starter we grabbed some Chilli Hoisin Prawn & Pork Wontons (NZ$16.00), deep fried wontons filled with prawn and pork drenched in H&S Sauce served with Bok Choy, Ginger, Garlic and Mung Bean. This was quite tasty and very crunchy, perfect with the cold beer I am holding in one hand.
Next entree was Kimchi Waffle Fries (NZ$15.00), prepared with Potato Waffles, Kimchi, Sour Cream, Sriracha Yoghurt and Crispy Shallots. It was not love at first sight for me but as I eat them the more, I start to like them, it’s one of those dishes that you think you don’t like but as you nibble on it you can’t stop eating them. I love the textures and flavours, very unique.
These are not really entrees so the portions are same size as mains so keep a note on that so you keep some space on their goodies that we will be mentioning below.
Let’s start with Jung Sik or Korean Lunch Set (NZ$22.00) basically a bowl of Bulgogi Beef and Mushrooms served with side dishes like Mung Bean, Wild Aster, Kimchi, Green Salad and Rice. Its literally a complete set, a very filling set, all you need is in this order. Bulgogi Beef was tasty and tender, the sauce is perfect with that bowl of rice or you may want to add an extra one.
Then we have the Korean BBQ Pork and Rice (NZ$21.00) served with Horseradish Cream, Bok Choy, Chickpeas, Baby Onions and Sliced Almonds. Another tasty treat but what’s the highlight on this dish is its texture, the nuts and chickpeas add a nice texture depth on this dish. Again, another tasty treat.
Chili Chicken on Rice (NZ$16.00) was next which is served with Deep-Fried Free-Range Chicken drenched in H&S Sauce served Red Onion, SSamjang Mayo, Sweet Corn, Red Cabbage, Sriracha and Hoisin. If you love fried chickens then this is for your, perhaps it would be one of the best fried chicken you will ever try, its crunchy spicy sweet and moist, meat inside is very tasty like a cross between a Southern Style Fried Chicken, Honey Soy Chicken and Buffalo Wings.
Finally, my favourite was this Kimchi Spag Pasta (NZ$17.00), this out of this world fusion spaghetti is prepared with Kimchi, Cream, Seasonal Veggies, Garlic and Seasonal Mushroom, I added some Pan-Fried Prawn (NZ$5.00) and it was heavenly, unexplainable. Its spicy, sweet, creamy, savoury, al-dente goodness is a force to be reckoned with, this is a must try!
This place is full of surprises, the location, the food and its flavour. A highly recommended place specially for those who tried it all, trust me it won’t let you down.
The Kimchi Project
Address: 20 Lorne St, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Phone: +649 302 4002