SOUL Dining's head chef Daero Lee and partner Illa Kim offer an exciting and unique dining experience in Sydney's Surry Hills with a stylish yet cosy interior and a menu they call "contemporary Korean", featuring beautifully presented dishes made from unusual and tempting combinations of ingredients and cooking styles from Korea, Germany, Italy, France, Japan and Australia.
Launched in December 2018, SOUL Dining is Lee and Kim's first restaurant and the passionate couple's menus are influenced by their shared desire to create "food from our memories" – of their Korean upbringing, Lee's childhood in Korea, Kim's in Germany, of their travels around the world and their time in Australia. Wanting to create a restaurant they would enjoy dining in, Lee and Kim chose a palette of matt black and grey softened with royal blue velvet upholstery, combined with charcoal-coloured concrete with areas of exposed brick and metal accents, to give the interior an inviting luxe but casual look and feel, a place where diners can relax, have fun and enjoy good food, fine wines, and well-made cocktails.
Lee began his career at a bakery at the age of 17 and subsequently worked in prestigious Italian and French restaurants in Seoul, before working as head chef in an Italian restaurant in Sydney's Darling Harbour. He draws on these experiences to create signature dishes including Kingfish in Kimchi water, a combination of kingfish with white kimchi avocado and soybean paste, which he describes as "our signature Korean/Australian dish, with avocado providing a perfect balance"; Wagyu Tartare with Singo pear, egg yolk, caper, sesame and seaweed crackling; grilled eggplant with anchovy paste, tomato jam and manchego cheese; barbecue beef short rib with galbi jus and potato pave; and fried corn riblets with garlic butter and pistachios. "Our food is made to be shared, to truly experience the flavours and textures," explains Lee.
SOUL Dining's curated list of wines features blends from Australia and Europe including classic, well known blends plus some lesser known, natural blends that go well with Asian food. Also on offer is a range of cocktails including the Kim-Let with Korean five-flavour berries and the Kimchi Bloody Mary, as well as other cocktails with a 'twist'. "We have tried to integrate a touch of Korea into some of the more classic cocktails," says Kim.
SOUL Dining also offers Korean Soju and a Korean beer, KLOUD lager, in addition to some Australian beer and cider options.