DOMA Modern Korean
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DOMA is the model restaurant that just wants to have fun, but wants to be taken seriously as well. Simply looking at the menu, there are loud suggestions of japchae glass noodles with daikon and egg, a pork belly burger with scallions and purple cabbage, dakgalbi spicy chicken rice, and barbecue pork ribs with lime, green apple and mint. Already, I’m sold.
I start with the mushroom fries dusted with lemon zest and Parmesan (RM12). It screams for a cold beer, and to deny it its dying wish is a sin. Soon after, the Korean fried chicken (RM29) arrives in all three flavours – sweet soy, sweet chilli and spiced salt. Its thick, bumpy skin snaps and splinters into a thousand crumbs when bit into, but the batter and glaze fall short, lacking in both seasoning and stickiness. However, we soldier on because what comes next floors us.
The best thing of the night, or possibly of the year, arrives: kimchi fried rice (RM20). If you never thought greatness could emerge from a plate of fried rice, you thought wrong. The rice is concealed beneath a snow of Parmesan (no, it works), tiny fragments of egg, crispy bacon bits and crunchy kimchi. The ebb and flow of salt, egg and the pungent kimchi open up deeply savoury flavours with every bite, an execution of grace in a dish so prosaic.
Sometimes, the theory of fun is best administered with limits, as with the case of the pork belly (RM35). The pig is laden with a thick, shimmering layer of fat, possibly too much fat, but what’s truly off-putting is the blackberry tofu gloop that sits underneath. The menu claims it to be a mousse, but it’s more a greyish-purplish mystery sauce that does absolutely nothing for the meat.
The medium rare yellowfin tuna (RM32) is more flamboyant – the fish is cut into cubes, each with seared skins and a pink, blushing middle. What stands out is the tangle of scallion threads in the centre of the plate, piled high with edamame and chilli, and bound by the most refreshing cucumber yuzu emulsion. After all the protein, it’s exactly what the palate yearns.
Wrapping up with a persimmon leaf tea (RM11), a couple of toothpicks and a belly full of (mostly) delicious things, this young Saturday night is already far superior than most others.