Unlike other fine-dining restaurants, Ryunique offers one menu for dinner with no options for the customer to choose from. With the dinner course priced at 180,000 won, the problem of finding a friend to accompany you to the meal is as problematic as the cost (especially if you have yet to visit and can’t exactly guarantee them about the taste). Fortunately for myself, I was able to find such a friend for the special occasion of my birthday.
At the restaurant, we were greeted with a quality selection of outstanding dishes throughout the 11-course meal. Although I had not planned on asking about the wine, by the time I had finished the amuse-bouche, I was enjoying the meal so much – I had to get it. The wines paired with the dishes maximized the taste of the cuisine. Equally pleased, my friend remarked that she hadn’t enjoyed this kind of high-end food for such a long time.
The tasting menu entitled “hybrid cuisine” starts out with five kinds of amuse-bouche. Straight away, you’ll notice the aesthetics of the meal – the dragonfly-shape dish whose wing is made of dried kimchi and tail made of potato puree draws particular attention. Memorable also are the Konbuzime Red Snapper and Cucumber Foam as well as the Foie Gras. Ryunique’s signature dish is the Quail “Nostalgia,” which comes served in a covered bowl. Upon opening the bowl, you’ll be tickled with the scent of burnt hay rose. Inside, there’s a quail egg wrapped in bacon and garnished with beet sauce. While this might be the highlight of the meal, the croaker, shellfish and strip loin are all a pleasure. Last but not least, the meal is topped with three different kinds of dessert – Passion Fruits and Kataiff, Cotton Pie and Jewelry Box (a dish which combines six different kinds of desserts).
The innovation of the menu, the elaborate process of making dishes (such as drying smoked and salted chicken breast during three month) and creative plating all worked together to make this the perfect meal. Ryunique ranked 27th on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Academy last year and was recognized as a competent restaurant, cooking with Korean ingredients while using Japanese and French recipes. However, this year, this restaurant was not included in the top 50, and moderately criticized especially in the service sector. Perhaps as a result of these critiques, I felt a certain ambition from the chef during each course. It seemed like he had been thinking about how to back up the weakness and emphasize his strength. In the part of the ingredients he uses and the plating, he tried to express as much as he can and managed a specialized team to improve the service. In fact, on the day I went there, the level of the service quality was high. They even noticed the small details like when the champagne paired with amuse-bouche had gone flat, a server noticed it before I even told him and he changed right away.
Having dinner there was so amazing, making me wondering why this restaurant was not selected as one of the top 50 restaurants in Asia this year. In my opinion it will be nominated easily in Michelin Guide Korean version in the late of this year, if the resolution and the will of the chef still remain as I experienced Ryunique's dish on that day.