My lovely friend who writes at IshitaUnblogged, recently gave me a voucher for Sonamu a Korean restaurant. Not one to miss out on a free lunch, I quickly hopped into the car and navigated my way somewhat perilously (my sat nav kept losing it’s GPS Signal) to The Asiana Hotel somewhere in Deira (I went on a bit of a circular route so can’t tell you where it is exactly).
The only research I had done prior to my visit was to tweet and ask for recommendations of what to eat and to establish that I was visiting a Korean restaurant. I’ve eaten in a Korean restaurant before but had previously eaten with work colleagues who made suggestions on what to eat, so my Korean knowledge is somewhat limited.
First impressions of the restaurant were great, it looked inviting, was brightly lit and had an open kitchen at one end of the restaurant which was busy. Visiting on a Friday lunchtime, the restaurant was almost full up and the majority of the visitors were Korean, in fact I think I was the only non Korean guest that lunchtime. A quick scan of the menu revealed that my knowledge of Korean food was somewhat lacking and so I took the easy option of selecting a set menu which consisted of 9 courses for 159 AED – a bargain for sure.
Service at the restaurant was great, although a few dishes were brought out not in the order described in the menu which was a little confusing. Sensing that I didn’t really know much about the cuisine, the staff took time to to explain each part of the dish as the plates were delivered to my table.
The food was beautifully presented and looked so pretty on the plate and although there were 9 courses, each course was suitably small so that it was possible to taste everything without exploding. The majority of food was tasty too although there were a few textures which I didn’t enjoy so much, in particular the abalone and the mushrooms were not my favourite based on texture. The absolute star of the show from the set menu was the Grilled Snowfish which I loved and would happily order on every visit, the fish was beautiful and succulent and tender whilst being delicately spiced. From the al la carte menu, and acting on the recommendation of a twitter fan, I also chose Kimchi Jean Pork which was a pork and kimchi pancake (kimchi – fermented vegetables) . This was great, crispy and packed full of flavour and with a great texture and is one that I would also order again.
My meal concluded with some Korean tea which served as a digestive and with a takeaway box full of the Pork Kimchi which was eaten later that day.
Whilst I loved the meal and the staff did their best to make me understand what I was eating, I’ve no doubt that the meal would have been better if I had been dining with someone from Korea or with a good knowledge of Korean food to set the meal in context.