Maddie Bowman spends an evening exploring the menu of one of Bristol’s newest restaurants…
Tucked away on Haymarket Walk, just a few minutes’ away from the city centre and Stokes Croft, is Sky Kong Kong – one of Bristol’s newest and finest Asian eateries. From the outside, this modest canteen-style venue seems nothing special, but appearances can certainly be deceiving because waiting inside is some of the best Asian food to be found in the city.
Having trained in some of the world’s best restaurants, including Noma in Denmark and several Michelin-starred venues in London, Korean-born chef Hwi Shim, better known as Wizzy, is well versed in high-end cooking and her dedication to using only the freshest ingredients possible is evidenced in each of her exquisite dishes. Her cooking philosophy is based on a belief that food should benefit both the mind and the body, which is why she always prepares each dish from scratch using fine organic produce and serves it up fresh to each and every diner. All of the meat and fish used in Wizzy’s cooking is procured from local suppliers and, wherever possible, she uses vegetables grown on her own allotment. Needless to say, the menu changes frequently to incorporate whatever’s in season, and Wizzy is not only skilled in cooking, but very adventurous with flavour combinations, which means the offering at Sky Kong Kong is always new and exciting.
My husband and I visited on a Tuesday evening and were blown away by the delicate flavours and stunning presentation of the food, which had clearly been executed with a great deal of skill and creative vision. To start we enjoyed a delicious seafood pancake, which comprised succulent white fish and shellfish with crunchy spring onion and sweet pepper, cooked in a light egg-based batter. Served with a fragrant dipping sauce made with shrimp paste, mirin (sweet rice wine), sesame and a hint of green chilli, and a helping of Wizzy’s homemade kimchi (spiced fermented cabbage), it was a delight for all the senses and set us up nicely for the following course. Next, we shared a delicious glass noodle dish, which was unlike any other we had sampled before. The noodles, which were served with Julienne vegetables and juicy shitake mushrooms, were handmade by Wizzy using sweet potato starch and boasted a beautifully silky-smooth texture that we just couldn’t get enough of.
Just when we thought the food couldn’t get any better, we were treated to a small dish of braised tofu, which was flavoured with fresh coriander, Korean dried chilli and leek, before the third and final course arrived. This comprised pan-fried sea bass and chicken breast served with sticky wild rice, more of Wizzy’s delicious, spicy kimchi and sea vegetables. Both the fish and the meat were beautifully tender and packed with flavour, and were perfectly complemented by the Korean spices in the fermented cabbage. We enjoyed our meal with a bottle of sake, the sweet and tangy flavour of which proved a good match for each dish.
As well as being a lovely venue in which to explore traditional Korean-style food with a Western twist, Sky Kong Kong is a perfect place to pop in for cup of refreshing loose leaf tea or a fresh coffee made from locally-roasted Bristol Twenty beans. Whatever your reason for visiting this laidback Asian eatery, you’re sure to discover a warm welcome from Wizzy and her team and some of the most interesting and tasty food and drink in Bristol.
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