I first heard about the opening of Casa Mun back in November and instantly put myself on the mailing list. I’m not quite sure why, perhaps call it a sixth food sense, but I had an inkling that this place would be special. This dinner party hybrid closed-door restaurant, blending Californian flavors with traditional Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisines, has been a much-needed addition to the Buenos Aires food scene. I came in with quite high expectations, following the restaurant updates on Facebook and Twitter for months, looking forward to the dining experience. It’s fair to say that Casa Mun did not disappoint and now when asked my top BA restaurants, I can add another to the list.
The night started out in the Palermo/Villa Crespo loft converted restaurant with some mingling over a few glasses of champagne – a chance to meet the hosts and the other diners. Chef Mun, the master behind Casa Mun, was busy putting the finishing touches on the dishes but managed to stick his head out and say hello. Chef Mun received his formal culinary training at the Sushi Chef Institute of Los Angeles and studied under Chef Makota Okuwa, who you might have seen on the fabulous Food Network show the Iron Chef.
First Course: Chilean Salmon Sashimi, California and SPICY TUNA ROLL
Wine Pairing: AVE Premium Torrontés 2009
Beautifully presented Chilean salmon – like buttah! But I really melted for the spicy tuna – two pieces of absolute perfection. Oh, how I miss spicy tuna. I could have eaten 20 more pieces easy. Rumor has it that next month spicy tuna on top of crispy rice maybe added to the menu – SCORE. Great choice on pairings too, I love me a good Torrontés -probably my favorite Argentine wine. The AVE just permeated a pleasant floral scent, like a bowl of fresh flowers.
Second Course: Chinese Dim Sum – Assortment of Shrimp, Pork and Vegetable Dumplings
Wine Pairing: AVE Premium Torrontés 2009
I thought I was high after that first course until an exciting little present came to the table in a bamboo steamer. DIM SUM! The BBQ pork bun – out of this world and the shrimp dumpling mighty tasty too. I was less of a fan of the vegetable one… possibly a few seconds overcooked made the dumpling fall apart and difficult to eat. Still, the flavors are better than most dumplings I’ve had here.
Third Course: Shredded Pork with Chinese Celery
Wine Pairing: Rama Negra Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
This spicy pork dish might have been my favorite of the night – it was marinated with Taiwanese red pepper paste and lemon honey cooked with crunchy chinese celery and topped with Japanese radish and cucumber. The pork bursted with flavors and the textures nicely matched with the crisp vegetables.
Fourth Course: Kalbijim – Slow Cooked Korean Short Ribs on top of Chestnut and Wasabi Mashed Potato
Wine Pairing: Rama Negra Malbec 2009
Another killer dish, this one is Chef Mun’s specialty originating from Korea. You can taste the love in the dish – it takes two days to prepare and is slowly cooked in his own secret marinade. The dish also features carrots, Korean radish, chestnut and wasabi mashed potato all topped with organic micro greens and pine nuts. Where does Chef Mun get his micro greens? From his rooftop garden. Yup, he’s a grosso. You know when you have that perfect bite of meat that falls right off the bone, combining savory and sweet flavors? Well that was what was goin’ on in this dish. The malbec wine pairing also spot on – and they were not shy pouring more.. I was gettin’ TIPSAY.
Fifth Course: Chocolate Cake with Raspberries, Blueberries & Mango
Coffee or Green Tea
With a full Ethiopian baby’s stomach, I didn’t think it was possible to have room for dessert. I took a quick breather, had a few more sips of wine, and got down and dirty with that dessert. Perfect chocolatey ending to an even more perfect meal. You can see in the photo written in chocolate is Casa Mun’s logo – which means “Home” or casa in Chinese.
The dinner has a fix priced at AR$180, not something I could regularly afford on my sorry peso income. Even though it’s on the pricey end it’s well worth it: the elegant meticulously chosen décor, impeccable service, gracious hosts, perfect wine pairings with very generous pours, artistic and flavorful dishes made for a truly unforgettable meal that continues to make me smile.
Be sure reserve a spot soon. With dinners only once a week on Saturdays, my food sense says Casa Mun will be booked well in advance.
Check out more photos from the March & April menus of Casa Mun.