Who is Hannah Kim: I am the owner and head chef at Vincent Restaurant in Barton.
Best dining experience: I recently visited Coco Nine at Kingston Foreshore and wanted to try out their lunch special, which is under $20. The flavours were just amazing! I loved their satay skewers, the green curry and pad Thai … they were all sooooo yummy! The portions are a little on the smaller side, but still great value for only $12.
Favourite cuisine: I would have to say Japanese. I know Japanese cuisine is now trendy, but I have always loved it. I would die for their seafood, especially raw seafood. I like that Japanese cuisine is getting more popular and that there are now so many new Japanese restaurants in Canberra to try out.
Most embarrassing fridge or pantry item: I’d probably say instant noodle soup seasoning powder. I have so many different types and brands of soup powder and when I cook at home (which isn’t often), the soup seasoning powder is very convenient to use as it cuts down cooking time and adds more flavours.
What ingredient can I not live without: Definitely flour. If I could choose two, I’d also say noodles … I cannot live without flour-based noodles.
Next big thing in the Canberra food scene: I think Asian food is the next best thing in Canberra, especially with Japanese food getting more popular, and people are becoming more intrigued by Asian food. There are so many fine dining restaurants that incorporate Asian and Western fusion now, and these days, many chefs love to use the variety of Asian flavours and techniques which have hundreds of years of history. As a chef from an Asian background, I am so excited to see this progression in the culinary scene here.
Favourite place for lunch in the ACT: I love Ogawa in Gungahlin. I go to this restaurant every Saturday for lunch. Not only because it’s very close to home but also because I can have quality sushi that is also affordable.
My go-to coffee spot in Canberra: Intra specialty coffee in Campbell. They always make great coffee, and the food is simple but tasty.
A must-try on our menu: If you ever head to Vincent, you’ve got to try our scallop! The Japanese-style scallop is a signature dish of ours.
Biggest culinary influence: These days, street food has been my main source of inspiration. Recently, I think I’ve gotten a bit bored of super fancy foods that aren’t as vibrant in flavours. Hence, I have started looking into ‘realer’ foods that are more accessible in everyday life. Street food may look like it is just made from random ingredients, however, street food has remained consistent and well-loved for a reason in countries all over the world. It’s always cool to see how people can experiment and elevate fancy foods, but in the end, I always come back to the roots.
Favourite cookbook: Sepia cookbook. I was given this cookbook from my old head chef as a gift and it’s always been my favourite. The cooking style is somewhat old-school, but I love that classic style.
What business do I admire in the Canberra food and wine scene: I’d probably say Sean McConnell from Rebel Rebel dining. My first experience of working in a restaurant was Monster Kitchen where he was the executive chef at the time. Most of the dishes on the menu that he made were Asian-inspired. Through his dishes, he displayed his knowledge on his usage of these ingredients, sauces and skills. I found these different aspects to be both impressive and inspiring. I believe for as long as I’ve known him, he might have been the first chef in Canberra to incorporate Asian fusion into our city’s culinary scene.
What’s the special of the week at Vincent Restaurant: The newest dish we have introduced on our menu is our take on Brussel sprouts. It’s a vegetable you either love or hate, but what makes this dish special is that one of our chefs curated this dish in a way that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Where am I travelling next: I am travelling to South Korea next year. I’ve been living here for more than 10 years and am slowly forgetting what real Korean food is like, so I’m hoping to refresh my memory of real Korean food.
Death row meal: My mum’s Kimchi soup. Her Kimchi soup’s the best. The flavours are unbeatable!
My least favourite food: I’d probably say pizza. After 11 pm, fast food-style pizza is all you can really order. So pizza used to be just junk food for me. But recently, my partner brought me the Department of Pizza and Mama Dough Pizza and they have changed my perspective on pizza as of late.
My three recipe tips:
1. Salty is better than nothing.
2. Undercooked is better than overcooked.
3. MSG is not bad for you like people say it is.
Vincent Restaurant is open Tuesday to Friday, from 12 pm to 10 pm and on Saturdays from 6 pm to 10:30 pm. It is located at 48 Macquarie Street, Barton.