JC & Co Dining

Jackie McMillan
30th Jul 2023

Taking over Strathfield’s JC & Co espresso and patisserie by night, JC & Co Dining is a pop-up Korean fine diner. Launching this weekend, my meal was preceded by a fun month watching them develop their first degustation menu ($85/head) on Instagram. Joining the first twenty diners to experience this restaurant, we filed into the minimalist concrete space at 7.30pm in groups of two, three and four, each clutching BYO ($5/each) selections. 

The chef, who chooses to remain a mystery, launched into the multi-course meal with three cold snacks, starting with a pacific oyster dressed in tuna soy and shallot oil. Curled slices of kingfish marinated in top quality kombu (dashima) were served on an abalone shell with white kimchi (baek kimchi), perilla oil and organic mandarin vinegar from Jeju island. Fresh cucumber boats came adorned with Korean salted pollock roe (myeongnan-jeot) mayo. which will feel familiar to Japanophiles (like me) who obsess over Japanese mentaiko. Ditto the chawanmushi that follows topped with (slightly thick) slices of Australian truffle. The last hot snack is a shared fish course, where glistening orange-skinned ocean perch joins tteokbokki doublets in a dish that’s a play on “su je bi” (Korean hand-torn noodle soup).

Two small slices of rare beef brisket bulgogi arrived on a mound of rice mixed with greens “na mul bab” style. It’s a simple, gently flavoured dish that made me wish for gochujang. I suspect it was the combination of very long gaps between dishes (this was their first night), uncomfortable cafe-style chairs, an open door and cold cement floors, but I didn’t really appreciate the subtlety of the braised beef shin, angel hair noodle, radish in superior broth. Tiramisu is never really my bag, though I did enjoy the red bean-spiked walnut cake (hogugwaja) petit fours. This spot will smooth out over time, and I applaud the economical idea of using cafe spaces by night while noting they lack can the comfort required for a three-hour degustation.