I AM KIM Korean Restaurant, Estancia Mall at Capitol Commons Pasig City

July 20, 2015
Playful, bold, and genius - if I could sum up I AM KIM at Estancia Mall in Capitol Commons Pasig City in three words, that would be it. Specializing in Korean Stone Bowl Rice or popularly known as Bibimbap, I Am Kim is a brainchild of who in my opinion is one of the best chefs in Manila, Chef Him Uy de Baron of Nomama Ramen fame.

While the recent discontinuation of the ramen place threw a sense of despondency up in the air inhaled by Nomama Ramen aficionados, myself included - Chef Him's flair for translating his genius into palatable creations remains unabated. Case in point, I AM KIM

I Am Kim Korean Restaurant Estancia Mall Capitol Commons Pasig City
If it isn't your first brush with Chef Him's creations, the same enticing charm can be well expected with his offerings at I Am Kim. As for me, we will go back to the firsts three words of this write up - playful, bold, and genius. Now let me prove my point. 

I Am Kim at Estancia Mall

Tucked at the lower ground level of Estancia Mall where numbers of different restaurants stood side by side, I Am Kim is not really hard to spot with its colorful logo in its facade. The interior features an eye-catching mural that liven things up a bit. Even the colorful circular panel affixed on the ceiling and the floor tiles specked with colors are poised to give definitive touch of excitement to the place.  

I Am Kim Restaurant at Capitol Commons
Tables and chairs mainly in two tones - black and white - cast a fine balance making the place colorful but not nauseatingly so. It aims to please the eyes, not to exhaust ones' visual tolerance.  

Although specializing in Bibimbap, I Am Kim does not hold the promise the same as that of a full pledge Korean Restaurant. Rather, it is a playful interpretation of the usual without loosing respect to the mother ship where the cuisine hails from. The selections of appetizers as an example of that statement is a good start.

I Am Kim
Known Korean dish chapchae is usually treated as a main dish in other Korean Restaurants, but I Am Kim took a playful spin and serve it as a salad instead in a form of well - Chap Chae Salad (Php 175).

The main players such as the beef bulgogi, glass noodles, and vegetables are ever present. Crisp lettuce served alongside plus the soy-sesame dressing steeled the resolve that it is indeed a salad dish. Although treated as a salad, I suggest you do not underestimate its capacity to fill one's up since the serving portion leans on the hefty side.

Chap Chae Salad at I Am Kim
Sausage made up of pork and beef wrapped in sisho leaves served with kimchi slaw, I Am Kim's Korean Sausage (Php160) holds the promise of satisfaction for meat lovers. These little nuggets of savory bombs come in five pieces per serving and is a great choice for those who craves for meaty goodness of the usual sausage but in a different light.

Korean Sausage at I Am Kim
Two of the appetizers that blew me away are made up of surprisingly - sweet potato, something I rarely enjoy when dining out. Both of which are off the menu, or at least I haven't seen them written in one during the time of my visit.

First one is the Gocuchang Shoestring Fries. As the name implies, this bowl of crisp goodness was comprised of deep-fried shoestring sweet potato, gocuchang butter, bacon bits, and poached egg. A thing of beauty to look at especially if you got a thing for some kind of a beautiful mess. Yet, the real beauty is bound to happen when you mix everything together and eat it with gusto.

I Am Kim Gocuchang Shoestring Fries
A different version is the Shoestring Fries with Adobo Flakes. Instead of bacon, crisp adobo flakes earned this dish its distinctive flavor lovable enough to ask for second servings. The poached egg is also there, lending a creamy texture that coats the fries once everything's mixed in together. 

While it is a noble pursuit to eat these fries with your bare hands, I deem it is best enjoyed using spoon or fork even. Because for something as good as these two, couple of strands in one go wouldn't be enough.

I Am Kim Shoestring Fries with Adobo Flakes
Fried dumpling made of chicken and shitake mushroom is what Korean Fried Dumpling (Php170) all about - well, almost but not quite, really. These dumplings are coated with Korean spice that adds flavor to an otherwise flavorless dumpling wrapper and complementing the savory taste of the filling.

Now the thrill does not just stopped there. The fresh sisho leaves served alongside are meant to be eaten with it. Gently wrapped the dumpling with the leaves, pop it in your mouth, chew, and expect to hear cherubims singing.

Korean Fried Dumpling

To specialize on dish known from different culture is one thing, to go beyond it by taking crazy creative spin to defy the norm is another. Outright display of such dauntless act can be seen through parade of I Am Kim's Composed Bibimbaps on their menu. 

I Am Kim Menu
The Salmon & Tuna Bap (Php420) is essentially composed of fresh raw salmon and tuna, carrots, leeks, salmon egg, sous vide or raw eggs, and teriyaki sauce on top of fluffy Japanese rice.

Despite the absence of some raw seafood components save for the salmon and tuna, this composed bibimbap sort of reminds me of my favorite Chirashi however way simpler but still satisfying nonetheless.

Salmon and Tuna Bibimbap
The K-Town Burger Steak (Php350) is perfect for those who loves 'em some beef burger patty. Mixed in with some gocuchang sauce, the patty go perfecctly well with the fried egg and kimchi fried rice especially when you mashed the hell out of it and combine everything together.

K-Town Burger Steak
The B.E.C. Bap (Php290 M /Php400 L) stands for Bacon, Egg, and Chicken - that alone is a dead giveaway as to what this composed bibimbap is all about. During our visit, it was my good friend Richie who ordered this and I must salute the guy for having the courage to share his bowl to us. Had it been mine, I would probably order another one because it was that good.

BEC Bap Bibimbap
The Steak and Egg with Kimchi Fried Rice (Php540) on the other hand is composed of generous slices of wagyu steak on a bed of kimchi fried rice with gocuchang and fried egg on the toss. Chef Him is known for partnering up with Kitayama since his Nomama days and I am glad that it has not change to this day since I also have an utmost respect for the brand. 

Photo below, although didn't quite exude justice to the grandness of the dish shows the generosity of this dish. Surely any hefty eater may find comfort and satisfaction from this downright savory fare.

Steak and Egg with Kimchi Fried Rice Bibimbap
The BBQ Pork Belly (Php300 M /Php435 L) is for one of the most well-loved cut in pork, the pork belly. Marinated to the point when the flavor penetrates even the farthest recesses of the meat, this bowl of wonder works all the more well with the addition of shitake mushroom, spring onions, carrots, zucchini, gocuchang bulgogi sauce, and of course egg.

BBQ Pork Belly Bibimbap

If Chef Him took the liberty to create the most awesome combination of ingredients that yields perfect bowls of composed bibimbaps, the genius part of this ride falls under the account in which diners can create and customized their bibimbaps that befit to their liking.

While the composed bibimbaps are written on the menu for diners' perusal, the process for customizing your own bibimbaps can be had through a single sheet of paper wherein possible bibimbap ingredients are written. Diners will then tick the boxes of those which ingredients they would like to incorporate on their bowls. Necessary guidelines are provided on the paper itself but I Am Kim's very able food attendants are always available should one need help nor recommendation.

Make Your Own Bibimbap

During our visit with food blogger friends, I took the liberty to opt for the customized bibimbap as everyone resorted to the composed ones. Choices are aplenty which almost drive me nuts because I wanted to have everything. In the end I opted for those which I know I would enjoy best.

I was thinking of naming the bibimbap creation I made, YedyLicious Bibimbap. Until I figured it reeks of lack of creativity so I leave the naming to my friends. 

Ladies and gents, my bibimbap creation which name was baptized by The Pickiest Eater; "I Am Yedy: You're Gonna Hear Me Roar" Bibimbap. Hilarious, that guy.

YedyLicious Bibimbap
So basically, this bibimbap comprised of Japanese rice, teriyaki sauce, umami butter, Kitayama wagyu BBQ short ribs, BBQ pork belly, poached (sous vide) egg, carrots, mushrooms, and fried onions. 

Although the appearance may not as appetizing since it lacks a shade of any color other than brown and orange, but the flavor was spot on that to this day I am still salivating by the mere thought of it.

Everything worked well together I could trade my birthday cakes in years to come for this. Exaggeration? not quite. It's really good. 

I Am Kim Customized Bibimbap
Needless to say, I only have good words for I Am Kim. I went there couple of times more and the service was still efficient and the quality of food was still as astounding as I remember it to be. The prices are reasonable and the serving portions are noteworthy, as always. 

I am really glad that chef Him have come up with such concept different than any others and brought his genius streak in every detail. There are some instances when words and photos weren't enough to capture my immense likeness for one restaurant and I must say that this is one of them. So I will say that one must experience dining at I Am Kim in order for them to understand. And trust me, it will be worth it.

I Am Kim Retaurant at Capitol Commons
I Am Kim
G/F/ Estancia Mall
Capitol Commons
Pasig City
Contact No.: 542-2558
Facebook: I Am Kim
Instagram: @IAmKimPH

1 comment on "I AM KIM Korean Restaurant, Estancia Mall at Capitol Commons Pasig City"

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