A good friend of mine loves Kultura so I asked him before going that night what dishes I should order (Kultura is tapas style or in other words, shared plates). I also tweeted during the day asking for suggestions and got several replies regarding various dishes. I put them all in my phone.
This is the dining room downstairs with a bar at the far end. Some corporate happy hour event was going on at the time. My friend hasn't arrived yet so the hostess told me to wait at one of the tables here.
When my friend arrived, we were led upstairs.
This is the large dining room upstairs. Another dining room is at the back; the entrance to that is where the "EXIT" sign is. There's a long table in the middle with a row of seats by the wall. I like the decor of Kultura - it is very modern and I love the brick wall and candles. I thought the long table in the middle could've been better decorated - the menus, the random bottled waters, and the white clothes on it wasn't all that appealing; I also thought there wasn't enough stuff on the table. I feel that if you have a long table like this, you need to fill up it nicely. Compare this table with the table at Table 17 and you will see what I mean. It was also very dark at Kultura; a couple had to use their cell phone light to read the menu.
Catered to a big party, this table was at the back corner of the dining area.
As I said Kultura is really dark so don't mind the low quality pictures as I only had the candle light on the table to work with (I prefer not to use flash if possible).
Ordered a Caesar for myself.
Palak Paneer Naan - Truffle Oil, Jalapeno, Peppered Honey ($9) - Not bad but definitely not worth $9, even with the truffle oil. Probably the most expensive piece of naan I've ever eaten.
Mediterranean Chicken Samosas - Asiago, Sage, Spiced Apple Gari Chutney ($11)- These were spicy and extremely flavorful; the chicken was moist and marinated well. Love the chutney with it and also the wooden spoon and presentation. I wish the samosas were bigger; they were so small.
Ahi Tuna Cornets - Nori Shell, Avocado, Red Miso Flake, Radish Cress - Not sure how much this was as it was not on their online menu, my guess would be around $15.
When our server came he told us that the shells were edible. The nori shells are very cute. Never saw ahi tuna made this way; the tartar presentation reminds me of the tuna in spicy tuna rolls. But anyway, this was very delicious.
Mushroom Orecchiette - Malivoire Pinot Noir Pear Chutney, Aged Cheddar ($16) - My friend and I both agree that this was like mac & cheese; a very expensive tiny bowl of mac & cheese at that.
As for the taste, it was nothing special at all, not much taste actually could've used more salt and seasoning. Besides mac & cheese, the taste also reminded me of cream of mushroom soup. The pasta was way too al dente for my personal taste but because of that, this dish did fill me up considerably.
Miso Black Cod - Yuzu Corn Puree, Pickled Radish Salad, Crystallized Tamarind ($22) - We each had small piece of this. Taste wise it was great, I could really taste the miso and the yuzu corn puree was really delicious; I dabbed the cod in it every single time. Nothing much to say about the salad though.
So what was wrong with the service? Several things:
- It was obvious that we weren't ordering wine; I had my Caesar and my friend said water was fine for her. And to be fair, we were never asked if we were having wine either. Anyway, our server did not take away our wine glasses until when we were almost done dinner (she took them away before the Miso Cod came). We actually wanted her to take them away as our table was tiny but she never came by.
- Our dishes were not brought out by our server but from several different people. Not an issue, I don't care who brings them out, but our main server did not come by even once to ask us how things were.
- And because we could never find our server nor did she ever come over, our water was never filled. She only came by when everything was done and it was then that my friend asked our server if she could please fill up our waters.
- When she came back at the end of dinner, not only did she not take that opportunity to ask how things were, she asked us "Is there anything else I could get you?". We did not realize this until we left Kultura but shouldn't she ask us whether or not we wanted to see the dessert menu? Or whether or not we wanted coffee? Anything? It was really because of her question that led us to believe that Kultura didn't have a dessert menu, and therefore we just asked for the bill.
Since we were both not full, we went to Marché at Brookfield Place for dessert. It was only when I went home afterwards and checked Kultura's website that I found out they had dessert.
I want to reiterate again that it's not that the food at Kultura wasn't good, it's just that because it was only average I cannot justify going back again, knowing that a dinner for two, with one cocktail, without dessert, can cost close to $100 without even feeling close to full afterwards. The lack of service that night also did not make a good impression on me either.