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Finding new and cool places to eat is actually pretty easy these days, a walk around my neighborhood offers up a plethora of new options week in week out as more and more buildings are turned into eateries to feed the hordes of people visiting our hood. Last week I was invited by the owners to come and try the food at Calcotada in Gyeongridan. Located just up on the hill past the Police station, it’s hidden away from the crowds which I always find desirable in an eatery, ain’t nobody got time for queuing.

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The restaurant is of substantial size and decorated in the bare walls and chrome industrial style which is all the rage these days. Whilst we pondered the menu, my companion and I started off with a glass of red wine so that we could get a truly authentic Spanish experience, and not just because we are functioning alcoholics incapable of enjoying a meal without intoxicating lubrication. But enough about our problems…..

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The specialty at Calcotada is the Calcot. A famed Spanish dish of blackened onions, eaten with a roasted tomato or pepper dip. Having never tried it before I was rather excited to give it a go, so we ordered one up. To eat them you peel away the outer skin away then cut up the onions inside.

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Then dip them in the accompanying sauce.

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Or you can have a go at eating them the traditional way like we did.

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The Calcot Platter (16,000) came  a with a pile of roasted leeks, the dipping sauce, a pork sausage and some barbecue pork meat. Not being familiar with the dish I had no expectations but I did enjoy it. though I think they could be a little sweeter if made with a smaller sized onion than the leeks. I thought that as an idea the meat paired well with the dipping sauce and leeks, kind of like a twist on galbi and samjang. However the meat didn’t have as much flavour as I would have hoped, more seasoning and a marinade would be useful here. I’m also not sure what the sausage is doing on the platter, I personally loath those kind of sausages and am never pleased to see them. I think it would be much better if they charged more and served it with slices of pan fried chorizo or some Iberico ham for a more authentic experience.

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We also got the Tapas Set (20,000) which consisted of breads topped with ham and cheese, salami and cheese filled mushrooms, smoked salmon and cream cheese, bread topped with brie and grape jelly and bacon peas. The ham and cheese bread was probably the best, nice pieces of thick tasty ham with good flavourful cheese. The mushrooms were also rather tasty. I don’t eat salmon myself but Sue soon wolfed them down and they were filled with cream cheese. Personally I’m not sure about the grape jam on top of the brie but it wasn’t a bad match, just a bit random. It would be a nice plate to pick over with some wine but probably not enough to fill you up. They had a couple of other tapas dishes on the menu like grilled shrimp which also sounded good.

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Calcotada is a pretty cool space and is a great spot to share a few glasses of wine over some reasonably priced tapas. The idea of serving calcots is a great one, but I think they may need to decide whether they want to go for a more authentic menu or just to cater to the Korean palette.

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Calcotada is located at 255-49, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass, go through and exit using the left hand set of stairs. Keep walking straight and follow the road until you reach the fork intersection. Take the left hand fork where the CU is, and keep walking straight up this road past Silence of the Lambs and the police station. Calcotada is located a few doors up on the right.  For more information you can call them on 070-7773-2520 or check out their facebook page.

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