Last week my good friend Brian from Kiss my Kimchi invited me to go along with him to a promotional dinner at John Cook Deli Meats. I have been hearing great things about JCD for quite some time now, and have always been meaning to give it a try but with it being over in Apgujeong I needed that extra push, and Brian ordering us a taxi was all I needed.
The restaurant is located in Apgujeong and is a large wooden cum meat locker styled affair. There were hanging meats, ropes, and chains throughout, which equated to a butcher meets S&M kind of look, I’m sure it will be all the rage in Korean Kitchens in no time at all.
The restaurant also hosts a little shop selling all of their wonderful meats to go, along with other deli items such as wine, cheese, and condiments. They also have a few cookery books for sale including this one, which I thought was fabulous, and would love to receive for my upcoming birthday (hint hint)!
The German style menu has plenty on offer, from sandwiches to salads and meat platters. There is too much to mention but there is a great selection of hot and cold lunch and dinner items.
To kick things off we ordered the Pastrami Reuben (16,000). This Ruben was made with pastrami instead of corned beef and for me it was a change for the better. Having only just been back from New York for a few short weeks my standards were set very high but there was not even the slightest bit of disappointment as the pastrami was fantastic. It was so incredibly tender it just melted on my tongue. The meat was perfectly pink in the middle with a lusciously blackened edge. The pastrami was served on toasted rye and topped with Swiss cheese and laid on a bed of Russian dressing and house made sauerkraut. It was a damn good sandwich and by far the best pastrami I have tried in Korea, it blew the competition out of the water. Certainly pricey, but pastrami fans will not be disappointed, especially since it came with real dill pickles.
We also got a Turkey salad (13,000). Tender slices of turkey on top a heap of dressed baby leaves. Strewn throughout were soft blobs of ricotta, which were so creamy they were more like mascarpone. Served with a fresh bread roll it was a nice salad and a good choice for those not wanting something so heavy as a sandwich.
For the main course we shared the Barbecue Platter (70,000). This is a huge dish which you would probably want to share between 3-4. Although I guess you could tackle it between two big eaters as they will wrap up any leftovers for you. The crowning glory of the platter is the huge roasted ham hock on the top. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not usually a fan of ham, but this was delicious, The skin was so crispy, I’ve never eaten ham with such a lusciously crispy skin before., The meat was tender and flavourful without being too “hammy” for want of a better word. It’s usually that smokiness that puts me off but I couldn’t get enough. It worked perfectly with the lovely mustard and sauerkraut we were given to accompany it.
Also on the platter was a piece of roasted belly pork, I also couldn’t get enough of this, it’s one of my favourite roasted meats, and it came with a proper English style gravy sauce, which was so tasty I had to have three refills. There were also some ribs which where good too, and a nice array of sausages. It was served with big chunky wedges, sauerkraut, and even more of those wonderful dill pickles. There really was so much on the plate, I felt bad that I had left TFB at home because he would have loved this, so I kindly brought him home what we couldn’t finish!
As I say we were very full at this point, but were offered dessert, I didn’t really have room but I said yes anyway, as I hate to miss out. We had a cheesecake (7,000), a tiramisu (9,000), and a muffin and a cookie, both of which come as a set with coffee (6,000). The tiramisu was heavenly. It had an incredibly light and creamy mascarpone topping which was layered over a moist yet rich coffee sponge. This one was without a doubt the clear favourite, but his will not surprise regular readers as my fondness for tiramisu is well documented by now. The other three desserts were all nice enough too, but no where near as special as the tiramisu.
Overall it was an excellent meal and I will definitely be back with TFB, possibly for brunch as I spotted they had a lovely patio outside. It’s not the cheapest place in the world to go for lunch but the meat is of such high quality that I think it’s worth it. You could also make a day of it, and have a look around the many shops, and pop into M&S which is located just across the street!
John Cook Deli Meats is located at 38, Nonhyeon-ro 175-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong station (line 3). Come out of exit 5 and walk straight then take the third left. John Cook Deli meats is located at the end of that alleyway on the right hand corner. For more information you can call them on 02-514-0040 or check out their facebook page.