A few weeks ago I was walking down Itaewon High Street and saw that yet another a new restaurant was being built, when I saw that it was a pancake place I didn’t pay much attention, but I quickly found out that the new opening of the Original Pancake House was a very big deal indeed, or at least to my American friends. Original Pancake House is located in the old Burger King location just underneath Coffeesmith, I believe they also have a location in Sinsa too, though I’ve never ventured there myself as I’m not overly keen on pancakes. Personally I like to start my day with something savoury, the thought of eating cake soaked in syrup before my eggs always sends a shiver down my spine, and they always seem too stodgy and filling to eat as dessert. But since they went to the effort of opening a restaurant here in Itaewon, It would have been rude of me not to give it a try.
The restaurant is a full on 50’s style diner, a theme which I just adore. Our cafes back home are nowhere near this cool or glamorous. The restaurant is the latest franchise from the American chain Original Pancake house, and it looks as though no expense has been spared. The place is huge with ample seating for at least 70. The menu, just like the restaurant, is giant too, it’s practically a novel. There is page after page of good old American classics, and pancakes galore.
Being a savoury girl, I was in the mood for eggs. It’s not brunch without eggs! When I found out that omelettes come with a half serving of pancakes, the decision was made. I’m not sure why an omelette comes with pancakes, but hell I’m not complaining, it’s the best of both worlds. They have quite a few different varieties of omelette but I got the florentine.
The Florentine Omelette (17,000) is filled with spinach, mushroom, olive, tomato, Swiss and mozzarella cheese. The omelette was big and fluffy and stuffed with an insane amount of cheese, like oodles, they were in no part stingy. Everything was fresh, but I couldn’t help think I could have made this myself at home and not had to suffer through the effort of getting dressed.
I was also a little disappointed in the accompanying pancakes, they just seemed very claggy. As mentioned I’m not a huge pancake eater but I expected they to be fluffier somehow, maybe they were slightly under done as it didn’t seem to take a lot of effort to mush them back into paste. The syrup wasn’t real maple syrup either which would have made a big big improvement but being a very costly ingredient I’m sure it would really jack up the price. On the plus side you get a hell of a lot of food, and if you like simple diner food you’ll be happy, but I wouldn’t order it again based solely on the fact I could just make it at home myself for a fraction of the price.
The second dish we tried was the Fried Chicken & Waffle (18,000). 3 large pieces of boneless fried chicken stacked upon a cheddar cheese waffle and served with maple butter and honey tabasco sauce. You know how much I love fried chicken and eating it with a cheese stuffed waffle just seemed like a match made in heaven. I couldn’t get enough of the maple butter, and slightly spicy tabasco honey, drizzled over the chicken and waffle they were the perfect blend of sweet and salty.This was both mine and TFB’s favourite dish of the day. The three pieces of chicken are huge, not surprisingly we couldn’t eat it all, and had to get a to go box with the leftovers.
Lastly we ordered the BBQ Burger (16,000). You think I’d have realized by now that I don’t really care for american burgers but the lure of cheese, bacon, onion rings and BBQ sauce was just too much to resist. While the combination of ingredients should have been perfect, the burger had no Mmm factor. I found the all beef patty just far too plain, and even the addition of some of my favourite ingredients couldn’t help it. The honey cured bacon on the other hand was lovely, a nice thick cut and I’m sure it would be nice with the pancakes. For some reason we were served onion rings on the side instead of fries, although we had so much food on the table that I didn’t even realize until I reread the menu again back home. The onion rings didn’t really do it for me either they were just too small and thick. The homemade pickles were good though.
While I wasn’t blown away by anything I ate, I’m still very charmed by the concept of this new diner. I wanted to love the food but really in terms of taste it was just far too plain and simple to get my taste buds going. I’m sure if I’d grown up eating at diners then I’d love it but for me the flavours just weren’t there, but perhaps I’m expecting to much. The menu is huge though, so for that alone I’d be willing to give them another shot. There’s sadly only beer on the menu in terms of booze, so it will never be a true brunch place in my eyes without cocktails. However they do get plus points for opening at 8am, as very few places open for breakfast before 11 in our hood, and they stay open til midnight on weekends.
Original Pancake House is located at 172-2, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 1. Walk straight for about 200 meters, and you’ll see the Original Pancake House on the right underneath Coffee Smith. For more information you can call them on 02-795-7481 or check out their website.