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One thing you can say about HBC is that there are plenty of coffee shops. But sadly one of the best and longest running coffee shops D’espresso closed down a few months ago, which was a bit of a shame as they had started making some really awesome smoothies and sandwiches. But the good news is they are still in HBC, they just moved way up the hill and reopened as The Royal Food & Drink.

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The Royal Food & Drink is kind of a coffee shop-cum-restaurant-cum-bar. The cool yet industrial style store has lots of cute and cosy touches and feels very welcoming despite the raw and rugged walls and floors. Considering the place is quite small, the menu is rather large. A nice mix of breakfast & brunch items, sandwiches, salads and main meals, along with smoothies, coffee, cocktails, wine, and beer. All the food is on the healthy side and includes lots of lovely fresh ingredients.

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While I was intrigued by the cocktails I really had my heart set on a smoothie, so went for the Chocolate Avocado (6,500). My dining companion had no such desires though and went for the house white (6,000). My smoothie arrived promptly and was absolutely delicious. A creamy mix of chocolate and avocado I devoured this in minutes and it was so yummy I practically licked the glass clean. The wine was a bit on the dry side for me, but my buddy liked it enough to order a second glass.

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After perusing the menu I was torn between the chicken hummus and the chicken pesto sandwich (7,000). The fact that the pesto one came served on focaccia sealed the deal for me. The sandwich was on lovely pillowy focaccia bread, and filled to the brim with chicken, pesto and fresh veggies like tomatoes and sprouts. It also came with a small salad. The sandwich was tasty, hearty and filling. It wasn’t exactly mind blowing but it was super fresh and a nice change from the mayo laden chicken sandwiches most places seem to serve. I was also very impressed with the price, it was worth every penny of the 7,000.

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My companion was feeling a little more ravenous than me and went for the Salmon Salad (16,000). This was a gym buff’s dream. A large piece of seared salmon on top of a bed of kale, avocado, quinoa and pomegranate salad. I think we all know by now that I don’t do salmon, but from a glance I could tell it was perfectly cooked, a nice crust on the outside and tender in the middle without being remotely dry. I did however try the lovely salad. It was just over flowing with superfoods, oodles of creamy chunks of avocado, and the pomegranate pips shined like little rubies. The fresh lime on top added a further pop of flavour to complete the meal. You’d feel incredibly virtuous eating this for damn sure.

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As a little treat we thought we would share a cookie and icecream (5,500). The homemade peanut butter and chocolate chip M&M cookie was balanced upon a glass of ice cream which was strewn with dried cranberries. After further investigation I discovered the ice cream was vanilla Haagen Dazs the creamiest and most luxurious ice cream in the world as far as I’m concerned. Other than the cookie being warmed up a bit first this was a delightful way to end the meal and couldn’t be faulted.

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Of course now I have moved across the tracks to Gyeongridan, HBC is starting to see an influx of good places to eat and The Royal Food & Drink is no exception. We had a very enjoyable lunch indeed, and it was nice to see a focus on healthier foods that still taste great. It reminds me a lot of many of the places we found in Bali. As well as the main lunch and dinner menu they also serve breakfast every day so I will soon be going back to check out their brunch!

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The Royal Food & Drink is located at 37, Sinheung-ro 20gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station and come out of exit 2. Walk stright until you reach the underpass, go through and exit using the right hand set of stairs. There should be a bus stop right in front of you, wait there for the number 2 green bus and take it through HBC all the way up to to the Haebangchon Ogori and get off when you reach the 5 way intersection. Take the road that is directly to the right of By The Way. Walk down that road for a couple of minutes and you will see The Royal Food & Drink on the left,  it’s a door down from 100 Foodtruck Smoke and Grill. For more information you can call them on 070-7774-4168 or check out their facebook page. They are open from 9am til 12am Tuesday – Sunday.

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