There is only one thing in life that I love more than a champagne brunch, and that is an unlimited champagne brunch. In most of Asia, champagne brunches are pretty ubiquitous and almost every city break we take involves at least one. While Seoul has more than its fair share of upmarket hotel brunching options, complete with a glass of bubbly, the free flow option has still not yet quite caught on, probably because Koreans aren’t as desperate to get their drink on in the day as we are. So when I was invited to come and try the brand spanking new unlimited champagne brunch at the Conrad, well you can bet I said “Hell Yeah!”
The brunch is served at the 37 Grill and Bar restaurant on the 37th floor of the Conrad hotel. Its a great location if you live on the west side on the city and I have personally always enjoyed Yeouido park, as it is a great spot for hanging out and having picnics. I actually came to the 37 Grill & Bar with TFB a few years ago for Valentines Day. The place was just as beautiful as I remember, and the views are epic as you can see. It was a particularly lovely day on on our visit and we could see all the way across the city.
Once we were seated the waiter brought over the menu and explained how the process worked. The buffet costs 69,000 per person, and includes all of your food. You also get to choose your main course from the menu, when we were there it included beef ribs, wagyu steak, Iberico pork, lobster, fish of the day, and fettuccine. For your appetisers and desserts you help yourself to the buffet. You are also brought a few little extra hot appetiser courses throughout the meal which I thought was another nice touch. Drinks are priced separately so its up to you if you’d like to add them, a glass of Charles Heidsieck Brut Champagne is 20,000, but the unlimited option is 49,000 so just drink three glasses, which really isn’t hard, and you’re ahead!
Once our cards were filled in we hit the buffet table. It’s a smaller selection that some of the other hotel buffets that we have been to, but quite frankly I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Sometimes I find that although the choices are endless, the dishes may lack the chef’s individual touch. This one had a selection of very nice salads, breads, cheese and sliced deli meats, a more than ample way to kick things off.
While we were enjoying our salads and guzzling our champagne, our first surprise course was brought to the table, a bowl of creamy mushroom soup. Personally I’m a big fan of mushroom soup, especially when paired with a fine selection of freshly baked bread from the buffet table. Shortly after that we were brought the fried appetiser platter. Anything deep fried is always aces in my book and the spring rolls, crab cake, and caesar salad went down very well indeed. I think that serving the hot appetisers to your table is a much better idea than letting them fester away on the buffet.
More trips to the buffet were taken, a man with a sword of freshly carved meat came round, and more champs was quaffed, then before we knew it the main courses had turned up. Whenever it is on a menu I always choose lobster, I just can’t resist it, and it’s not really something I would ever cook at home, at least not here in Seoul. My roasted Canadian lobster was served with tomatoes and roe fried rice. It was a really nice dish, and particularly light and summery while pairing perfectly with the champs.
However the star main course for me was the 8 hour Guinness braised beef ribs served with cheddar mash. We were both humming and hawing whether to have this or the steak, luckily the British chef took pity on us and sent out both. A rich tasty gravy smothered the melt in the mouth beef ribs, and was served with a cheesy buttery mash and crunchy roasted veggies. Slap a Yorkshire pudding on the side and I’d happily eat this for roast dinner every Sunday for the rest of my life. Please don’t miss trying it like we almost did.
Once the mains were cleared and we took a bit of a break before tackling the next course. The dessert is kind of split into three, you get freshly made ice-creams which are brought to the table, then there are a whole host of individual servings of every kind of decadent dessert you can imagine. Then the most fun part, a make your own doughnut bar! I gained immense please from filling and decorating my own donuts, with all the flavoured creams, syrups, and toppings available, and they didn’t taste bad either.
Other notable desserts include the macarons which had tiny pipettes full of sauce inside them which I though to be extra cute. I also had a plate of cheese with honey comb because I’m greedy and I love it. Served with dessert is your choice of coffee or tea which we enjoyed while chatting with Chef David about the menu.
Overall I thought this brunch to be great value for money, I don’t think there is a cheaper unlimited option in the city. There’s a great view, the place is super fancy and I’m pretty sure you can’t even get a bottle of Moet for 50 bucks so 49 for free-flow is not bad at all. The food was a mix of good to great and there were a lot of fun playful elements in the mix. Just remember it is a marathon not a sprint, get a table when they first open at 11:30 and stay until they kick you out at 3 and you”ll have plenty of time to get your money’s worth in the booze and to enjoy all the courses they have to offer.
37 Grill and Bar is located on the 37th floor of the Conrad Hotel at 23-1 Yeouido-dong Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul. It is located just next to the IFC Mall. To get there take a train to Yeouido station (Line 5 & 9) Come out of exit 3 and walk straight. Take your first right then walk straight until you reach the IFC Mall, there are directions and a lift to the hotel inside. For more information you can call them on 02-6137-7130 or check out their website.