Southern style barbecue has been a big old trend in these parts over the past year or two, though very few places have managed enjoy the success of Linus Kim. The Linus Itaewon location has had queues around the clock since it opened, and the variety of copycats haven’t made a dent in it. Luckily for those of us who like the food but don’t want to wait in line for the privilege, Linus has just opened up a second location in Haebangchon.
The new place is set over two floors and is located 3/4 of the way up the main road in Haebangchon. On the first floor is the bar with some counter style seating overlooking the scenic beauty that is HBC, while upstairs is the kitchen and the familiar wooden tables and chairs. The paint is still practically wet on this place, as it only opened during Chuseok so we were easily able to grab a table for dinner. Once the word spreads I am sure this will change, however unlike the other location this one will take reservations, saving you from those monumental queues if you plan ahead.
Like its customers stomachs, the Linus menu has grown in size at this new location. All the favourites are still on, as are the lunchtime sandwiches, and the new smoked chickens. Having eaten the pulled pork and brisket about a thousand times I was very excited to try the muster of Linus’ chicken. You can eat it in a variety of ways, but we sprung for the new Smoked Chicken Platter (22,000). This comes with a whole smoked chicken, six sliders, white sauce, tomato salad and taters and gravy. The chicken had a real heady smokey flavour throughout and came away nicely from the bones. The skin wasn’t as crisp as I might have liked it, but it was in no way under cooked either. The meat was tender and juicy and went very well with the new white BBQ sauce. I liked this thick garlicky white sauce a lot. I have to say I was very impressed with the size of this smoked chicken platter. Both TFB and myself can eat a lot but we struggled to finish half of this as we ordered another dish. I think we both would have left full and happy, had we only had this especially as it works out to only 11,000 per person.
One of my favourite items from Linus is the Da Bomb Sandwich (13,900), but they only serve it at lunch at the Itaewon branch. Due to my schedule I am not often a lady who lunches, so rarely got to indulge as often as I would have liked. The toasted bun is layered with brisket, cheese, caramelized onions, fried pickles and a sweet BBQ sauce. I love the combination of the tender smokey meat, with the cheese and onions. With the slightly sourness and crunch from the deep fried pickles it just ticks all my flavour boxes. We made this sandwich into set for an extra 2,500 won for our sandwich which included two sides of our choice, I got the creamy slaw and skinny fries. For some reason all the sandwich set upgrades are different prices which I found odd, as surely the sides cost the same no matter the sandwich. Hopefully it is just an oversight on the menu.
Not only does Linus have good food, they have a damn fine drinks menu too. My favourite is the Pina Colada (21,000). This gigantic frozen drink is suggested for two, but being a bit of a lush I prefer it for one. As you can see it is served in a hollowed out pineapple. The cocktail itself incredibly tasty, creamy, and refreshing and has a good flavour of rum coming through. They also serve it with a cup of pineapple that hasn’t been used in your drink which I find a really nice touch. The rest of the drinks menu is equally stellar, and having had quite a few over the years I can definitely give them my seal of approval.
Overall I am quite pleased with the new locations, and vow to head there more often. Fingers crossed it wont be as busy as the Itaewon branch, but if that does happen you can still make a reservation. The new menu items are great, and they have some affordable sandwiches on offer too, which would make a cheap takeout dinner if you live locally.
Linus is located at 37-5 Yongsan-dong 2 ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong station (line 6). Walk straight out of exit 2 for about 200 meters and take the first left and walk straight along the road with all the kimchi pots. Keep walking straight along this street past Phillies & Casablanca. You will see Linus BBQ a little further up on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-790-2930 or check out their facebook page. They are open everyday from 11am -10:30pm (kitchen closes at 9:30pm).