Category: Cafes / Takeaways / Bars

Mal Car

My neighbourhood of Gyeongridan is a treasure trove of unique and one of kind shops, bars, and restaurants. And one of its most hidden gems is my new favourite coffee shop Mal Car. Mal Car is a vintage automobile themed cafe, which is set over three floors and is full of quiet nooks and crannies to sit in. The place is festooned with all sorts of car themed knickknacks, even the outside tables are made from what looks like old bus doors. It is certainly a quirky place, and like no where else I have been before. It is located up on the Hyatt hill in a hidden residential alley, if it wasn’t for the sign on the main street you’d never find it, luckily I was invited so had the address.

It being a coffee shop and all, we thought we should start with a coffee. After placing our order we were given the most adorable shopping basket to help carry everything upstairs which I thought was a nice touch. I went for their signature Cloud Coffee (6,500), which is their version of the Vienna style, probably the coolest coffee in the city right now. I love creamy coffees so this was perfect for me, my only complaint is that I wish it had been sweeter, I would probably add a shot of vanilla syrup next time, but overall it was nice drink and coffee lovers should be impressed. My assistant Elizabeth ordered herself a refreshing Sunset Ade (6,500) to beat the heat. The colourful ade was super refreshing and had an almost sherberty fruity taste. We both really enjoyed it, but I thought it could be even better with a shot of vodka!

The Cinnamon Rolls are a speciality at Mal Car, so we had to give one a try. They have several different variations but we opted for the Original (4,600). Just looking at it, it was easy to tell why they are famous for them and boy were they good. Warm in the middle so the frosting kinda melted and you could sop it all up like a sweet and buttery gravy. The texture of the bun itself was super soft, and it had a good blend of spices without being over powering. Honestly I don’t think I have stopped thinking about these big bountiful buns ever since, they are addictively good, and not to be missed.

Besides the buns, Mal Car also offers a whole range of baked breads and cakes. After gazing over their dazzling array of desserts we decided to try the Humming Bird (6,600), as it was too pretty to resist. The banana and pineapple spiced cake was topped with a nice thick layer of cream cheese frosting and an adorable pineapple flower. The sponge had a lovely hint of pineapple, though I didn’t get much of the banana coming through. We both enjoyed the lovely creamy cheese frosting, and appreciated that it wasn’t too sweet. Being two very greedy girls we also got a Carrot Cake (6,200) too! This was really incredible, so moist and had a really nice balance of spices with a hint of orange. The cake itself was the star here, but the frosting was also good too. I was green with envy when eating this because it was even better than my recipe which I have always considered to be one of the best around.

Overall I thought Mal Car was a gorgeous cafe with fabulous cakes, breads and coffees. The Cinnamon Rolls in particular were incredible and I’ve not tasted one as good as this in Seoul before. The theme really sets it apart and there is seating inside and out. In a city filled with big chain places, these are the small places I love to support, so I will definitely be going back again soon, especially as it is very close to my house.

Mal Car is located at 48-10 Hoenamu-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.  To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass, go through and exit using the stairs on the left hand side. Follow this road around passing the church and Paris Baguette, walk up the hill towards the Hyatt. Keep going up the hill and look out for the Mal Car sign after you pass the big GS, its in a small residential alley way just after passing Baskin Robbins. Go down the alleyway and you will see Mal Car on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-790-2310 or visit their facebook page. They are open from Tuesday – Sunday from 1pm – 11pm

Ferry Roasters

If there is one thing that Seoul has no shortage of, it is coffee shops. Seoulites absolutely adore coffee and seem to spend an awful lot of time hanging out in their favourite cafes. So it is no surprise that the city is practically bursting with dozens of cute and quirky places to get a caffeine fix. And before I set off on my travels, I found the most charming one just next to my house that I couldn’t resist sharing with you.

The boat themed coffee shop is conveniently located opposite the fabulous Cre8 Cookies, making it the perfect place to grab a drink after picking up some baked goods, however the nautical theme is not the only specialty, they also serve the world’s most delightful donut topped coffees, yes donut topped coffee! You can have your donut and drink it too. The menu is quite small but I tried a couple of their specialty drinks along with a dozen of their marvelous mini donuts. I placed my order and went up to their fabulous roof top to enjoy the glorious weather that we were having. Though if you don’t like the sun, they have a more covered outdoor space on the main floor, or inside seating.

After about 20 minutes my order finally showed up, and thankfully it was worth the wait. The first thing I tried was the Salted Caramel Latte (6,900), I’m usually a vanilla latte kinda a girl, but the melted marshmallow topping on this coffee was too much to resist. I was at first concerned that the coffee would be too sweet for my liking however it was far saltier than sweet and mixed with the strong coffee it was actually quite tasty. The frothy melted mashmallows added a hint of sweetness and it was actually quite refreshing. So far so good.

My second coffee, yes I was all alone and couldn’t decide what to get so thought I’d treat myself to two instead, was the Tube Latte (6,500). This is the delightful little Homer Simpson donut topped coffee. You can have this served hot or cold, and in this weather over ice seemed very logical. This one was not at all sweet, I’m guessing that’s why there is a donut on top. It was incredibly precious and the coffee was strong, but I need my latte a touch sweeter than this so would ask for some vanilla syrup next time. It was also on the small side, so I’m glad I had two.

It being a weekend and all, I figured I would treat myself to a dozen their adorable mini donuts. There are two different flavours, cinnamon sugar, and basil parmesan. I decided to try both and got a half order of each (7,500). Donuts are a rare find in this city, at least outside of the big chains. These were made there and then on the spot, which accounted for my 20 minute wait. I loved having a mix of sweet and savoury, it is the best of both worlds. The cinnamon sugar were soft and fluffy in the middle while the savoury basil parmesan were addictively good and probably my favourites of the day, whoever thought of putting parmesan in a donut is a genius!

Overall I thought this pace was fab and I will probably come again to hang out on the roof top and grab some donuts. It is not the cheapest coffee in the neighbourhood but if you are looking for something a bit different or a cute place to meet friends than this is it.

Ferry Roasters is located at 225-22 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass, go through and exit using the stairs on the left hand side. Follow this road around passing the church and Paris Baguette, walk up the hill towards the Hyatt. After you pass the Happy Store keep an eye out for an alleyway on the right hand side and you will see Ferry Roasters on your left, just past Cre8 Cookies. For more information you can call them on 02-6015-2022. They are open Tuesday – Sunday 12:30pm -9pm.

Mangwon Food Crawl

Last weekend was absolutely beautiful and I used the good weather as an excuse to get out of the house and the hood to go and explore another part of this city I call home. For the best part of year I have been hearing wonderful things about the uber trendy neighbourhood Mangwon. Yet, despite it only being a 20 minute subway ride away, I always failed to get over there and check it out. For those not in the know, like I was, you are seriously missing out, this place is jam packed with cute and quirky cafes, stores, and restaurants. It’s kind of like what Haebangchon and Gyeongridan use to be like. The streets are quite spread out, but there is plenty to see once you head out of exit 2. I’ve listed five of my favourite places that we visited. though I’m sure there are thousands more to discover so I’ll be heading back soon to see what else there is.

We kicked off our morning with a coffee at Social Club Seoul. This is one of the coolest concept coffee shops I have ever come across, in the middle of the room is a giant table strewn with the detritus from a fancy dinner party. Think chandeliers and tea sets, then there’s a counter to the side where you order and they make the coffees. That’s it, they have simply built this in an old ripped out store front and people are going nuts for it. This place is selfie city, I think at one point every single person in the joint was taking one, myself included. I think the real draw to the place are their amazing, decadent, and delicious coffees. They have two signatures which we decided to try, and being an ice vanilla latte girl, I had to get the Short Cream Vanilla (6,000), while my girl Laura tried the Mocha on the Rock (6,000). Mine had ice cubes made from sweetened vanilla cream which just made it the most rich and decadent drink ever, while Laura’s mocha had coffee ice cubes and chocolate at the bottom, the more they melted the stronger it got. They were both pretty epic and it was just what we needed before heading to the next stop. One note, when we passed by again later in the day there was a definite queue so go before 12pm to avoid the crowds.  Social Club Seoul is located at 414-27 Mangwon-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul . Click the link or see the bottom for my map.

After coffee we were in need of breakfast so we headed to Sally Cheong to try one of her delightful fruit and yogurt bowls. I’m a healthy kind of girl (some of the time) so this was exactly what I was longing for. The menu is all in Korean but it is pretty easy to figure out. The bowls of yogurt come with different kinds of fruit and muesli and are adorably cute and only 6,000 won each. The yogurt is made in house and the fruits change with the season but there should at least be a couple of options available. As well as the yogurt and fruit bowls they also have plenty of drinks available, like some home made ades and a ginger milk. We had just enjoyed a coffee so didn’t partake but they looked great. Sally Cheong is located at 21 Worldcup-ro 23-gil Mapo-gu, Seoul . Click the link or see the bottom for my map.

Our next stop was Viva Salon (비바쌀롱), one of my followers tagged me in an Instagram post for this place and I couldn’t resist coming to see it. I mean look at the adorably cute Cookie Monster Latte, I am still living for it, almost a week later. Also pictured is the Coconut Smoothie topped with a rubber ducky. The whole cafe is toy themed and the place is decked out with all kinds of cute and kitsch paraphernalia. It’s a must see. The Cookie Monster Latte was 5,900 and really tasty, as was the Coconut Smoothie (5,800) though we did add a large splash or vodka to it to kick it up a notch. Viva Salon is located at 84 Poeun-ro, Mangwon 1(il)-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. Click the link or see the bottom for my map.

After all those drinks we were ready for lunch and came across Happy Burger. The line was long but the smell coming from the kitchen was too much to resist, so we wrote our name down on the list and went to get ourselves another GS cocktail while we waited. In 20 minutes our table was free and we both got ourselves a big ass burger and a side of fries. The burgers here were pretty impressive. I got the Double Cheese Bacon Burger (8,500) which was topped with bacon, double cheese and caramelised onions. The bun came came slathered in their homemade garlic mayo which I adored. It was very moreish and the kind of burger you want to inhale. Laura opted the Arugula Burger (8,900) which was equally delish.  This was exactly what we needed after a few too many cocktails, and i will certainly be going again next time I visit. happy Burger is located at 414-83 Mangwon-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul. Click the link or see the bottom for my map.

Lastly, we took a stroll around Mangwon Market to burn off those burgers.  It’s a covered arcade style market with loads of different stalls selling street food , fresh meat, fruits, veggies and other bits and bobs. Living in Itaewon I don’t come across these traditional markets often so it was nice to see, and it’s amazing how cheap some of he prices were. At the end of the market are two famed croquette stalls which had crazy long lines. I was desperate to try one but didn’t have room after that massive burger but next time for sure. Mangwon Market is located at  411 Mangwon-dong Mapo-gu, Seoul. Click the link or see the bottom for my map.

JL Dessert Bar – Cherry Blossom Pop Up

Last weekend was I was invited to a very special event at JL Dessert bar, a place I have been meaning to try for ages. The event was in honour of the majesty that is Cherry Blossom season. In Korea, nothing says Spring like a walk along the river, and fighting your way through crowds of other eager beavers trying to get the perfect selfie with the elusive cherry blossoms before they wither away and die. Since I don’t do so well with crowds I figured this seasonal dessert pop up was much more my bag.

JL Dessert bar, is located near Gangnam District Office station and is unsurprisingly a bar that specializes in cocktails, wine and desserts. What a novel idea, for many people dessert is the best part of the meal so why not skip ahead straight to the good stuff? It’s also ideal for those on a first date who don’t want to risk sitting through an entire meal. Our event was a one day special promotion for cherry blossom season which cost 45,000 for 2 people. this included three desserts and wine pairings, plus a few special spring goodies.

Our first dish to try was the Cherry blossom special, which was a sweet mix of cherry blossom, strawberry, blueberry, lemon and white chocolate. First of all I adored the personal plating, I love anything with my name on it. The star attraction of the dish was the white chocolate orb, that when broken into revealed a sweet and creamy mousse which reminded me of candy floss. Paired with the fruit and broken shards of meringue it was a real melange of tastes and textures. It was rather impressive. The wine paired with this one was a Blueroth Riesling, a sweet and dessert wine which really enhanced the dessert.

Our second dish was the adorable Petit Gateaux, this was probably my favourite of the desserts. Again a soft exterior but with a biscuity crunch at the bottom and lovely layer of strawberry jam, this was so scrummy, I was a tad upset to be sharing it. This one was paired with a German Brut, I think we all know how much I enjoy a glass of bubbly so this was ideal for me, and it was nice to have something to take the edge off the sweetness of the dish.

Lastly we ate the stunningly beautiful Cherry Blossom macarons. These were pressed with a dried cherry blossom which was such a lovely touch.  Again I wish there had been more, I could have eaten them all afternoon long. These we paired with the Vampire, Merlot rose, which i think might have been my favourite of the three wines, although it might have been because I was a little bit tipsy by that point.

Overall we had a fabulous afternoon, I felt very grown up going for dessert and wine tasting. They are planning to host similar pop ups in the future which  shall certainly keep abreast of, but for the time being they also have an a la carte menu where most of the desserts cost 15,000, or a set menu of 4 courses for 40,000 which I’m sure you could share between two. All the desserts also come with recommended cocktail pairings too.

JL Dessert Bar is located at 14, Seolleung-ro 120-Gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gangnam-Guchon Station (line 7) and come out of exit 1. Walk straight and turn right the first chance you get. Walk straight for three blocks and then go left. You should see JL Dessert Bar just ahead of you on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-543-6140, or check out their facebook page. They are open from 12pm-11pm everyday.

Brooklyn Bagel Cafe

Last weekend I decided to embrace the spring weather and get my fat arse out for a workout. Much to his dismay I dragged TFB out with me too. After a bracing walk around the park and quick sop at the HBC Ogari fruit and veg lady we headed back down. For being so virtuous I thought we were both in need of reward so we stopped by Brooklyn Bagel cafe on the way home for a treat. The small store is located at the far end of the main drag of HBC almost opposite the CU. Up at the counter is a menu and a refrigerator full of different cream cheeses and 8 different flavours of bagels. The cute cafe has seating inside and out which is always a plus on a sunny day.

After much deliberation, I decided to go for one of the sandwich style bagels and settled on the Chicken Salad (4,000). The best thing about this sandwich is that they let you choose your bagel, and after looking at their selection I went for the everything bagel. The bagel was nice enough, and it came stuffed with a rather nice chicken mayo and a little bit of salad. For 4,000 it was definitely a bargain, you rarely find a sandwich that is under 5,000 these days and although it was small I think most people would be satisfied.

TFB true to form opted for the Salmon with cream cheese (6,000), probably because he knew I wouldn’t ask for a bite. He got his salmon on a jalapeno bagel which personally I thought an odd choice but each to their own. I didn’t actually try this, as you know my feelings about salmon well, especially stuff at the cheaper end of the scale. But he said it had a nice flavour, and there was plenty of salmon with a little bit of zing from the red onion. He agree that the bagel was decent for the price, though wouldn’t have noticed that it was jalapeño flavoured.

Overall I cant say its the best bagel I’ve ever had, or even the best one I have had in Seoul, so I wouldn’t go out of my way for it. However if you are in HBC and in need of a sandwich style snack on a budget or fancy picking up breakfast for you and your latest Tinder hook up then its worth swinging by especially if you are up early or on a walk of shame because it opens at 7am.

Brooklyn Bagel Cafe is located at 44 Sinheung-ro, 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 and Casablanca, you will see Brooklyn Bagel Cafe up ahead on the right hand side next to 8 Piece. For more information you can visit their facebook page. They are open every day from 7am-8pm.

Root

I like to consider myself a healthy eater, (seriously lol). I believe in the ying-yang approach, super healthy followed by super unhealthy to create balance in an otherwise unstable world. Now while I spend most of my time looking for Seoul’s more fattening fair, and reserve the healthy stuff for home I do enjoy a nutritious and delicious meal out and about once in a while. For the past few months I have read dozens of good reviews for Root in Hannam-dong, so after putting on some serious weight due to sheer laziness on my part, I figured it was about time I got back on the wagon and gave salads another try.

The cafe is located at the Hannam end of Itaewon, an area I often fail to visit, but hosts a whole load of cute and quirky places. The restaurant is located just off the main drag on the second floor.  The place is very white, light and airy, and makes you feel virtuous just walking into it. It also has a mix of indoor and outdoor seating which is a real rarity in this city. I’m sure come summer this place will be a packed to the rafters with sun worshippers try to get their beach bodies in shape.

The menu is located up at the counter where you will need to order your food, and has a mix of salads, sandwiches and Korean inspired dishes. After much humming and hawing I decided to order the Avocado Toast (8,500), since both of my dining companions had ordered salads. I really liked this dish a lot, I mean avocado and poached eggs is always a winner, and it came served on a lovely thick slice of toast. The bacon added a nice saltiness, and the cherry tomatoes a little acidic zing. My only complaint is that I wish the portion was double the size, but if you are a light eater this is ideal. Slap a mimosa on the side and you’ve got brunch, although as Root doesn’t serve alcohol you will have to bring your own!

As well as my Avocado toast I thought I would treat myself to a smoothie. They have two on the menu and I went for Orange, Banana, and Greek Yogurt (6,500). This was really disappointing, first the way it was served was just quite sad. They make an extra effort to put their water in biodegradable cups then serve their rather expensive smoothies in cheap plastic cups. The whole thing was utterly tasteless too, I was so uninspired I could barely bring myself to take a photo of it. Be sure to give it a miss.

One of my dining companions went for the Green Bowl (12,500). A mix of chicken, kale, romaine, avocado, cherry tomato, Parmesan cheese, Parmesan chips, and Caesar dressing. Honestly this was alright, but nothing to write home about, it was a nice enough salad, with a good ratio of ingredients but it didn’t really have me longing for more. The dressing was a bit wishy-washy too, I like my Ceasar dressing to really sing to my taste buds.

My other gal pal about town ordered the Red Bowl (13,000) which consists of chicken, brown rice, romaine, avocado, corn, black bean, salsa, sour cream, mozzarella and cilantro chipotle dressing. This was definitely my favorite of the two. A little bit more flavour from the dressing but again not a salad I would go out of my way for. She also ordered a bowl of soup on the side, which looked good, and she seemed to enjoy.

Overall I’m not really sure if Root lived up to its hype. I’m certainly happy to see more of this style of restaurant opening in our neighbourhood, though I don’t think the salads here were as good as the ones at nearby What A Salad.  I did however enjoy my dish, and I’d be happy to give a few of their sandwiches a try. I’d certainly be open to eating here again if i was making an extra effort to be healthy.

Root is located at 2F 741-19, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hangangjin Station (line 6) and come out of exit 1. Walk straight along this road, then take the second right. Walk straight along this road and you will see Root on the second floor in the right hand corner above Bistro Al Li. For more information you can call them on 02-797-9505. They are open everyday except Tuesday from 11:30-9pm with a break between 3:30 and 5pm on weekdays.

Beth’s Poutine

Recently I have been taking a new route to work, and that route leads me through the Bogwangdong neighbourhood. Like the ever popular Hannam, Haebangchon, and Gyeongridan, this cool little area is only a short walk from Itaewon. If you’ve yet to explore these cool little communities then it’s time to get on it as you are really missing out.This insatiable cold weather has got me seriously craving comfort food, and nothing is more comforting than chips. So after passing by several times, the blue beacon of Beth’s Poutine finally lured me in through its doors. (more…)

궈일교자

January is almost always a very bleak month. It’s cold and miserable, you’ve failed your new health kick after a week and a half, and everyone is broke after spending too much money at Christmas. Honestly there really isn’t a whole lot to look forward to unless you are going to Cambodia for a week like I am tomorrow (please don’t hate me!). Despite these rather depressing conditions, the restaurant scene around Itaewon is still popping, with a whole host of new restaurants  opening their doors in the past few weeks.

Now one such place that has opened up in Gyeongridan is 궈일교자 . This new restaurant popped up overnight in a spot that used to host a 7-11. It’s not surprising that the minuscule 7-11 bit the dust as there are much larger convenience stores in spitting distance. The front portion of the tiny store is made up of the kitchen which boasts big towers of steamers to help lure in the crowds looking for shelter from the biting cold. At the back of the store is some counter style seating for the best part of a dozen patrons.

The menu like the store itself is pretty simple. There are  half a dozen different types of mandu, along with a few large ones and two different typoes of noodles. Honestly it was the cheap prices that lured me in, as they agreed with my new frugal sensibilities. Being in desperate need of iron in my diet I went for the BBQ Dumplings (3,000 for 6). The dumplings were stuffed with galbi and galbi sauce, which I had never eaten in dumpling form before. The meat was sweet and tasty, and they paired nicely with the free pickled radish.

We also tried the meat dumplings (2,500 for 8). These were pretty much your bog standard gogi mandu that you could buy frozen and make yourself at home. They were possibly a touch fancier than that and did taste pretty great when dipped into the accompanying vinegar. If you don’t fancy cooking these are a nice cheap and cheerful option.

As it was so cold and I was in the mood for soup so we also got the Udon (4,000). This was alright, honestly the broth was fairly unmemorable but the noodles were filling. At least the price is right. There were some other dumplings on the menu that I’d be more likely to try over these if I came again.

Honestly I cant say that this place was that amazing and if you are looking for standout dumplings you’d be better going to Stacked. The bbq galbi dumplings were tasty enough though, and I would probably pick myself up a to go order from time to time as it’s right by my house. Its real draw is its prices, mandu plus some soup for about 6,000, you can’t say fairer than that, though of course you can find similar places in neighbourhoods all over Korea, just rarely in ours, and for that alone it is worth a mention.

궈일교자 is located at 225-68 Itaewon2-dong, yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass, then go through and exit using the stairs on the left hand side. Follow the road around passing the church and Well Being mart. You will see 궈일교자 just up ahead on the right hand side after Cheese-a-lot. They don’t currently have a phone number so I can’t give any more information.

Cafe L’Assemblage

I love a good natter over a cake and a coffee. It’s one of life’s greatest joys. Luckily for us gossip girls, Seoul is filled to the brim with lovely coffee shops, and you are never more than a stones throw away from the nearest one. Before Christmas I was lucky enough to be invited to Cafe L’Assemblage for a meeting. I had walked past this Garosugil cafe dozens of times in the past and looked longingly at the beautiful pastries in the window, but always feared it was far too fancy for the likes of me so never ventured inside. If I had ever had the balls to walk in, I would have noted that the inside is just as fancy as the outside. The whole cafe exudes an opulence that is ten a penny in Europe but not so much in the ultra modern and sleek cafes in Korea.The cafe has been part of the local landscape since the 90s, but has changed hands several times over the last few years. It now belongs to the original owner’s daughter, which I thought to be an utterly enchanting story.

Since I was meeting with the owner on a separate project we decided to make the most of her generosity and try as many of their cakes as we could fit in our bellies. One of which was their signature Golden Cheese Tarts. My god are these babies addictively good. You may remember that towards the end of last year I had a give away of the golden cheese tarts, and this was where I was first lucky enough to try them. They are a touch pricier at (3,000) each rather than 2,800 for the take out stores, but I think you’ll agree it is certainly worth the 200 won extra to sit and enjoy your tart in such a beautiful cafe. If you have yet to try one yet, the cheese tart is made up of a very crumbly and biscuity pastry which melts in the mouth and has a very similar texture to a graham cracker crust you usually find on a cheesecake. The filling is rich and creamy thanks to the French soft cheese and has just a slightly sour note at the end. If you are a baked cheesecake fan then you need to try this delightful mini tart version asap because they are absolutely scrumptious.

As well as the exceptionally yummy golden cheese tarts, we also tried The Earl Gray Crepe Cake (7,000). I do love a good crepe cake, even more so when I haven’t had to spend hours over a hot stove making one myself. This English tea version was absolutely lighter than air with a delicious flavour of Earl Gray swirled in at the end. I always thought that crepe cakes would be too filling with their many layers but I’m always amazed by how many pieces I can eat. You can’t really tell from the picture, but this crepe cake was topped with a sweet and flavourful layer of earl grey frosting which really intensified the cakes overall flavour.

Lastly we tried the Orange and and White Chocolate Tart (8,500). Orange and chocolate is always a classic combination, just think about a Jaffa Cake or a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. But white chocolate and orange are a match made in heaven that often gets overlooked in favour of milk or dark. The tart itself was exquisite, in the way that only French pastries can be. The pastry was crisp and biscuity. While the orange topping was juicy and sweet with just a hint of citrus sour. It paired well with the rich and creamy filling underneath. I loved this tart so much and could eat a slice every day for the rest of my life, it was sinfully good.

Overall I found Cafe L’Assemblage to be the most delightful of spaces. It is the perfect spot to to fritter away an afternoon gossiping with your friends. The cakes and pastries were exceedingly good, and very well priced for the area. Unlike many dessert cafes in the city, they tasted as good as they looked, and I wouldn’t hesitate to pop in for another dessert next time I am in Sinsa.

Cafe L’Assemblage is located at 118 Apgujeong-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong Station (line 3) and come out of exit 5. Walk straight along this road. its located on the corner just after you pass Garosugil. For more information you can call them on 02-3477-2046.

Jungsik Bar

Happy New Year one and all. I’ve started this year at rather a slow pace, quite frankly I have barely had the energy to get out of bed let alone write my blog, but we all deserve a break now and again and this post should make up for it.  Jungsik has been on my list of places to try for a number of years now, its modern Korean cuisine has been particularly well regarded and it recently even received a coveted Michelin star when the new Korean guide came out. While the list has been questioned by many, Jungsik seems to be hailed as one of the most deserving. However thanks to the extra boost of popularity the star has given it, the place is now rather hard to get a table at.

So when TFB offered to take me out on a little date night to celebrate our 8 year anniversary, Jungsik was one of my first suggestions, however at short notice the place was understandably fully booked on a Friday night. Luckily we were informed that the bar offers some of the same food, so after looking it up online we decided to give it a try. For those who can ill afford a pricey four course dinner, or just can’t seem to get a reservation, the bar on the first floor is a port in a storm. The bar menu is split into two parts, the bar menu, and the ‘classic menu’ which is made of up of  special vintage dishes that have been the restaurant’s signatures over the years. The dishes come in three sizes, bite size, small, and regular. I especially liked the idea of the bar offering the most popular dishes from the past few years, it’s the perfect way to keep the restaurant menu fresh and innovative while still giving regular patrons a chance to eat their favourites.

It being a bar and all we decided to get a drink. The emphasis here is on wine, they have a very large menu and a selection of wine machines which allow you to try as much or as little of the wine as you would like. At the very knowledgeable sommelier’s recommendation we decided to try a flight of Natural Wines (50,000). Natural wines are made without chemicals and as little technological processing as possible and Jung Sik has over 60 varieties. On the flight, there were two whites and two reds. Of the four wines included, my favourite was the Detorri Bianco, while TFB favoured the Il Frappato. The flight allowed wive novices such as ourselves to try more of a variety than if we had just had a glass each.

After browsing the bar menu we opted for the octopus dish Pulpo a la Gallega (20,000 Small). This was the medium sized plate which was perfect for us to share,  but they also have a larger or bite size portion available which you can pair with the wine sips if you are super into the wine pairing thing. I’m not sure if I’ve ever eaten proper octopus before and was shocked at how large the tentacles were. I’m sure I have only eaten the baby version so was pleasantly surprised at how it had such a meaty texture. With the paprika spiced potatoes this dish seemed to be very Spanish, probably due to the flavours and the tapas style serving size. For someone like myself, who is not really a huge seafood lover, this dish really impressed me, and I soon found myself fighting over the last bite.

As well as the octopus we got the 2009 Crispy Pork (30,000 Small). Belly pork when done right is one of my absolute favourite meals in the world and this one was exquisite. The meat was so juicy and tender, while the top side remained nice and crisp. On top were pickled chillies which added a nice heat without being in the slightest bit overbearing. The dish went to a whole new level of deliciousness when I tried the pork with the mash and the wilted Korean garlic leaf(명이나물). I’ve never had that particular leaf before but it went so perfectly with the pork in a truly subtle and heavenly way. I just wish their had been so much more of it.

Having had a really small taste of this place has only left me wanting more. There are so many more dishes i would have loved to have tried so I am definitely going to be going back. Their lunch menu is incredibly reasonable and almost half the price of the dinner menu despite the fact the food is the same so I think I’ll start there and save dinner for those who have deeper pockets than me. The restaurant only takes reservations up to a month in advance, so if you find due to the new starring the place is booked, you will not have to wait so long until you can give it a try, or you can always get a table at the bar like we did.

Jung Sik Bar is located at 11 Seollungro 158-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong Rodeo (yellow line) and come out of exit 4. Walk straight for one block and then turn left. The restaurant is on your left hand side, and the bar part is the first floor. For more info/reservations you can call them on +82 2 517 4654, or visit their website.