Category: Restaurant Reviews

Jung Sik

Every since I was 10 years old and I visited Marco Pierre White’s Criterion, I have had a penchant for fine dining. While it is a hobby I can not afford to practice as much as I would like, it is a passion none the less. Seoul is certainly a youngster in this arena, however big steps have been made in the last few years, with Seoul even getting its own Michelin guide at the end of 2016.  One of those stars was awarded to Jungsik, which has always been highly regarded as one of Seoul’s best restaurants. I actually got my first taste of Chef Jungsik Yim’s food when I visited their bar, which is located downstairs. But Valentines Day provided  me my boyfriend, with the perfect excuse to splash out and finally get to try a whole meal.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, though we opted for the former. There are three different set menus available at at lunch, a four course for 60,000 per person, a five course for 80,000 per person or an eight course tasting menu for 150,000 . As it was lunch we decided to just stick with the four course. The meal comes with an appetiser, a rice course, a fish or meat course, and a dessert. However as it was a super fancy meal an amuse bouche was also included. And as amuse bouches go, this one was pretty impressive. There were five different elements within the dish. A corn dog, or at least their fancy take on it, fried potato on a stick, a salmon ice cream cone, a rice and seaweed wrap and a radish and fish pancake. A great way to kick off the meal. It being a special occasion and all, we also ordered a bottle of champagne, well, Cava (60,000), but it all looks the same in the glass. The wine list was actually pretty large and the prices were fairly reasonable. Considering what some bars in Itaewon charge, their prices were not bad at all.

No sooner than the champagne selfies had been taken, our first courses arrived. My starter was pretty much my idea of food heaven. The simply titled “Mushroom” left a lot to the imagination, but all was revealed when it was presented to me. Nestled under a forest of delicious buttery mushrooms was a crispy egg. Once I broke through its crunchy exterior a golden yolk oozed out and provided the perfect sauce for the mushrooms. It was exquisite.

My beloved instead chose the crispy octopus with gochujang aioli (10,000 won surcharge). This dish was similar to one of the dishes we enjoyed at the bar on our previous visit. As you can see, it was a visually stunning dish. This is the kind of plating I yearn to learn.The aioli had a hint of spice to it without being overpowering, while the meaty piece of tentacle had a crispy outside. Personally I liked mine the best, but he suffers from an intense dislike of mushrooms, and so preferred his.

After the appetisers we were given the rice course. I opted for the kimbap, while TFB tried the Aromatic rice with barley and perilla oil. Both dishes were beautifully presented but the kimbap really stole the show in terms of flavour thanks to the kimchi tartar sauce, and the crunchiness of the seaweed. I thought this to be the most traditional of the dishes we tried, and really incorporated a lot of the most popular Korean flavours.

For our main we both selected the lamb with ginger vinaigrette as it’s one of our favourite meats, but this was probably the least favourite dish of the meal for me. The lamb had been cooked very slowly but there really wasn’t much flavour and the texture was a bit amiss. TFB in particular likes his lamb “lamby” and was a little disappointed. The dish was not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it just lacked a bit of oomph.

Luckily we ended on a high note with a collection of desserts. The Cheongdam Pie, aka apple pie, was pretty special. Caramel sauce, apple puree, and ice cream were layered upon two crispy biscuits. It was a total “Mmm” moment. We also tried the Dolhareubang, a green tea mousse concoction that is their signature dessert. Let’s face it is kind of a work of art. The sesame coated man, in the shape of one of Jeju’s famous Hareubang, was filled with green tea and chocolate ganache. He was rather delicious indeed.

Overall I’d say that Jung Sik just about met my expectations, and we had a very enjoyable lunch. It’s the ideal date restaurant for when you want somewhere special. It’s really exciting to see Korean ingredients used in this way, so I’m glad I finally got to try it. By the time we polished off our coffee and petit fours, we were pleasantly full. The bill came in at just under 200,000 which I thought was good considering we had a bottle of bubbly too. The menu is the same for both the lunch and the dinner service, except the lunch is about half the price, so take that into consideration if you are on a budget. You could also try eating at the bar downstairs if you are unable to get a reservation, as they offer a lot of the restaurants most popular dishes, and a very large selection of wines by the glass.

Jung Sik 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 restaurant is the second floor. For more info/reservations you can call them on +82 2 517 4654, or visit their website. Reservations are taken up to one month in advance and are recommended.

Bagel MTL

There aren’t many things I’ll get my lazy ass out of bed for on a Sunday, but brunch is certainly one of them. And last weekend I managed to drag myself and my friends all the way across town to the new and trendy Hongdae suburb Yeonnam-dong. Its not my first trip to that side of town, I’ve already written about French Bistro L’Empreinte, but it has been a while since my last visit.  This area is pretty popular right now and many of the places we passed on the way there had big queues in front of them so we had our fingers crossed that we would get a seat at Bagel MTL.

Luckily when we arrived we found there was plenty of space inside Bagel MTL, though it was packed by the time we left at 2pm so try and get there a little earlier if you want to guarantee a seat. The cafe cum restaurant  is super cute, with a couple of small tables, a huge communal one and a comfy seating area. it’s just the kind of place you want to spend a lazy weekend in.

The menu boasts about a dozen different kinds of topped bagels, there seems to be plenty of different types so there should be something for everyone. Orders are placed up at the counter to make things easier, so don’t sit down and expect them to come to you. If you are buying a bagel you can add a refillable filter coffee for an extra 1,000 won, how amazing is that? It’s just cheap, run of the mill, filter coffee, but at that price who cares?

Seeing as it was brunch, I ordered the B.E.A (8,000) which is bacon, a egg and arugula. The bagel arrived beautifully presented and I couldn’t wait to get tucked into it. Now I’m no bagel expert, I’ve eaten a my fair share, but this is my first time trying the Montreal style. Apparently the hole is bigger they are sweeter and denser. These babies are made in house which I think says a lot for the place. I especially enjoyed the bacon, I’m not sure what they did to it, but it had been smoked or coated in something delicious. The peppery arugula was a nice addition and the soft boiled eggs made it into a proper brunch. The bagel was slightly hard to eat because of all the topping but that’s a small quibble. I also enjoyed that the bagels came with a small side salad, nothing fancy but some feta, tomatoes and crunchy celery, it was appreciated.

As well as the B.E.A we got the Chicken & Salsa (9,000). This was a more lunch type bagel but the salsa was tasty and homemade, The chicken was moist and tender, again it was hard to eat without a knife and fork but it was fresh and flavourful. Since we were a menage a trois of brunchers we opted for a Lox with Cream Cheese (10,000) too. I imagine this is a very popular choice, it came topped with red onion and capers and plenty of cream cheese. I had a small nibble but as you know I’m not really into salmon, however everyone else enjoyed it.

As well as the bagels, we also ordered a portion of their Beef & Barley soup (3,000). This is exactly what you want to eat in this weather and the soup was delicious. A good broth filled with proper chunks of vegetables, beef, and barley. I imagine it would be very good with a bagel dipped into it.

Overall I was very impressed with Bagel MTL and shall certainly be returning. The atmosphere was warm and inviting and the food delicious and more importantly homemade. The price was right too, brunch and coffee for under 10,000 is a rare find these days. They also do a take out orders for those who prefer breakfast in bed. Be sure to give this place a try before it gets super trendy and has a never ending queue.

Bagel MTL is located at 223-21 Yeonnam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hongdae (line 2), and come out of exit 3. Walk straight along the paved park type area, then take the the fourth main road to the right. Walk straight along this road, you will see Bagel MTL just up ahead on the left hand side.   For more information you can call 02-322-9288 them on or check out their facebook page. They are open from from 10am-9pm and closed on Tuesdays.

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…)

Romantic Restaurants

Love is in the air, everywhere I look around. Actually cold is in the air and I’m freezing to death, but love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is on the way. And if you are in a relationship you are pretty much obligated to take your significant other out for a romantic dinner. I know some of you will be rolling your eyes so far back in your head that you’ll be needing medical assistance to get them back in front again but it’s not just V Day, this post applies for anytime you may want to have a nice night out with your someone special. the list is split into budgets so there should be something for everyone. The prices are a just a rough estimate and priced per couple not per person, based on a main course each and a shared starter and dessert. I haven’t included booze in the costings because booze is pricey here in Korea, and most of us are raging alcoholics which seriously inflates the price of dinner. So if you are on a budget I suggest you get wasted at home first, Personally I’m a big fan of Costco’s 8,000 sparking wine especially when served in a 3,000 won Daiso champagne glass. Who knew being so classy could cost so little? (more…)

NY Burger & Bagel

As you may know my search for a good burger in this city has been relentless, and I tried dozens of places before finally finding my favourite  at Itaewon the Burger. If you ever think that my blog is always on the positive side and never offers bad reviews, that is because it is carefully curated and I only share my favourites or those I find to have value in their uniqueness or locations . After expressing my disappointment with so many of the burger joints that I tried and didn’t blog about on my Instagram account I was reached out to by many other burger aficionados who felt the same way I did. One of these was NY Burger and Bagel in Gangnam, which the owner Mark declared to be the best burger in Seoul, I snorted with derision as I had heard that plenty of times before, but when he kindly invited me and a few friends to give them a try with no obligation to write a review, I figured why not. The restaurant is located right by Gangnam station, which is really a bit of a black hole when it comes to good eating, as the exorbitant rents have pretty much left us with a load of old crap, so for that alone I figured it would make an interesting post if the claims were true.

The restaurant is located a couple of streets back from the main drag, just far enough to get away from the hustle and bustle of Gangnam life. The restaurant is adorably cute with a white facade, faux grass and some tables outside. Once the spring comes around this will be a prime piece of real estate to brunch in, but since it was -6 we favoured a table indoors. The Inside is fairly small with a large semi open kitchen taking up a good third of the space but was still ample enough for me and my crew and a large table of office workers.

As we were guests of the proprietor he kindly asked if he could select his favourite items for us to try. Being a pretty agreeable bunch we were cool and the gang with that and we kindly accepted a delicious glass of mulled wine while we waited. Unfortunately the mulled wine is a season item but I was assured that it is going to be replaced by a cocktail that is equally delicious.  The first burger to arrive was the Once in a Bleu Moon (11,500). I’m a blue cheese queen so couldn’t resist the lure of a burger topped with blue cheese and crispy bacon. The beef burger was cooked to medium, and was well seasoned, while the bun was soft and and buttery. The burgers here don’t come served with anything, which is kind of a pet peeve of mine (fries are mandatory in a burger experience, not optional) so we ordered a portion of parmesan garlic fries (8,000). This was a large portion that we shared between four of us. It also came with a fresh herb ranchy type dip called the green goddess which we were all fighting over until it it was gone. Like most burger places in Korea they also do 1/2 sets of fries with a drink for 5,500.

 

The second burger we tried was the The Wasaaabi??? (11,500). A beef burger topped with pepperjack cheese, grilled onion, shiitake mushroom, and wasabi mayo. As much as I love wasabi I was first a little skeptical about this meaty treat but it ended up being the unanimous favourite of the day. Beef and wasabi is surprisingly a match made in heaven, and after consideration, it being so close to mustard, I can see why. The wasabi was mixed with mayo so it wasn’t at all overbearing and you could still taste the flavour of the beef, and the shiitake mushrooms cheese and grilled onions. It was a total Mmm experience. My only regret was that I was sharing it with three other people.

 

The last burger we tried was the Bubba Gump (22,000). The Forrest Gump namesake is topped with blackened cajun shrimp, american cheese, salad and cajun mayo. It’s pretty steep at 22,000 but hey it’s Gangnam and there are plenty of more reasonably priced options on the menu. I really liked this one, as I was loving the cajun mayo. Honestly I don’t know if I really needed the shrimp, I was more than happy to eat them but I think the same burger without them would have been just as tasty and a hell of a lot cheaper. We finished up with a drinkable dessert in the form of their Peanut Butter Milkshake(5,500). This was indescribably rich and ice- creamy and every sip was totally nutillicious. This was the thick shake that I have been longing for, for quite some time and we all agreed it was the perfect way to end the meal.

Overall I really enjoyed the burgers at NY Burger and Bagel, the Wasabi burgers gave me the Mmm factor I was looking for and I’m thrilled to have a good place to eat near Gangnam station. The menu is quite large so if burgers aren’t your bag there is also a breakfast menu and some other popular NY style lunch items that the owner missed from living in New York. When the weather turns warmer than this will be an ideal spot for a weekend brunch and I’ll certainly be giving them another try once spring rolls around.

NY Bagel & Burger is located at 827-37 Yeoksamdong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gangnam station and come out of exit 4. Turn back on yourself and walk straight, then take the next right. Walk along this street for four blocks then take the right after that. You will see NY Burger and Bagel a little way ahead. For more information you can call them on 02-553-7792 or check out their facebook page. They are open everyday from 10am-10pm.

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.

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.

Gino’s Pizzeria

Almost a year ago to the day, Gino’s New York Style Pizza opened its doors here in Itaewon and a mere 365 days later later they are opening up a second location right across the street. The new location is set to be a slice shop and to help with their vast and numerous take out orders. The original location became wildly popular after featuring in a a bunch of TV spots which kept a steady queue of customers at its doors but made locals feel unwanted.  The new shop has seating / standing room for half a dozen or so customers but come springtime there will be outdoor seats available. The joint is the kind of eat and go place, if you want to have a leisurely lunch then head back to the original across the street.

After perusing the menu and the display case we ordered a Plain Cheese (4,000). Very simple, but hits the spot perfectly. A bit pricier than some of the other plain cheeses slices around but its certainly tastier, and almost as good as the full size pizza. I can imagine being very happy munching on one of these babies when I’ve had a few too many drinks on a Friday night. We also got the new Grandma Slice (6,000), a Sicilian style slice with a thicker more robust crust, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. This one was also delicious and a nice variation from the ultra thin slices.  Owner Euguene told me they still have a couple of kinks to work out to make sure customers are getting fresh slices and they aren’t throwing too many away but on the whole I think its perfect for anyone looking for a quick snack at this end of town.

Also new to the menu are a selection of  calzones. I couldn’t resist getting the Chicken Alfredo Calzone (12,000) as its one favourite pizza toppings across the street. The golden dough was stuffed with mozzarella, breaded chicken, spinach, mushrooms, red onion, alfredo sauce and ricotta. It was heavenly especially as it came with extra sauce on the side. A tad on the expensive side for lunch but nice for a treat.They also have a couple parmesan sandwiches on the menu which looked good but I didn’t have the room for.

Along with the slices, sandwiches, and calzones the store will also be serving Lala Milkmade’s delicious ice cream. I’ve been a huge fan of Jen and her frozen treats since when had a shop called Ellay’s in Seochon. She has since opened another store in Gyeongbukgong trading under the name LA LA Milkmaid. The ice cream we tried was the Jameson’s Bacon, and the Guinness & Chocolate (4,500). Both ice creams were deliciously rich and creamy, but I’d have to give the edge to the Jamesons & bacon just because it had the sweet and salty pairing I love so much. I believe there are also another couple of flavours on the menu too, well worth a try even if it is freezing outside.

 

Gino’s Pizzeria is having its grand opening today (December 31st) and to celebrate will be selling 1,000won plain cheese slices, 2,000won pepperoni slices, 1,000won cups of blue point toasted lager, 1,000won jarritos, and 1000won ice creams from Lala milkmaid (one slice per customer). The doors open at 12pm on December 31st, get there early or very late as I’m sure there will be one hell of a queue. What better way to ring in the new year than with a cheap, tasty slice of pizza.

Gino’s Pizzeria is located at 455-47 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and exit using the lift next to thew shop. Walk over the bridge and then take a right, follow the road around and you will see Gino’s Pizzeria just ahead on the corner above Nori Table. For more information you can call them on  02-790-2235 or check out their facebook page. Ginos will be open from 12:00pm – 10:00pm Tue-Sun. 

Boccalino – Brunch

Christmas is a time for giving and sharing, but its also a time to spoil yourself rotten. After slaving away in the kitchen and preparing a huge traditional feast on Christmas Eve I was ready for a break on Christmas Day. So what better way to relax than with a free flow prosecco brunch at Boccalino in the Four Seasons Hotel. Eating at Italian restaurant Boccalino earlier in the year was one of the best meals I’ve eaten in 2016, so I knew they’d come up with the goods for a special Christmas celebration.

Boccalino is on the second floor of the stunningly beautiful Four Seasons Hotel in Gwanghwamun. As soon as we walked through the doors it was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. The hotel was filled with elegant decorations and huge Christmas trees decorated with cute Cartier ornaments. The whole places exudes luxury in a very modern way, and each of the four restaurants inside are stunningly beautiful.

The brunch at Boccalino costs 125,000 if you are going free flow (and why the hell wouldn’t you!), or 90,000 with a single glass. You then are then given a menu which allows you to choose between a starter, main course and dessert. I believe the menu changes regularly but our choices were mushroom risotto or prawn linguine, hanwoo sirloin or half lobster, and apricot tart or raspberry vanilla mouse. You also have access to a very large and well stocked antipasto bar.

It being Christmas and all, the first thing we did after sitting down was chug a glass of prosecco each. The prosecco we were served was fantastic, crisp and clean and very easy to drink, possibly too easy. This was clearly not a cheap bottle, it was one of the nicest I’ve had in some time I only wish I’d taken a picture of the bottle so I could buy some for home. After a glass or 3 of bubbly we headed over to the anti pasto bar. This had a lot more than I had anticipated. There was a selection of seafood, (crab legs, oysters, mussels and scallops), a much smaller choice than what they offer downstairs at Market Kitchen but more than ample in my eyes. There was also a nice array of salads, including steak salad, caprese, tuna, couscous, and pasta. On the other side were cured meats, a big selection of cheese, dips, freshly baked bread and the softest focaccia I’ve had in a long time. The item that I could not get enough of was the truffle mushroom dip. It was my idea of food heaven and I honestly could not stop eating it. I think I almost considered filling my handbag with it so i could take it home it was so addictive. But luckily for the restaurant and my new handbag I refrained. We made more than a few trips to stock up on our favourite items throughout the meal and I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with the selection.

No sooner had we finished our antipasto and bubbly, when out came the pasta course. I went for the mushroom risotto, while TFB did the Shrimp linguine. Having only 2 choices made it perfect to decide as we each just got one of each course. Mushroom risotto is one of my favourite dishes, but honestly I found this one a touch bland which was slightly disappointing, the freshly made seafood linguine was much better. We were also given a bowl of pumpkin soup that I felt was too sweet and probably there to please to the Korean patrons.

For our main we had a steak and a lobster. The Boston half lobster which was served with herb butter and bread crumbs was plenty after the other courses. The lobster inside was very plump and tasty. The Hanwoo sirloin came a top pureed potato and was served with wild rocket, shaved parmesan, and a balsamic reduction. The steak was also tender and delicious. Not as good as the one we previously enjoyed here in the evening, but very nice and much better than the first course.

For dessert we enjoyed a raspberry and vanilla mousse with a forest berry sorbet and pistachio macaron, and an apricot and chocolate tart. It was hard to choose which of these was best, they were both delightful in their own way so just get both, you wont regret it.  We also finished with a round of coffee which I always think is necessary after a big meal. I enjoyed a lovely cappuccino and a peppermint tea to help me digest the epic meal I’d just consumed.

Overall I really enjoyed my brunch at Boccalino. The selection is probably a quarter of the size of what your’d get downstairs at Market Kitchen, but there are plenty of high end items on the anti pasto bar that will make up for that and the free flow option really swung it for me. The prosecco was delicious and I’m sure I had a good two bottles just to myself. As it was Christmas it was lovely for a treat and I’d certainly go again if I was celebrating something special. If you have made no plans for New Year’s Day it would be the perfect place to celebrate 2017.

Boccalino is located on the second floor of The Four Seasons Hotel, 97 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gwanghwamun Station (line 5) and come out of exit 7.  Walk straight and cross over the street, you should see the hotel in front of you. For more information you can call them on 02-6388-5000, or check out their website

Nori Table

Earlier this week I went off to try the latest restaurant to hit the Itaewon scene, Nori Table. The new sushi joint  is a passion project of the creative team behind KoMex place, Coreanos. The lack of LA style sushi in the city left them wanting and in the end they decided to set up the place themselves. The restaurant which is up on the Noksapyeong hill is very chic and filled with sleek black tables and wood clad walls and

We started off the evening with a Sake Bomb (8,000), which they are currently giving away FREE to anyone who mentions this article for the rest of the year! I’m not particularly fond of sake but the joy of doing the bomb was too much to resist. And I was very proud that I managed to do my bomb in one go. If you want to see the video chugging my bomb check out my instagram account. We also enjoyed a bowl of complimentary miso soup. The soup was nice enough but I was more excited about moving on to the main event! .

After perusing the menu we decided to get two sets of maki hand rolls, Tempura Shrimp (12,000 for 3), and the Soft Shell Crab (14,000 for 3). Both rolls were quite similar considering they were stuffed with battered and deep fried seafood, avocado, and vegetables. There were both filled with plenty of tempura covered shellfish and veg and not too much rice which was plus. They also came with a blob of wasabi, some pickled ginger, and a very nice soy sauce for dipping. I enjoyed the maki rolls a lot as they reminded me a lot of the hand rolls I used to eat for my lunch every day when I lived in Sydney. Three would be very easy to eat by yourself though, so consider these to be an appetiser.

Also on the menu are a selection of Nori creations. There are larger rolls stuffed with all kinds of different fish and covered in sauces and sliced into pieces. We ordered two of the rolls, the Fengshui Roll (14,000) which is filled with chicken karage, shrimp tempura and cucumber and is topped with salmon and apple mayo. As you may know I’m not overly keen on fish, so this battered chicken and shrimp stuffed version was right up my ally. It came with salmon on the top but it was very fresh and palatable so I had no problem eating that too.

We also ordered the Swaggy G (13,000) a spicy tuna roll with shrimp tempura covered in eel sauce and topped with deep fried seaweed. I honesty didn’t think I’d like this as I’m not fond of tuna but I tried a piece anyway, the fishy roll was actually rather tasty and I was surprised liked it. the sauce was slightly spicy and despite my doubts the eel was not at all fishy tasting and the deep fried seaweed on the top added a nice crunch. I’d be interested to try some more of the fishier options next time, as clearly it’s cooked fish that I’m not so keen on, rather than raw.

Lastly we were given a plate of the Baked Mussels (12,000)on the house. I wouldn’t have picked these, but hey free food is free food at the end of the day. These were like a seafood version of a buffalo wing, sweet and spicy sauce with nice meaty nuggets of scallop nestled inside the shell once you dug into the creamy sauce. I’ve never eaten anything like this before so it was nice to try something new.

Lastly we were given the Fried Ice-cream (8,000) on the house to try too. Vanilla ice cream covered in pound-cake and fried in tempura batter. This was a great way to end and get the spicy taste out of our mouths after eating the mussels. I loved this, the ice cream was really good and I think you know my feelings by now about anything deep fried. A decedent dessert that is bound to help you gain some of those extra pounds you need to keep warm this winter.

Overall I rather liked Nori Table. It was a lot of fun to share all the different dishes and to drink the bombs and I think it will soon become very popular with the young and trendy crowd. The menu is huge which is a big plus so I’m sure there is something for everyone, including fish fascists like myself.  It reminded me a lot of the food I ate in Australia. so for anyone hankering after a taste of western sushi then it’s certainly worth checking out.

Nori Table is located at 455-47 Itaewon-dong, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station and exit using the elevator or exit 1. Come out of the elevator and walk over the bridge. Take a right at the end and follow the road round. You will see Nori Table just up on the right opposite 3 section. For more information you can call them on 02-792-4427 or check out their facebook page. they are open for lunch and dinner everyday except Tuesday and take a break between 3:30-5:30pm.