Hours

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I have let it be known on numerous occasions that Chinese is my absolute favourite food in the whole wide world, or rather western style Chinese. Don’t get me wrong, I love the food in China, the Chinese in Korea, not so much. My obvious favourite is how we do it in England, but sadly I can’t see that catching on any time soon so for now I’ll stick with American style which is pretty damn close.

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Hours is a brand new restaurant that has opened up in my old stomping ground HBC. When I visited at the weekend it was still only in its soft opening phase but I honestly just couldn’t wait to give it a try. The restaurant is pretty small with seating for about 12, but the menu is of a pretty decent size with a good mix of appetizers and entrees. They also have a nice array of alcoholic beverages available too.

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The first thing we had to order was TFB’s favourite, Kung Pao Chicken (16,000). I was hoping for some crispy chunks of chicken in a light batter but unfortunately the chicken was just fried with the skin on.  It wasn’t bad, I just prefer it when it is battered. The chicken, veggies, and sauce were still pretty good anyway, it had a nice balance and was not too spicy. However I make a pretty damn amazing version of this myself at home so I’m not 100% sure if I would get it again.

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The next dish we ordered was the Beef with Broccoli (18,000). I really enjoyed this a lot. There were plenty of generous strips of tender beef in an overly Chinesy tasting sauce. It just had that flavour that you can’t replicate at home, I’m assuming it’s MSG, but who cares when it tastes this good!

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My dining buddy wanted to try the Crab Rangoon (8,000). I don’t think we have these in the UK,  but I’m always down for anything deep fried. The middle was filled with a cream cheese crabby dip like stuffing. They were fine if you just ate them and didn’t think about the flavour too much, but I can’t say I was bowled over.

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After seeing how good it looked at the next table over, we had to try the General Tso’s Chicken (15,000). The sauce was really good, like plate licking good. We don’t have this dish in the UK so I can’t say how authentic it is, but it was like a slightly spicy sweet and sour. The chicken did look crispier from afar and I was hoping it would be in a kind of batter like the Kung Pao is at home, but again sadly not. However I spoke with the owner after we settled up  and she told me they plan to roll out the full menu this week or next, which includes all of the battered dishes I’ve been longing for like sweet and sour pork, and orange chicken. Hopefully I shall be satisfied upon my next visit.

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Lastly we got a Chicken Fried Rice (8,000). It showed up at the end of the meal when everyone else was pretty full, but I managed to power through and finish it. Not as amazing as a special fried rice from my local Chinese at home, but it will do. We got a look at the noodles as our neighbours ordered it, and I thought the rice looked like the better bet of the two.

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Although I didn’t love the food as much as I had hoped I’m still thrilled to have a place like this in the neighbourhood. As I mentioned they were still in their soft opening phase during my visit, so I’m looking forward to going back once the full menu is up and running. The prices are a touch on the high side for me to really order everything that I want to try, but in the UK Chinese is food is often operating as a take out service and not a restaurant which lowers their running costs considerably. The dishes are fairly priced if you compare them to similar Thai places in Seoul though. While they do have take out boxes, I think if you are looking for the cheap and cheerful option to gorge upon at home then it’s best to stick with Panda Express.

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Hours is located at 41 Sinheung-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 the left hand turn by the kimchi pots. Walk straight past Bonny’s, Phillies, and Casablanca. Hours is just a little further up on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 010-27680658.

Seoul Shake Off

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Last night I popped down the hill and went to the Seoul Shake Off held at Club House in Gyeongridan. Hosted by one of my favourite restaurants The Beastro, Snapple, and Alcohol company Pernod Ricard. The two day event features 6 of Seoul’s best cocktail bars competing against each other. Tickets are 50,000 on the door and will get you 1 Beastro welcome cocktail and the 3 signature cocktails of the participating bars. (more…)

The Four Seasons – The Market Kitchen

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Last week my best friend from England came to pay me a visit. It’s been a couple of years since her last jaunt to the land of the morning calm so I wanted to make her trip extra special. A few weeks before I was very kindly invited to come and give the Four Seasons restaurants a try so I decided to save the champagne brunch at The Market Kitchen just for her. (more…)

Street Food – Myeongdong

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Myeong-dong has always been the shopping quarter to me, a chance for me to squeeze myself into some familiar branded clothing. Years ago, when I lived down south and was more on the portly side, coming to Seoul was my only chance to find clothes to fit me. As soon as I arrived I would head straight to Forever 21 and H&M where I could usually just about find something in my size, and if it didn’t fit I’d stuff myself into it anyway. With the array of brightly lit stores to distract me, I never really paid much attention to the food, but these days there are so many options it is hard to ignore. (more…)

Fountain

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Itaewon has no shortage of bars, however as far as I’m aware The Fountain is the neighbourhood’s first video game bar or barcade. Located in the old Gecko’s Garden spot, the huge three story bar is filled with all manner of game rooms and has a giant fountain in the middle. It kind of  reminded me of Caesar’s Palace in Vegas. (more…)

Top 10 – Best of the Brunch in Seoul

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Now the weather has turned wonderfully warm, it’s necessary to leave the loving embrace of your warm and cosy house and actually get outside and enjoy yourself. And for me, enjoying myself always requires food and booze. This week my very best friend in the whole entire world comes to visit, and one thing we plan to have a lot of is brunch! I’m a huge brunch lover. I cannot get enough of the breakfast and cocktails combination. It’s the perfect way to start an afternoon of day drinking, which is probably my favourite hobby after eating. Luckily our fair city has quite the array of brunching options, though not all of them are made equal. To help you sort the wheat from the chaff I’ve selected my 10 favourites. (more…)

Seoul Night Market

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Last Saturday was the opening weekend of the Seoul Night Market along by the Yeouido Han River Park. Not only was I lucky enough to attend, I was also selected as one of their independent adjudicators to help choose which food trucks will gain a permanent position at the market which hopes to run until October. The market is a mix of food trucks and hand crafts, and will be on again this Saturday and Sunday from 7:30pm until late. (more…)

Canucks (originally Maple House)

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I’m not usually one for sports pubs, in fact I hate sports, but the booze and bar food is usually enough to lure me in. So when I heard that a new Canadian pub called Maple House had opened up in Itaewon, I didn’t really pay it too much attention until one of my Canadian friends told me they served awesome poutine and invited me to go check out the place. (more…)

Gateaux De Voyage

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Life is a piece a of cake, and sometimes that cake is an exquisite French pastry that you get to eat for free. Or at least that was my recent experience when I was invited to Gateaux De Voyage. The French Patisserie in Nonhyeon has been open for the past six months. It’s owned and run by the handsome Julien Favario who has been making pastries for over 20 years. Early in the morning, or late at night for some of us, he wakes to create his decadent desserts. As a fairly avid baker myself, I was honestly blown away at the amount he can accomplish in a few short  hours. (more…)