Tag: Dining


It has been just over a year since I last visited Chef Ryu’s signature restaurant Ryunique in Sinsa. I have been to its sister restaurant Normal several times since, however it isn’t very often that I am lucky enough to enjoy a meal as sumptuous as the 20 course one here. When they released their new menu I was given the opportunity to go and give it a try. The signature dinner menu does not come cheap, at a cool 230,000 per person, but if you are looking for something really special that will knock your socks off, then this is it.


We arrived at the classically chic and inviting restaurant, and were greeted by the very friendly(and rather handsome) Maitre D.  I don’t want to reveal all the secrets that were unravelled, so I’m just going to share my favourite dish or two from each course. Our meal began with a series of amuse bouche courses. The amuse bouches were a real mix but of our four, that’s right four, my favourite was the mackerel which was charcoal cooked on the outside but raw and mixed with sour cream on the inside. It was served with wasabi powder that had been flash frozen in liquid nitrogen. The amuse bouche course finished with the most delightful Korean melon palette cleanser with mint and lime.



The mushroom course was the star appetizer for me. Served in two parts, the first being lions mane mushrooms that were a mixture of fresh and fried with little pipettes of white truffle mayo. Served along with the Lion’s Mane were the absolutely scrummy black truffle mushroom cookies. The second part of the dish was the fantastic soup. Topped with a mushroom crisp lid, this was a cloud of mushroomy foamy goodness, made even better by the little cheese bubble that melted when popped into the soup.

This season’s signature dish of quail came in two parts. First up was a garlic fed quail breast, which was encrusted with 10 mixed Korean grains, and a jus reduction of quail gravy on the side which was just magically intense(probably because it was made from an entire quail!). It was accompanied by a beetroot puree which added a splash of colour and hint of earthiness and finally the cutest little golden chicken which was made of of potato, to celebrate 2017, the year of the Rooster.

Part two was their fancy take on Samgyetang, one of my favourite Korean soups. Rather than the traditional cloudy broth typically associated with Samgyetang, this version is based on a consomme style clear broth, which was light and full of flavour. A quail leg wrapped in a mustard leaf and a deep fried quail egg sat perched upon a bed of noodles, sweet snap peas, and a mixture of fried and fresh ginseng. It was a great modern representation of a classic Korean dish.

After a series of other main courses, we finished with Chapter 2, a series of desserts, tea, coffee and petit fours. The favourite for us was the pastry chef’s signature dish Stone Texture, no prizes for guessing why. This dish consisted of mandarin ice cream coated in chocolate and black sesame powder, and caramelized chocolate pudding and pistachio. The rock like exterior really hid the soft sweet flavours inside and it was such a delightful surprise at the end of a wonderful meal.

Since my last visit, there have been even more Korean ingredients and elements added to the menu, the map given to us at the beginning of the meal showed us exactly where each of the dishes was sourced from, which I thought a nice touch. As always the creativity and time going into the food blows my mind and if you are looking for something truly special then Ryunique has a lot to offer. If the 230,000 won 20 course dinner is a bit rich for your blood, you may want to try their lunch menu instead which is half the size and price. You can also of course also visit Normal, which is their second, bistro style restaurant located just around the corner.

Ryunique is located at 520-1 SInsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Sinsa Station(line 3) and come out of exit 8. Take the first left and then right and quickly left again. Walk about halfway down this road and turn left just before you hit Mr. Holmes Bakery. Ryunique is just 50 metres or so along this street on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-546-9279, or check out their website.

Normal by Ryunique

Last week I was invited back to Normal in Sinsa to try their new quick and simple menu by Ryunique. If you read this blog religiously you will know that I enjoyed a sumptuous 16 course meal at Ryunique earlier this year, then another fabulous but slightly less grand meal at new sister restaurant Normal. The team behind the two restaurants are now offering patrons the chance to experience the magic of the food you’d enjoy at Ryunique at Normal, for those who have neither the time or money for the 16 or 22 course extravaganza at the original location. (more…)

Omyrose at Seoul Dining


Last week I was invited to an event to promote a new range of Korean liquors called Omyrose, which are made by J.K Lee with  omija berries grown right here in Korea. Now I think we all know how much I enjoy a drink, and the prospect of trying something new was very enticing to me. The event was held at Seoul Dining, a new restaurant in the Dongguk university area. The slick and sleek restaurant has only been open for a month but it exuded a warm and welcoming high end atmosphere.


We started out the night with a glass of the Korean Omyrose sparkling wine. The sparkling wine has a rather lovely pink hue to it that really reminded me of a kir royal cocktail. The wine itself was a touch sweet with a slightly bitter finish but I rather enjoyed it, and quaffed quite a few glasses to say the least. The sparkling wine was paired with raw cooked scallops with apple and sesame oil, in a mussel sauce, which was light and delicate taste of the sea. It was a nice contrast against the heady flavour of the wine.


Our next drink was The Omyrose rosé (try saying that after a few too many). Again  the wine was slightly sweet from the berries but it had a very buttery finish. I’ve never been into dry wines so I was quite enamored with his one too. The rosé was paired with several dishes but for the most memorable being  a pumpkin and potato soup, cauliflower quinoa, and squid ceviche, The warm and comforting soup was so silky it felt like a pair of loving arms wrapping itself around your heart. While the squid ceviche provided a refreshing kick and some extra texture. It was the ideal autumnal dish.


After a couple of other of courses including grey mullet, and confit chicken leg, it was time to move on to the stronger liquors. First was the oaky finish omija liquor. It was strong and we were given a glass of ice to pour it over. This to me tasted like the love child of a tequila and a scotch, probably due to the oak flavour from the barrel. This one was a bit too intense for me, though I’m rarely into drinking straight liquor.  I’d love to see what it tasted like in a cocktail though.


The liquor was served with my favourite dish of the meal, char-grilled Iberico pork pluma, with onion and anchovy pesto. Just one bite of the tender grilled pork was enough to make me fall in love with this dish. The meat just oozed flavour. When talking with the Chef Eric, he told me he first started making this dish in Portugal when working in a restaurant there, and it is now his signature dish. I can see why as it was absolutely delicious.


After the incredible pork we finished with a shot of the white liquor, a clear version of the one we enjoyed before and the most expensive of the bunch, though it does come in a rather beautiful bottle. This one was served straight up in a shot glass, but again I just found it too strong to enjoy neat. Along with the liquor we served espresso and a deconstructed tiramisu which was a very enjoyable way to end the meal.


Overall I was really impressed by the Omyrose wines, and its great to see a new high end brand of Korean liquors, as they make especially good gifts. For anyone interested in Omyrose it is available in Shinsaegae and other large department stores and costs between 50,000 – 360,000 per bottle. I also really enjoyed the set dinner prepared by Seoul Dining. I took a look at their menu before I left and found that the 7 course dinner cost 77,000 and thought it to be very reasonably. It featured an excellent mix of Korean ingredients presented in the style of modern western cooking. It would be the perfect location for any special occasion.


Seoul Dining is located at 272, Dongho-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Dongguk University Station (line 3) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight for about 100 meters, you will see the Welcome City building ahead of you on the right hand side. Walk up the stairs and you will see the Seoul Dining restaurant on your right. For more information or to make a reservation you can call them on 010-3586-8061. They are open from Tuesday – Saturday for lunch and dinner.


Occasionally my life is very charmed, and last week was one of those occasions as I was invited to try the tasting menu at Ryunique in Sinsa. The name rang a bell as it was where the In-N-Out Burger pop up had been located but I had no idea about the restaurant itself. A quick search revealed that it had been voted one of Asia’s 50 best restaurants in 2015, in fact it was voted 27th. So after a quick peruse of the menu, I said they could count me in, and as an extra special treat they let me drag TFB along with me.

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Kitchen Loading Urban Farmers

As you know Valentine’s day passed last week and despite having a number of favourite restaurants to dine at I still felt compelled to try somewhere new. I had heard great things about Kitchen Loading, so after doing a bit more research I thought it would make the perfect location for a romantic dinner. Located in Tteokseom the restaurant is a bit further away than I generally like to travel, but after seeing the beautiful pictures of the food and finding out a three course dinner is only 38,000 won, I felt it was worth a ride in a taxi.

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Seollal(설날) Restaurant Guide

Woo Hoo! It’s finally Friday, and if that wasn’t great enough as it is, it’s also the start of a 5 day weekend!!! For the next few days Koreans will be heading out of the city to spend time with their loved ones, making it the perfect time to enjoy a relaxing time in an otherwise bustling metropolis. With all this time off you are likely to have plenty of free time for eating out, so I have found out the opening times for all my favourite restaurants to stop you from arriving to closed doors with rumbling bellies! Happy Lunar New Year Everyone!

Closed Only on Monday 8th February 


Leftcoast – As usual Left Coast will be serving up their their gourmet burgers and yummy deep fried sides. they have some pretty good cocktails too.


Brera – My favourite Italian in Seoul, will be serving its full brunch, lunch and dinner menu throughout the holidays.


Spain Night Market – The cheapest tapas joint in town by far, and cheap eats = more money for Sangria.


Pick A Bagel – Real NYC bagels are in the house. Though they will not open until 12pm on Tuesday.


Little Baja – Seafood tacos, horchata and Tequila, need i say more?


Lobster Bar – Whole lobster, lobster sandwiches, steak, and cocktails are just a few of the many treats I enjoy at this Itaewon eatery.


Dominic – NY style dinging at it’s finest in Itaewon. If you know whats good you you, you’ll get the steak and creamed spinach.


Linus BBQ – Bama style southern BBQ and a whole host of boozy treats. get the platter, you won’t be sorry.


Closed on Sunday &  Monday 7th & 8th February


WinK –  Kyodae’s best pub will be open from 11:30am – midnight.


Spicy Bite – Serves up pan-Asian cuisine, think lots of lovely crispy noodles, and sweet and spicy dishes.


Jil’Hal Bros Cheongdam – Chicken, rice, salad and pita NYC style, more addictive than crack!


Closed Monday & Tuesday 8th & 9th February 

NYC style pizza - margarita and supreme

Gino’s NY Pizza – Real NY style pizza open on Wednesday for dinner only from 5pm. See their facebook page for more details.


Vertex Chicken – Tender chicken in a teriyaki or spicy sauce. served with rice and veggies. Deliverable and addictively tasty.


Bulldogs – My number one Brit hang out, Pimm’s, scotch eggs and amazing hot dogs. Did I mention Pimm’s?


Vatos – Still the coolest Mexican by far, great tacos, giant cocktails and a super cool vibe.


Jil’Hal Bros Hongdae – The new branch serves up the same amazeballs chicken and rice as their Cheongdam branch.

Closed Sunday, Monday, Tuesday 7th – 9th February


The Beastro – Fine American dinning and killer cocktails at incredibly reasonable prices. Still one of my favourite places in town.


McCoy’s The new fine dining HBC restaurant has already become one of my favourite places to eat, probably because it’s so cheap. They will be open for Sunday lunch but closed for dinner.

Closed Monday Tuesday & Wednesday 8th – 10th February


Manimal – BBQ goodness in all it’s meaty glory. Closed for the holidays, but at least they are open this weekend.

Closed Only on Wednesday 10th February 


Mozzie – Your favourite Kiwi pub will be knocking out its ginormous portions of pub grub as per usual.

Open everyday 

While almost all of the restaurants seem to be closed on Monday, the pubs have got you covered.


The Workshop – Booze and fried food from 5pm everyday!


Route 66 – Giant sandwiches, boneless wings, and drinks by the bucketload from 5pm everyday.


The Wolfhound – Your favourite Irish bar, is open 365 days of the year and will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner as well a wide variety of libations. I also met TFB there over 7 years ago, so if you’re looking for love it might be just the spot to check out.


And as a special treat Villa Guerrero will be doing a pop up in Itaewon from the Tuesday 9th- Saturday the 13th of February at 34-40 Itaewon-dong. If you like a real carnitas taco then these should not be missed!


Windy City Pizza will also be doing a pop up on Monday 8th of February from 11:30am and on Tuesday & Wednesday the 9th & 10th of February from 5pm at Cali Kitchen in Gyeongridan. Lucky customers will be able to get their lips around one of their delicious Chicago style slices while stocks last.

Thai Chicken Pizza


I’ve been obsessed with making my own pizza all summer long. If you follow my instagram account you will have seen me devouring them. Homemade pizza is such a joy and puts a smile on the face of anyone that eats it. A thin crispy crust, covered with fresh vegetables and and cheese, and eaten outside. I decided to  switch it up a bit this time and go for a Thai style pizza. The sauce was made with coconut milk and peanut butter, then I layered it up with chicken and lovely Thai vegetables. Served with my tomato salad and a homemade Pimm’s it was perfection. An awesome, easy, and fresh dinner to share with your loved one or friends.



Ingredients (makes 3 large pizzas)


500g flour (I used the one for dumplings and noodles.)

2 teaspoons of salt

1 teaspoon of yeast (I used bobai brand that comes in 8g packages)

4 table spoons of olive oil

14 oz ice cold water


1/2 a can of coconut milk

3 tablespoons of peanut butter

2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce.


1 chicken breast

1/2 an onion

1 egg plant

1-2 chillies

150g of grated cheese

A bunch of cilantro (고수)

A handful of basil leaves




1. Make the pizza dough using my recipe here.

2. While the dough is resting, cook your chicken breasts with a little garlic and oil. I also added some Thai seasoning I bought on i-Herb. Then slice and roast your egg plants. Grate the cheese, and slice the onion and chillies. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

3. Roll out the dough to the size of your pan, then sprinkle with flour before placing the dough on top. Cover the base with the sauce and bake in the oven for 10 minutes to cook the dough. If you don’t do this and you pile on everything on top first the dough will stay raw in the middle.

4. Once the base has cooked, layer it up with cheese and all your lovely vegetables apart from the basil leaves and cook for another 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is golden brown. Sprinkle the basil leaves on top then serve.



The Beastro


The Beastro is the hottest new restaurant to hit Hongdae and is serving up contemporary American cuisine. The large restaurant is set over three floors, and boasts an open plan kitchen and a roof top patio where you can enjoy drink or two whilst gazing out over the city sky line. Which is the perfect place to beat the heat and enjoy the cool breeze. (more…)

Vatos Urban Tacos


So as per usual I am way behind the foodie times. Every food reviewer and his dog has already written about the wonders of Vatos.  The restaurant already has queues going down the hill so I’m sure none of the regulars want me sharing it’s deliciousness with the few people that don’t know about it. However readers I want you to know about all the places that I love to eat and Vatos is definitely in my Top 5 which is why it was 100% necessary for me to write about it, even if it has taken me a year and a half!


This place is tres cool with a hip and happening vibe, in fact it’s probably so cool it’s out again. On any given evening it’s always filled to the brim with people eating, drinking and having a good time. As well as trying some of the best Mexican fusion food and drinks in Korea it’s the place to be seen.


Almost everything on the extensive menu is good here, but I will will run you through my favourites and some of the new items that are on their Spring/Summer menu. But before I can even get to to the food I have to talk about the cocktails. No one loves a cocktail more than Fat Girl and at Vatos they have a pretty damn good choice. Now for me the star attraction is their margaritas! With a huge variety of fruity flavours and a whole host of accompanying bottles you can  have upturned into one. Why have one drink when you can have two right? For the sweet toothed I have to recommend the Sexy Sanchez (17,400). A strawberry margarita with a strawberry Brunty’s cider, cider + taquilla = drunken fun times ahead! I am also a big fan of the new passion fruit margarita (12,500). For non frozen fans try the Texas Tea (14,000) and the Mexican Martini (15,000).


I have pretty much tried all the tacos at this point and hands down, the Lime Shrimp (10,000 for 3)  are my favourite. They are so good I would crawl over my grandmother to get them. In fact I usually order 3 then have another 3 because I love them that much. Breaded pieces of shrimpy goodness, salad, delicious limey sauce and their amazing homemade soft tacos. Just thinking about them right now is making me hanker after them. Just recently they added another flavour to their taco collection, Chimichurri Chicken Tacos (9,000 for 3). The chicken and chimichurri sauce has a really nice kick without being too spicy. They pack a punch of flavour while still remaining fresh and tasty.


Also on the new menu are the Honey Tequilla Chicken Wings (12,000). I do love a good wing and these are exceptional. The crunchy coating is spectacular. I asked for the recipe and they told me it was just seasoned flour, but mine never comes out like that!  The sauce has a dozen or so ingredients that I am sure I would never be able to recreate. I could have eaten at least two portions of these even on top of the tacos.


The Sid Burger & fries(15,500) is the latest and most popular burger on the burger network. Aptly named after it’s genius creator Sid! Now I love a good burger, I have written about this fact dozens and dozens of times. I even belong to a Seoul Burger Lovers Group on Facebook, yes there is one you can join here. Among the elite burgeratti of Seoul this is one of the most highly regarded and I was desperate to try it. A burger, cheese, and pulled pork. It’s like two things I love got married and had a burger baby. This is a serious mouthful of meaty goodness. Vatos makes some seriously good burgers, so be sure not to neglect them in favour of their more Mexican style dishes.


Lastly we has to try the Tamales (10,000 for 2). I fell in love with tamales when I was in Argentina and never thought in my wildest dreams they would turn up in Korea. When Vatos put them on the menu I was one of the first to try them. Two big tamales stuffed with corny goodness and two dipping sauces. One cool and one spicy, so everyone is happy.


One word of advice, this place gets packed during prime dining hours especially at weekends. Luckily you can make a reservation, do it or prepare to queue. The other option is eating at the bar or a little island table. As the cool and trendy folk that like to queue come here to be seen as well as enjoying amazing food, and are not generally interested in those tables so you can usually jump the line a little. Call the number below to reserve a table.

Vatos has three locations in Seoul. One in Sinsa, one in Apgujeong, and one in Itaewon. My local is the one in Itaewon. Yongsan-gu, Itaewon-dong, 81-8 2nd Floor, Seoul Korea(서울시 용산구 이태원동) For the other location please click on the above links. For more information including maps and a full menu check out their website or call 02-797-8226. 



I had never even heard the name OKitchen mentioned until I went to the medicinal competition in Sancheong. The chefs representing the restaurant won one of the top prizes. After that I noticed that everyone was talking about it and telling me how great the food was, so I thought it was about time I tried it. After a little research online, I found that it was fine dining. Little did I know that I had walked past the restaurant dozens of time. We had even looked at the menu before, thought it looked good, but not ventured inside. It just goes to show that appearances can by deceptive and you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The little wooden plank clad restaurant looks more like a ski chalet in the mountains than a fine dining establishment. But once inside, the restaurant is warm, cosy, and perfect for a nice intimate dinner.

Soon after sitting we were brought  the bread basket. Four different varieties, focaccia, butter scone bread, a black sesame crisp and a walnut bread. The bread came with oil and vinegar and was refilled once we finished it. The walnut could have done with a little more salt but all in all it was a nice selection.


Niall ordered the tasting plate, which consisted of six different courses for 80,000. I’ll run through that and then discuss the a la carte dishes I ordered. The first  dish of the tasting platter was the seafood plate. A large variety of fish and seafood were on the dish, far too many to recount. A nice start to the meal if you like raw fish. I sadly did not so couldn’t comment but Niall enjoyed it and felt it was nicely balanced and the accompaniments worked well.


Next up was the polenta cake with mushrooms and a poached fertile egg. I was looking forward to my taste of this one, eggs and mushrooms are always a winning combination for me. The egg looked as though it was sous-vide rather than poached, which was not to my preference as the egg white is not as solid as if it had been poached. The egg yolk was lovely and runny though.


The starters kept on coming and next was a roasted fig with gorgonzola and poached pear. Not usually a gorgonzola fan, the cheese complimented the fig well. It was small though and quickly devoured.


Next came the pasta course. The pasta of the day was spaghetti with mackerel. The mackerel was not too strong in flavour and I was actually able to eat a little of this one.


After the pasta course was the main of  han-woo steak. This steak was half the size of the regular option but after all those courses it would have been far too much. He ordered his steak blue which I thought was a little rare for the cut of the meat, but he enjoyed it all the same. It came with little pearls of mustard seeds, greens and roasted potatoes.


Finally on to the dessert course of warm chocolate cake with espresso ice-cream. The cake was warm with a little sauce still melting in the middle. The ice-cream was nice and creamy and the raspberry jus smeared on the plate nice and tart. A lovely nice dessert and the perfect end to the meal. Thankfully it was small or we might not have finished it!


Rather than the tasting menu I went a la carte and had the potato gnocchi with pumpkin sauce and truffle oil (23,000) This was as yummy as it sounds. The gnocchi was soft and lightly fried so the edge was crisp. The pumpkin sauce was sweet and complimentary and the delicious smell of truffles wafted through the dish.  Topped with grated parmesan and mushrooms, I will be coming back for this dish again.


On to my main of Australian lamb done two ways (45,000). Composed of a rack of lamb, perfectly cooked to medium rare.  The pan seared edge tasted of lemon and herbs and was extremely good. The second piece was slow cooked in delicious gravy like sauce, the waitress didn’t explain this dish at all but I would guess it was shoulder, served on a bed of mashed something. I have no idea what it was could have been celeriac, cauliflour, or polenta. I just don’t know. It was tasty though. The slow cooked lamb was divine it was so soft and tender it just fell apart in my mouth and melted into my tongue. It’s hard to beat a nice rack but this did it in spades. Possibly the best lamb I’ve ever eaten in Korea. I’ll be coming back for this one, too. I couldn’t be happier about my choice of dishes.


The only part about the dining experience that I think needs improving is the service. We waited longer than we should have to be given menus, and every time a dish was brought over they just left without explaining the dish. When prompted they were able to explain but it is my personal belief that during a fine dining experience it is paramount that servers explain the elements that compose the meal. The menu gives very little detail other than the two or three main ingredients. The chefs go to a lot of trouble to put together each plate and for the customer not to know what’s on seems a little redundant. The owner was kind and warm but I think he could do with training his waitresses a little better. I was also a little miffed to see no cocktails on the menu, but those who enjoy wine and beer will be happy enough.

Over all we had a great meal for a reasonable price at Okitchen and I will definitely be returning. The service could be improved but it wouldn’t stop me from visiting again or recommending it as a good place for a special dinner. I would recommend that at least one person in your party get the tasting plate if you like to try a little of everything. But also try a few other dishes on the menu too.


Okitchen is located at Itaewon-dong 168-14 Itaewon-Dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon station and come out exit 1. Walk straight for maybe 100m and you should see Okitchen in one of the little alleyways. If you get as far as ABC mart you’ve gone too far. You can call them on 02-797-6420 or check out their facebook page.