Tag: Fine


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…)


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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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.