Tag: Food

Staycation – The Grand Hyatt

Last weekend was my 9 year anniversary with TFB, I cant believe it has been so long, I’d get less time for murder (just kidding). It being such a special occasion and all, we thought a stay at a luxury hotel would be the perfect way to celebrate. TFB had been lucky enough to win the grand prize at a recent chamber of commerce event. Included in the prize package were two very nice bottles of wine, a Jo Malone shower gel, and a night in the grand executive suite at the Grand Hyatt. This was his first time going to such an event and the cheeky beggar managed to take home the first prize. I have been to at least a dozen of these things, and the only thing I have ever won is a hairbrush, but as I reaped the benefits of his win I shall not complain. So despite the hotel being literally 200 meters from our house, we set off up the hill to enjoy our romantic getaway.

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Our room was a grand executive suite. I have stayed in a couple of suites over the years and I have to say it is so nice to have the extra space, in fact this one was bigger than our whole apartment. The room had a guest toilet, a guest toilet, you know for all those guests I planned on having over (lol). We also had a work space, living room, bedroom, walk in closet and gigantic bathroom with a sunken bathtub and walk in shower. It was pretty damn fancy. Although the decor wasn’t modern or cool, it was classic enough to not look too dated. One of the nicest things about the room were the views of the city. They had thankfully assigned us a room on the river side, as I can look at Namsan Tower any old day.

I think the thing we all want to know about is the food, and our room included Club Lounge benefits, which is where we enjoyed most of our perks. The Club Lounge is a service that many big chain hotels offer, and we have taken advantage of many times over the years. For a slightly higher room price you usually get a cool little executive lounge that you can sit in in, access to a business room, and free snacks and refreshments all day. After we had checked in and seen the room we popped down to the lounge to see what was on offer. There were some very nice tea & coffee making facilities (nicer than the room ones), soft drinks, cookies and a selection of cakes and what not. They also had these really nice pastry cream filled donuts too, which I wish I had eaten more of.

Between 6pm-8pm is where you really reap the rewards because they offer happy hour. In many of the hotels we have stayed in they offer this kind of service. You usually get spirits, wine and appetisers, more recently this includes hot food too. The Grand Hyatt puts on quite a spread, and it is one of the largest club lounges I have been seen. Booze wise there is Cava, a selection of white wines, and a selection of red wines. I cant say any of the wines I tried were that great, the Cava was probably the best but as it was free I can’t really complain. As with most bars there were ice and lemons, mixers and several spirits (gin, vodka, white rum, campari and bourbon). Nothing fancy but enough to make a simple drink. I wouldn’t go as far as calling them cocktails, but a free drink is a free drink. There was also a selection of international bottled beers, if you had seen what they were charging in the mini bars for these you would be astonished. I know mini bars are supposed to be expensive but at 20,000 for a little Absolut and 9,000 won for a bottle of local water they are kind of taking the piss. Thankfully there was an ample sock of free ones for us in the lounge.

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Food wise I was very impressed, there was a hearty salad station with a do it yourself caesar salad bar, plus an Italian pasta salad and other grilled veggie medley. There were also olives, breadsticks, dips and hummus which was a nice reminder of home. Then there was nice bread, smoked salmon, meats, and cheeses. Plus a hot appetiser buffet with some awesome samosas, chicken teriyaki, and even Korean dishes like ddeokbokki and kimbab. There was also a dessert selection with more donuts, cheesecake, tarts and fresh fruit. It was very bountiful and you could happily eat and drink here instead of going out for dinner, it was just like a free all you can eat and drink buffet. The food and booze was all taken away at 8pm but as a club lounge aficionado I stocked up ahead of that time so were able to relax over our remaining drinks and snacks.

The next morning we were also permitted to have breakfast in the club lounge. When I have stayed in club lounges at other hotels you are usually given the choice between eating breakfast in the club lounge or down in the main buffet. I generally opt for the buffet, despite the fact the club lounge being much quieter as I prefer the larger variety of foods you get at the main buffet. However this is not the case at the Hyatt and you can only eat breakfast in the club lounge unless you wish to pay. That being said the lounge breakfast was pretty good. There was more or less everything you would expect to see at a hotel buffet, just smaller selections. There were tea and coffee machines that are free for use throughout your stay, fresh juices, like the carrot apple and ginger one I enjoyed. There are also 4-5 different types of milk all labelled in different jars including non dairy. There was cereal, cold cuts, salad, bread, yoghurt, fresh fruit, danish pastries in the cold buffet. While the hot buffet had sausages, bacon, eggs to order, fried potatoes, noodles and congee. There was plenty to suit everyone and more than enough to feed a greedy sod like myself. I think I had about four rounds.

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After breakfast we relaxed in the room until check out at 12. But had we wished we could have used the gym, sauna and swimming pool. Overall we had a lovely stay, it was such a treat and nice to spend a relaxing weekend away, even if it was only 10 minutes from home. We didn’t pay for our stay as we won it as a prize in a raffle, but I looked up the prices online and the club rooms start at 300,000 KRW per night, and the Executive Suite that we stayed in is 370,000 per night, though this may vary. If you would like more information about the Grand Hyatt, please visit their website.

The Grand Hyatt is located 322 Sowol-ro, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there you can walk from Noksapyeong station (line 6), but it is up quite a steep hill so if you have baggage I would advise taking a taxi. For more information you can call them on 02-797-1234, or check their website.

300 Degree

The Itaewon area has no shortage of places selling pizza, however that doesn’t mean that a new one isn’t a welcome addition. 300 Degree has recently moved from its home in Kyodae to a new location in Itaewon opposite the Foreign Food market. Now a new pizza place wouldn’t really count as news, if not for the fact they serve it up Italian style in 1 meter pizzas. That’s right, 1 meter of pizza, it was music to my ears. Now I have to confess that I have known about this pizza phenomenon for some time now, but sheer laziness prevented me from trudging across town to try it, but when I heard they had moved to my hood, it moved straight to the top of my foodie list.


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The new place is on the second floor of the same building as Sin Bin. They were newly opened when I paid a visit, so still finishing the decor. Local artist Aaron Cossrow is designing a mural to fill one of the walls, and I have no doubt it will look incredible when it is done. Now I realise that not everyone is like me, and that when they hear that a restaurant offers a meter of pizza they immediately want to find out if they can devour it in one sitting but that is just how I roll. As you probably know, I have taken part in quite a few eating challenges and competitions over the year and the owner at 300 Degree actually reached out to me about doing a video on the 1 meter pizza.. So I packed up my camera and decided to head over and take on the 1 meter pizza challenge. The restaurant doesn’t actually offer this as a challenge, there is nothing to gain from actually eating the whole pizza yourself other than a sense of pride, but that was more than enough for me.

The pizzas come in two sizes, 50cm (which start at 20,000), and 1 meter (which starts at 44,000). My one meter pizza had three toppings the Bufala which is tomato sauce, mozzarella di bufala, tomato, and basil. The Norcina which is cream sauce, mozzarella, truffle sauce, walnuts, porcini mushroom. And lastly the Siciliana, which is aubergine, black olive, mozzarella, and fresh feta. Both the Bufala and Norcina count as speciality toppings making my pizza 54,000. When I saw the pizza in front of me I was kind of shocked at how big it was, it is basically like three pizzas stuck together. Which each section containing eight slices, it made twenty four in all, and I seriously started to doubt if I would be able to finish it.

Although this was a challenge, there was no time factor so I got to enjoy the pizza in my own time. If asked to choose between American and Italian pizza, I will choose Italian pizza every time. I’m a thin crust girl and this crust was light and chewy.  My hands down favourite of the three flavours I tried was the Norcina. I always adore a truffles and mushrooms combo, and even more so when cheese is involved. I think I would have been very happy to have a whole pizza made out of this it was so good.  I love a cream sauce pizza so it went down easy, they were eight very easy slices to manage.

While I couldn’t get enough of the cream sauce topping, it in no way diminishes the deliciousness of the tomato sauce pizzas. The Buffala was the perfect marriage of mozzarella, tomato and basil, and everything a good pizza should be. While the Siciliana offered a differing mix of flavours again. I loved having the variety of the different slices, and it definitely made it a lot easier to tackle.  However by about halfway I was absolutely stuffed to the gills, and in serious doubt as to whether I could finish it. Thankfully my competitive and greedy nature prevailed and I finished the whole thing in just over 28 minutes.

Overall I really enjoyed the pizza (the first half anyhow)  and honestly thought the price of the pizza to be very reasonable. In the luxury pizza market, and lets face it anyone charging over 30,000 for a large is in the high end bracket. 44,000 for the standard is not bad at all. 3-4 people could very comfortably eat this, and be satisfied, plus the fact that you get to eat three different toppings makes it ideal to share. If you are sharing between two people, I think you would be best to go for the 50cm pizza, or expect to take a hell of a lot home. If you like Italian style pizza this place is not to be missed.

300 Degree is located at 132-4 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight until you reach the intersection and turn right. Walk straight along this road slightly uphill. You will see 300 Degree just ahead on the right hand side on the floor below Sin Bin, across from the foreign food mart. For more information you can call them on 02-792-9344 or check out their facebook page. The pizza is also available for delivery via Shuttle. If you have yet to use the service, you can get free delivery on your first order by clicking here.


NY Burger & Bagel – Brunch

Brunch is my favourite meal of the week, there are few things that I enjoy more than catching up with friends on the weekend over a leisurely meal. However finding new and delicious spots for brunch where you don’t have to queue up outside for about 1000 hours in this city is no easy task. And to make matters worse, over the past year lots of my favourite brunch spots have closed. So when NY B&B got in touch with me to share that they are now serving brunch and invited me to come try it I of course couldn’t resist (and if you have tried their burgers before, then you wouldn’t either).  Since NY B&B focuses on American food, I thought I’d take a couple of ‘Mericans with me to get their take on it. The brunch is currently only available at the new Hannam branch, which has been open for almost six months. The restaurant is much bigger than the original in Gangnam, and is light and airy thanks to its floor to ceiling windows, making it perfect for brunch.

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I’m not usually one to start my day with something sweet, but the pancakes are the real star of the menu here so we were eager to try them. The batter is freshly made in small batches and only keeps for 2 hours at a time. In fact if you plan on coming with a large group or on a weekday morning it’s best to call ahead and make a reservation to make sure they have enough batter on hand. I always like to start with the most basic version of something before moving on to the more experimental version so we kicked off with the Butter Milk Pancakes (8,500). While I like pancakes well enough, they aren’t a food I lust after, or go out to eat often enough. Maybe I’ve just eaten too many bad ones and find them easy enough to make at home. However these surpassed all my expectations, they were light as air, and as fluffy as a cloud. Topped with real maple syrup, berries and whipped cream we finished every bite. Hands down the best pancakes I’ve had in Korea and much better than Original Pancake House in my opinion. We then moved on to the Red Velvet Pancakes (10,500), which were bright red and covered a sweet cream cheese frosting. I was really excited about these, but found they hadn’t quite managed to recreate the texture or the flavour of red velvet cake. I was hoping for more of that sour chocolatey taste. we really liked the cream cheese drizzle though. The last pancakes we tried were the Chocolate Chip Pancakes (10,500), which were just as good as the buttermilk ones with the addition of chocolate chips. I haven’t actually had chocolate chip pancakes before but was informed by my companions they are an American staple. The other sweet item on the menu is the Almond Crusted French Toast (11,500). The bread used is very thick and crusted with nuts, which makes it very filling. When topped with the bananas, maple syrup and cream is is absolutely delicious.

After trying our sweet dishes, we moved on to the savoury. First to try was the Little Man Breakfast (14,500), which considered of bacon, 2 eggs, home fries, and toast. The home fries on this were epic. It is hard to describe how orgasmic they really were but I shall try. They were crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, and very well seasoned so they had their own kind of yummy flavour going on. All three of us were fighting over them, In fact I’d never stop eating them given the chance and they are worth going back for alone. As for the rest of the platter, the bacon was crisp, and the toast was thick and served with butter. A simple American breakfast if ever there was one. For really big eaters they do an extra large version of this called the Big Boy which comes with steak.

Lastly we finished with the Omelette Platter (17,500) which turned out to be our unanimous favourite. The 3 egg omelette was stuffed with mushrooms and mozzarella and was topped with bacon. The omelette itself was light and fluffy without being monstrous in size or over cooked like most omelettes in town. Being a huge fan of mushrooms I also adored the cheese and mushroom filling inside. It was served with more of those incredible home fries, toast, and a side salad which added a touch of colour. While it is rather on the pricey side as omelettes go, it is very filling.

Overall we had a fab meal, not only does NY B&B do awesome burgers, they clearly know how to put on a good brunch too. While the menu caters to the American crowd, there are plenty of dishes to please us Brits. The only thing missing are boozy brunch cocktails, which they assured me they are working on. In the meantime they still have wine, beer, and a pretty well stocked bar, and are happy to make you anything you like if they have the ingredients.

NY Burger & Bagel Hannam is located at 744-5 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hanggangjin station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight and cross the street whenever you get a chance. Then take a left at the Bun Cha place. At the next intersection take another left, and then keep walking down that street, you will see NY B&B in the new big black building to the right, the entrance is tucked away round the corner but you can’t miss the signs. For more information you can call them on 02-592-7992 or check out their facebook pages. The store is open 10:30am – 10:30pm Mon-Sat, and 10:30-9:00pm on Sundays. Reservations are in no way necessary but advised to avoid disappointment.

Nori Table

A fortnight ago, I was lucky enough to catch the very last of the summer sunshine and enjoyed a delightful alfresco lunch at Nori Table. The Cali style sushi joint has been open for near on a year at this point but they recently added some DIY sushi platters to the menu and asked me to come by and try them to see what I thought. Never one to turn down a chance to try something new, especially in a place I frequent regularly, I of course had to say yes.

The coolest new item on the menu is the Teori Nori, a do it yourself sushi roll platter. We had the set for 1 which is 23,000, there is also a larger set for 2 for 44,000. The platter comes piled high with salmon, yellow tail, spicy tuna, avocado, tempura shrimp, beef tataki, tamago egg, uni, and torched scallops. You also get a stack of seaweed papers, a pile of rice, a trio of fish roe and wasabi and ginger. As you get two of everything, it makes it a very easy to share between two people, though me not being a huge raw fish lover, we shared ours a little differently. Of the fishy dishes I loved the tempura shrimps, scallops and the spicy tuna, while TFB made short work of the raw fish. The sweet and soft tamago egg was also delightful and we had more than enough seaweed and rice to make our rolls. If you are picky about what you like on your sushi like I am, this is kind of ideal, you can pick and choose what to put on the rolls. The platter is recommended for one, but you get  as you get at least two of every item I think it could be shared between two, especially if you add a couple of extra side dishes.

As you know I am powerless to resist almost anything deep fried, especially chicken, so we added a potion of Chicken Kara-age (8,000). The classic Japanese fried chicken dish, was very moreish. The chunks of tender chicken were in a light yet crispy batter and the dipping sauce slightly sweet and salty. I am also a big fan of their Chicken Teriyaki, which is equally crispy and just has a different but slightly thicker sauce.

I have tried most of the large speciality rolls over my visits, all of which I have enjoyed, but this time we tried the SosorrybutIrollyou (14,000). The SosorrybutIrollyou was stuffed with asparagus, cream cheese, and wrapped in thin slices of beef. We really enjoyed this beef roll, the tataki style beef worked really well with the cream cheese and asparagus, and for those who aren’t big fish fans like myself it is a welcome addition to the menu. In fact all of the rolls I have tried on my numerous visits have been tasty.

Overall we had another satisfying meal at Nori Table, and I am glad to see they are doing well. Western style sushi is a hard find in Seoul, so Nori Table has helped fill a big gap in the market.They have a very large menu, with lots of different items, so there is something for everyone. I have been numerous times over the past year and have always had a good time.

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.

Dairy Queen

Last week, Dairy Queen opened its very first branch here in Seoul, and on Saturday they had their grand opening. As part of that grand opening they ran a very special promotion where the first 100 people in the line would win free Blizzards for a month, and the first 100 people to buy ice cream cakes would win free Fan Set Combos for a year. As a non American I have never eaten Dairy Queen before, in fact I only had a very loose idea of what the place even was, I imagined an ice cream parlour of sorts, a farm or possibly a milk and cheese shop. Usually I absolutely abhor queuing, but for a year’s worth of free food I was prepared to break that rule. So my lack of plans that weekend and lust for free food found me waking up at 6:45 on a Saturday to get there to join the queue. We arrived around 7:15 which was just in time as they had a list of people and at 7:30am it was full. After that they turfed us outside into the cold to wait for the store to open at 10am. Honestly this seemed a kind of cool way of doing it, had I known I hadn’t made it on the list I would have headed straight back home to bed. When they handed out the tickets I was the 55th person in line and the 44th person to buy an ice cream cake. By the time we got to ordering it was 10:45 so I invested about 4 hours in to the endeavour, but it really didn’t seem like that long and I had a lot of fun in the queue with my friends and making the video above.

This first store is located in the University neighbourhood of Hyehwa. There is only one reason I have been to Hyehwa before and that is to drink at one of my favourite cocktail bars, Mix & Malt.  The medium sized store, is set over two floors, and has a cool and relaxed vibe. In the next few months they will be opening more branches all over the country, including one in my neighbourhood of Itaewon, which is when my VIP Fan Deal set card will start paying dividends. The Itaewon location is set to be where Taco bell currently is and will open in December, and will also be running a special grand opening promotion.

On to the food. I decided to use my new Fan Deal set which includes either a cheeseburger or chicken strips, chips, a drink and an ice cream sundae. As I already planned on getting some burgers on top, I went with the chicken strips, plus everyone had gone on about how amazing they are. For burgers I opted for the Crispy Chicken Burger (4,900) Quarterpounder Bacon Cheese Burger (6,800). I’m greedy so I also ordered a portion of onion rings. As you can see it was one hell of a fast food feast. I found the beef burger to be very reminiscent of a Burger King Whopper, I found it very tasty at the time, but I was hella hungry after being in that queue for so long, with only a banana to tide me over. The chicken burger was also pretty decent, a very crispy coating and nicely spiced, could have done with a touch more mayo for my tastes, but a solid fast food burger. I had heard good things about the Onion Rings (2,400) through the grapevine but didn’t really care for them, maybe they weren’t freshly cooked but I probably wouldn’t get them again. I’m not really sure what I expected from DQ before going, I thought it might slightly better than the regular fast food places, but I found it to be pretty similar to Burger King.

Although I had mine for free, I thought the Chicken Sticks (4,900) were kinda pricey, almost five dollars for three. I’m not sure what they charge else where for chicken strips as I rarely buy them but it seemed like a lot to me for some reason. They were tasty enough, I mean anything deep fried is usually good, nice coating the same as the burger, of the two I’d take the more filling chicken burger if asked to choose. I rather enjoyed the chips though, they were quite thick which I loved dipping them into my ice cream like I did as a kid.

The Blizzards are probably considered to be the main reason to visit DQ. We each got 3 mini sized ones as part of our free coupon deal. They come in four sizes mini (2,900), small (3,200) regular (4,200) and large (4,900). There were so many flavours to choose from and between us I think we tried most of them. The two I was most excited to try were the Snickers and Reece’s, neither of which disappointed. The soft serve was thick, sweet, and creamy and studded with chocolatey chunks of heaven. My bestie also got the green tea and red bean which was really not my cup of tea at all. The other standout was the banana which had little pieces of pineapple in it, and was a total tropical treat. Part of the Blizzards slogan, it that they are supposed to be so thick that it will stay inside the cup even if you flip it over. In my haste to take photos I completely forgot to do this, but it is worth checking because if any drops out you get the blizzard for free.

As part of the deal I had to order an Ice Cream Cake, there were only two left by the time I got to buy mine, so I opted for the Oreo Cake (25,000). After eating so much already, I took that bad boy home. However plenty of my fellow queuee’s were tucking into theirs right there and then. I didn’t really know what to expect but the the cake was mostly made of vanilla ice cream, with chocolate ice cream, sauce and Oreos inside. It was then topped with a very light Oreo ice cream frosting. I actually rather enjoyed this. The only ice cream cake I have eaten before is the Baskin Robbins ones, which honestly I have never cared for, despite enjoying their ice cream a lot . This DQ one was much better, and a very good price. It would make a nice change from crummy birthday cakes from PB that most of us seem to get stuck with.

So after queueing for many hours for my first taste of Dairy Queen, I found out that it is just a fast food joint with pretty awesome ice-cream. If you love it from back home or really enjoy ice-cream go give it a shot, but they plan to open many more branches over the next few months, so there is no need to travel across town. I’ll be very happy to eat my free weekly meal once the Itaewon branch opens,but don’t think I’ll get much use out of the free month of ice creams. Please let me know if you would like one of the coupons, they are all predated but I’m happy to share them rather than let them go to waste.

Dairy Queen is located at 8, Daehak-ro 10 gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hyehwa Station (line 4) and come out of exit 2. Turn back on yourself and You should see a small walk way to the right. Go through it and you will see Dairy Queen right in front of you. For ore information you can call them on 02-703-6696, or check out their facebook page.

Ob La Di

Last week when walking to Tap Public, we stumbled across the cutest cafe festooned with Halloween decorations which couldn’t help but lure us inside. Once we had ventured in, we realised it was a cereal cafe. As we were off to dinner, we only had time for a quick look around, but we decided we would come back later for dessert. Ob La Di, is located in the myriad of alleyways at the Hangangjin end of Itaewon. The small basement floor shop is cool colourful and quirky, and filled with all manner of toys and trinkets to bring out your inner child.

I have never seen such an array of cereals in my life. There are over 60 different types on the menu, most of which I had never heard of as they were American. In the UK we tend to keep things quite simple. Sure we have some sweet and sugary treats like Sugar Puffs and Frosties, but none actually made with cookies and pieces of candy. It is probably best for my teeth and my figure that I didn’t grow up in the land of the free. The selection of cereal is kind of epic, there are far too many to mention but the stand out ones to me are the Reece’s Puffs, Lucky Charms, Oreo’s, Fruity Pebbles, Apple Jack’s, Smores, Cinnabon, Captain Crunch and more varieties of Cheerios than I’ve ever seen.

I came along with my bestie and he nearly died of excitement when he saw they had Captain Crunch available, so he ordered himself a bowl (5,500). Once you pick your cereal, you can choose your dairy. The options are: Milk, Almond Milk, Ice Cream, or Yogurt (all 1,000 each). You can then add a variety of toppings from the healthy banana, blueberry, almond, and chia seeds, to the ludicrous decedent M&M, Oreos, Marshmallows and Macaroons. I don’t think you’ve lived until you have added macaroons to your cereal (lol)!

I was thrilled to see they had Fruity Pebbles after trying them at Bistopping and becoming instantly obsessed. Rather than a simple bowl with milk, I had mine made into a Shake (6,500), however you can do this with any of the cereal. The shake was very sweet and creamy, and the Fruity Pebble topping was crunchy and delicious. I have a feeling that some of the chocolate flavoured cereals would be even nicer though. One item on the menu that caught my eye was the Mad Fat Diary, an ice cream, marshmallow, and  fruity pebble concoction. Mainly because “My Mad Fat Diary” is one of my favourite shows as it strongly mirrors my younger life of growing up fat in the 90s. Unfortunately they were out of marshmallows on my visit so I didn’t get to try it, but next time for sure. Their Milky-way Toast looked interesting too.

Although our visit was short and sweet, I thought Ob La Di to be such a fun and frivolous place. If you enjoy sweet things, or are missing your favourite cereal from back home then, this it is well worth a visit. As well as selling cereal by the bowl, they also sell it by the box to take home, along with a selection of other American snacks. It’s like being a kid in a candy store.

Ob La Di is located at B1 684-35 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. walk staright until you reach the Cheil building, then go over the crossing and take the ally way thats in front of you. Walk straight, then take the first right, then the first left. You will see Ob La Di just ahead on the basement floor on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 010-5219-0588 or check out their Instagram.  They are open everyday from 12pm-10pm.


Sometimes life is very fortuitous, as I found out about the most amazing soup place in Mapo the week before I got really sick. However with Autumn in full swing and Winter just around the corner you don’t have to be sick to enjoy a bellyful of soup. Souper is located just a short walk from Mapo station, and is really cute and quaint and has a very warm and welcoming kitchen-cum-living room homey feel. Think Sunday nights sat at the kitchen table doing your homework, while your Mum makes dinner kind of a vibe.

The menu consists of about half a dozen different soups, which are written up on a big mirror on the wall. The soups come in two sizes, with a side of bread. You can also add an extra side of rice or pasta if you want to make them even more filling. Taking into account my ravenous appetite, I ordered the large Mushroom Truffle Bisque (7,800). The second this came out I could smell the truffles, and the smell taunted me whilst I was taking the pictures. The soup itself was a touch on the thin side, but had such a creamy and mushroomy flavour I could forgive its skinny body. I also have to mention the very lovely, crispy yet chewy accompanying bread. I forgot to ask if it was home made but it was really good.

One of my dining companions ordered the New England Clam Chowder (7,400), which was lovely and thick but a tad fishy for my tastes. She enjoyed it though, especially the crispy pieces of bacon on top. While the other got the Lemon Chicken Orzo (6,800). Unfortunately when we visited they were out of the accompanying orzo so she had to have it with pasta instead. I definitely preferred this one over the clam chowder thought we all thought it should have been more lemony. I think of the three we tried I choose the most wisely for my tastes. 

One of the girls also ordered a Chicken Avocado Salad (11,800) to split between us. It reminded me quite a lot of of the salad I had made for work that day. It had a nice mix of textures and good fresh ingredients. The balsamic dressing was also very tasty. If you aren’t in the mood for soup, I’m sure you would enjoy it, though it is a tad on the pricey side compared with the soups.

Overall I thought Souper to be super. Soups are a real staple back home where the weather is cold 8 months of the year. However the flavours that are so popular at home haven’t really caught on with Koreans. In fact I don’t think I have ever come across a western style soup place before in Seoul. We all thought the soups to be excellent value and we all left very satisfied, so I really hope this place does well.

Souper is located at 20 Samgae-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Map Station (line 5) and come out of exit 3. Turn back on yourself and walk towards exit 4 which is currently under renovations. Take the first left after passing exit four and walk straght down this road for a minute or two. You will see Souper just up ahead on the right hand side.  For more information you can call them on 02-711-3518 or check out their instagram. They are open everyday 9am-9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am-8pm on Saturday & Sunday.

Tap Public

Craft beer is huge in Korea, with new brews being created all the time. However I pretty much figured there was nowhere else for the trend to go until I was invited to Tap Public, to try Korea’s first self pour beer bar. The taphouse boasts  60 different taps offering a staggering 58 kinds of beer and two wines. The beer ranges from craft to generic and local to international. There is a real mix and there should be something for everyone.

The sleek and shiny new bar is located towards the Hangangjin end of Itaewon in a building behind the Hyundai Card Place. Once inside the bar spreads out to a very large space with plenty of inside seating and a gigantic patio. The bar is very well designed, and has a very cool but welcoming feel to it. The patio is absolutely gorgeous and will be amazing in the summer, but it’s also equally lovely in this weather with the roaring fire feature and outdoor heaters.

Once seated we received a wristband each which is used to calculate how much beer you have had. We then went to check out the beers. As you know I’m not a huge beer drinker so was a tad overwhelmed. Thankfully the beers are charged per 10mls, so it is great for novices like myself as you can try as many as you like until you find one you want to stick with. As the beers are so wide in selection the prices varied from 150 won per 10mls – 550 won, though most were around 200 won. To buy your beer you grab a glass then touch your wrist band to the screen of the beer you like, then take as much a you like. The high tech system really appealed to my inner geek and I’m sure it will be very popular with the gents. The owner, Kevin, recommended that I try the Märzen Larger (170 won / 10ml). This is a special Octoberfest beer from the Playground Brewery. I tend to favour lagers so really enjoyed this. Despite its dark hue it had a very palatable almost fruity flavour that was very drinkable. My companion tried the new Yongsan Electro IPA (190 won / 10mls). This has been specially brewed for the beer fest happening this weekend at the Yongsan Electronics Market. I am no fan of IPAs, as they are generally too bitter for my tastes, and this one was no exception. But my companion enjoyed it a lot, and if you like IPA then then this one is certainly worth a try.

Drinking makes me hungry, so we decided to take a look at the menu. The menu is a real mix of items including the usual bistro fare and some wacky more inventive dishes. In the end we settled on the signature TP Burger (12,000). The cheeseburger came served in an incredible house made pretzel bun which was truly amazing. It was also topped with lettuce, tomato, and grilled onions so sweet we thought they were onion jam. You know I’m fussy with burgers but this was damn fine and got a very audible Mmm from me when biting into it. Although it was quite a simple burger it had everything I needed, and it was perfect accompaniment to the beers. The burger doesn’t come with anything so we also got a side of the Twisted Potato Wedges (6.000). These were toasted in a garlic and Parmesan coating that we enjoyed very much and served with a blue cheese dip. They were the perfect drinking food and gone in a matter of minutes.

Overall our visit was short and sweet, but I really liked the style of this place. I love the outdoor area and thought the place had an uber cool vibe. I have no doubt that the pour your own beer trend will become very popular,  and the variety of different beers is very hard to beat. I know my beer swilling boyfriend will be very into it, so I will definitely be returning  to try more of their food.

Tap Public is located at L2 T1 Building, 244 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight and keep going until you get to the Cheil Building. Keep going straight over the crossing but take the alleyway in front of you, slightly to the right of he main road. Keep walking straight along this road. You will eventually get to the back of the Hyundai Card building. You will see a sign just outside and a set of stairs, go up and you will get to Tap Public on the second floor. For more information you can call them on 02-797-4999 or check out their facebook page. There are open everyday from 11:30am -1am.

Cuchara Mexican Eatery

I enjoy a good burrito as much as the next girl, so when I heard about a new Chipotle style knock off in Gangnam that offered up a very large burrito for around 7,000 won I was very keen to give it a try. Being English I don’t have much experience with Chipotle, I have never been on my handful of trips to the States, however I have heard numerous American friends sing its praises, and write facebook statuses wishing thy could get their hands on some in Seoul. I’m usually quite a slovenly creature, so heading across town to Gangnam for a burrito when I could easily get one in Itaewon was not a welcome prospect but I have a very good friend who lives locally who was also dying to try it so I figured I would suck it up and make the journey.

The restaurant has a cafeteria style, with a made to order kitchen and counter. You wait in line (avoid lunchtime like the plague) decide what you want, have it made in front of you, then pay for it. It’s kind of a level up from fast food, and reminded me a lot of Halal Guys & Shake Shack. There are four options at the moment: burrito, burrito bowl, taco, and a salad. You then choose your meat which determines the price (chicken 6,900, chorizo 8,400, carnitas 8,400, al pastor 8,400, veggie 9,000, steak 9,900) . You can then add extras like guacamole (3,000). Unfortunately they were out of guacamole when we went, much to my chagrin. Despite having a mountain of avocados, they were apparently all unripe.

The item I was most excited about trying was the Chicken Burrito (6,900). I really liked the fact that you can tailor your burrito to your own tastes. There are several choices to make: brown or white rice, pinto or black beans, tomato or corn salsa, and green or hot chili sauce. You are then able to add your extras such as fajita veggies, lettuce, and cheese. My greed set in so I just had everything on mine which was not a bad thing. I rather enjoyed this burrito, it had a good mix of flavours and was very filling. Truly unbeatable for the price, and a big step up from the likes of Taco Bell, who have recently incurred my wrath after they stopped selling guacamole and are now dead to me.

Being the greedy sod that I am, I also ordered a set of the Carnitas Tacos (8,400 for 3).  When making the carnitas tacos I got carried away and added all the ingredients without thinking. In retrospect I would have done without the the corn and lettuce. I had to take the latter off so I could get a decent picture but if you are a big eater it is nice you are able to have so many different ingredients. The carnitas meat had a decent flavour, I didn’t think it was as good as some of the Mexican places in town though and it was a bit more expensive than the chicken. My American friend decided to go for the Chicken Salad (6,900). I thought this to be very hearty as salads go, and you taste more of the flavour of the marinated chicken without the other ingredients masking it. She enjoyed her salad so much, she got a burrito to take home too, and has been back several times since with her hubby.

Overall I went in with no expexctations other than to eat a cheap burrito and check out a place that would appeal to my American readers. If you are fan of Chipotle at home, I’m sure you will be really into this place. I didn’t have anything to compare it it, but my friends that have been say it is almost exactly the same. While I thought the chicken dishes to be excellent value, the other meats weren’t as cheap so I personally wouldn’t travel out of my way again for it. However if I was passing through Gangnam I would definitely stop by.

Cuchara Mexican Eatery is located at 11 Seochodae-ro, 74 gil , Seocho-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gangnam Station (line 2) and come out of exit 8. This leads straight into the Samsung building. Go up the flight of escalator stairs, and walk straight you will see Cuchara Mexican Eatery just on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-525-2155 or check out their facebook page.

Great Korean Beer Festival on Halloween!


For those of you still unsure about your Halloween plans this weekend, do I have the event for you. The Great Korean Beer Festival is having a beer and fun filled Halloween extravaganza all weekend long. The event is being held at the Public Parking Lot at Yongsan Electronics shopping mall From Friday October 27th- Sunday October 29th. The event is being sponsored by Hyundai I’PARK mall and HDC Shilla Duty Free Shop, and will play host to 18 craft beer breweries and 8 global food companies from all over the country. There will even be a beer specially brewed for the event. The ‘Yongsan Electro IPA’, will be launched and can be sampled at the site.

If you have not been to one of the Great Korean Beer Fest events before, you are in for a treat . The festival will offer craft beers from all over the country including Seoul, Gangwon, Busan and Jeju. As well as the hottest international beers from the US and the Czech Republic. Visitors can also learn about beer from local Brew Masters. If you’re worried about drinking on an empty stomach, then fear not, a wide range of international menu items will be available too including premium sausage plates of ‘Jinju Ham’, jamon and paella from ‘Spain Club’, my favourite chicken and rice by ‘Jilhal Bros’, ‘California Pizza Kitchen’, ‘Mad Fisherman’ and a whole host of food trucks. If craft beer and great food aren’t enough to float your boat, there will be plenty to enjoy at the Electro Land, Najin and Sunin Plaza. Unleash your inner nerd at the IT Experience Zone which will allow visitors to participate in 100 won auctions, discount events of electronic products, IT experiences, and drone operating.

One of the most exciting events at the fest will be the Halloween Costume Contest. Everyone is invited to participate and has a chance to win over 1.5 million won in prizes. I actually won second prize a few years back for my ‘Chimaek costume” and can attest that the contest is a lot of fun. The Great Korean Beer Festival is being held at Yongsan Electronics shopping mall From Friday October 27th- Sunday October 29th, and runs from 1pm to 11pm. There are no separate fees for entrance, only for goods consumed inside the festival. For more information about the event please see the Great Korean Beer Fest website or facebook page.