Tag: Itaewon

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.

 

Thanksgiving Guide 2017

Woo hoo,  the holidays are upon us and that means turkey, lashings and lashings of turkey. Now being British we don’t usually celebrate Thanksgiving, but I’m on board with any holiday that revolves around food, so Thanksgiving is always an event worth celebrating in my book. Now its usually around this time of year that we miss our loved ones back home the most, them and the copious amounts of sumptuous seasonal food that we get to enjoy. And although you might be missing out on your mums cooking, you can still get a darn good turkey dinner at a number of Seoul’s restaurants.

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Dominic – For a classy yet affordable Thanksgiving feast, look no further than sleek and cool Dominic. This year’s menu includes deep fried turkey, port citrus cranberry sauce, dough bread apple bacon stuffing, Dominic’s amazing cream spinach on brioche, corn pomegranate slaw with caramelised onion mashed potato, and bourbon apple pie with hot chocolate sauce. All of this is available for 60,000 won per person on Wednesday 22nd at 7pm, Thursday 23rd at 6:30 and 8:30, or on Sunday 26th at 2pm, 5pm or 7pm. To reserve a space please call the restaurant at 02-790-7588 or check out their facebook page

Leo’s – The bar above The Concorde in HBC is offering a Thanksgiving meal this year. The feast will comprise of juicy turkey, succulent ham, buttery mashed potatoes, bacony stuffing, savoury gravy, fresh seasonal veg, freshly baked bread and served with a glass of Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon and in-house made pumpkin pie. The dinner is available on Thursday the 23rd and Friday the 24th, 7 pm to 10 pm, and is 35,000 won per person.  See the facebook page or call 010-7490-7311 for more details or to make a reservation.

Southside Parlor – For those who want to add a little bit of southern flair and some finger lickin’ goodness to their TG celebrations head on down to one of my favourite cocktail bars. The Texans will be serving Creole spiced turkey, sage cornbread stuffing, cranberry hibiscus relish, smoked gravy, cornmeal fried okra, garlic mashed potatoes, chorizo Mac & Cheese, broccoli cheddar casserole, charred corn salad, berry cobbler and a seasonal cocktail of your choice for 45,000 per person . There are two seating available 6-8pm or 8:30-10:30pm on both Thanksgiving Thursday (Nov. 23rd) and Sunday (Nov. 26th), Seats must be reserved  in advance via their facebook event page.

WinK –  From Thursday November 24th- Sunday November 27th you can get a thanksgiving dinner plate with a beer or mulled cocktail for 32,000. The plate will include turkey, sausage and apple stuffing, roast garlic mashed potatoes, home style gravy, asparagus casserole, 5 Mac & Cheese, red wine cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. There will be two seatings for each night one at 6pm and one at 8pm. And for those of you who really want to celebrate they have an all you can drink option for an extra 10,000-20,000. Reservations are recommended, you can make them through their facebook event page.

Route 66 – Route 66 will be celebrating with their 4th Thanksgiving dinner. The 40,000 dinner includes a drink,  turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, 66’s sweet potato casserole, corn bread, veggies, pumpkin and apple pie w/vanilla ice cream. See their facebook event page for more details or to buy a ticket.

Cali Kitchen will be hosting its third annual Thanksgiving dinner. The menu hasn’t been completely confirmed yet but will include a welcome drink, Peruvian Sous Vide Turkey  , and Wagyu Pastrami and of course plenty of sides. If you have tried the Cali Kitchen Pastrami before, you will know that it is not to be missed. There will be two seatings on Friday, November 24th at 6:15pm, and 8:30pm. Tickets cost 50,000 per person. See their event page for more details or to make a reservation.

Bull and Barrel – On Thursday November 23rd, Friday November 24th & Sunday November 26th Bull & Barrel will be serving up their annual all you can eat buffet. You can stuff yourself ’til you pop for 40,000 per person. The buffet includes an alcoholic beverage, turkey, ham, sage and onion stuffing, mashed & roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, gravy, mac & cheese and pumpkin pie! There are two seating on Thursday 24th of November one at 6:30 & 8:30 pm, one on Friday at 6:30pm and three on Sunday the 27th of November at 4pm, 6pm, and 8pm. You can reserve your table via text message on 010-9982-2423 or by messaging them via their facebook event page.

Plant – This year Plant is offering a Vegan Thanksgiving, for those who eat a meat free diet. The dinner includes Plant’s housemade Tofurkey, Mashed potatoes, Homestyle gravy, Grilled stuffing loaf, Pumpkin squash soup, Walnut cranberry bread, Sautéed greens, Kohlrabi apple slaw, Cranberry sauce, you choice of Pumpkin pie or Apple crumble and a glass of wine or craft beer. There are two seatings on Thursday November 243rd, tickets cost 29,000won, and reservations are recommended, call 02-749-1981 or check out their facebook page to make one. 

Vatos Urban Collective – For those not remotely interested in Turkey then Drinksgiving at Vatos could be just the event you are looking for. The cocktail and live music event  will be held on Friday November 24th from 7pm-10pm. Tickets include four drinks coupons and entry to the concert. Tickets cost 33,000, see their facebook event page for more details.

The Four Seasons – For those who want to keep it classy on such a fine occasion The Four Seasons Hotel will have Turkey Dinner To Go packages available from the 19th of November – 31st of December for those who want to dine at home without the work. Their package which costs 250,000 includes 5-6kg roasted turkey, Grilled Four Seasons Pork Sausage Roll, Butter-Sauteed Green Beans, Grilled Corn, Roasted Pumpkin, Carrots with Orange Sauce, Cranberry Sauce, Giblet Gravy (Red Wine Sauce), Apple Cinnamon Tart with Vanilla Sauce and Whipped Cream. Turkeys need to be ordered at least three days in advance, you can order one by calling +82 2 6388 5530. The JW Marriott Dongdaemun also has a similar offer. See their website for details. 

 

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.

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.

Linus BBQ – HBC

Southern style barbecue has been a big old trend in these parts over the past year or two, though very few places have managed enjoy the success of Linus Kim. The Linus Itaewon location has had queues around the clock since it opened, and the variety of copycats haven’t made a dent in it. Luckily for those of us who like the food but don’t want  to wait in line for the privilege, Linus has just opened up a second location in Haebangchon.

The new place is set over two floors and is located 3/4 of the way up the main road in Haebangchon. On the first floor is the bar with some counter style seating overlooking the scenic beauty that is HBC, while upstairs is the kitchen and the familiar wooden tables and chairs. The paint is still practically wet on this place, as it only opened during Chuseok so we were easily able to grab a table for dinner. Once the word spreads I am sure this will change, however unlike the other location this one will take reservations, saving you from those monumental queues if you plan ahead.

Like its customers stomachs, the Linus menu has grown in size at this new location. All the favourites are still on, as are the lunchtime sandwiches, and the new smoked chickens. Having eaten the pulled pork and brisket about a thousand times I was very excited to try the muster of Linus’ chicken. You can eat it in a variety of ways, but we sprung for the new Smoked Chicken Platter (22,000). This comes with a whole smoked chicken, six sliders, white sauce, tomato salad and taters and gravy. The chicken had a real heady smokey flavour throughout and came away nicely from the bones. The skin wasn’t as crisp as I might have liked it, but it was in no way under cooked either. The meat was tender and juicy and went very well with the new white BBQ sauce. I liked this thick garlicky white sauce a lot. I have to say I was very impressed with the size of this smoked chicken platter. Both TFB and myself can eat a lot but we struggled to finish half of this as we ordered another dish. I think we both would have left full and happy, had we only had this especially as it works out to only 11,000 per person.

One of my favourite items from Linus is the Da Bomb Sandwich (13,900), but  they only serve it at lunch at the Itaewon branch. Due to my schedule I am not often a lady who lunches, so  rarely got to indulge as often as I would have liked. The toasted bun is layered with brisket, cheese, caramelized onions, fried pickles and a sweet BBQ sauce. I love the combination of the tender smokey meat, with the cheese and onions. With the slightly sourness and crunch from the deep fried pickles it just ticks all my flavour boxes. We made this sandwich into set for an extra 2,500 won for our sandwich which included two sides of our choice, I got the creamy slaw and skinny fries. For some reason all the sandwich set upgrades are different prices which I found odd, as surely the sides cost the same no matter the sandwich. Hopefully it is just an oversight on the menu.

Not only does Linus have good food, they have a damn fine drinks menu too. My favourite is the Pina Colada (21,000). This gigantic frozen drink  is suggested for two, but being a bit of a lush I prefer it for one. As you can see it is served in a hollowed out pineapple. The cocktail itself incredibly tasty, creamy, and refreshing and has a good flavour of rum coming through. They also serve it with a cup of pineapple that hasn’t been used in your drink which I find a really nice touch. The rest of the drinks menu is equally stellar, and having had quite a few over the years I can definitely give them my seal of approval.

Overall I am quite pleased with the new locations, and vow to head there more often. Fingers crossed it wont be as busy as the Itaewon branch, but if that does happen you can still make a reservation. The new menu items are great, and they have some affordable sandwiches on offer too, which would make a cheap takeout dinner if you live locally.

Linus is located at 37-5 Yongsan-dong 2 ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong station (line 6). Walk straight out of exit 2 for about 200 meters and take the first left and walk straight along the road with all the kimchi pots. Keep walking straight along this street past Phillies & Casablanca. You will see Linus BBQ a little further up on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-790-2930 or check out their facebook page. They are open everyday from 11am -10:30pm (kitchen closes at 9:30pm).

Lord

Despite my plans to do ‘Sober October”, it feels like I have been out drinking a hell of a lot lately, but there are just so many places to go to. I’ve been hearing good things about Lord which is attached to the very popular Fountain for months now. I love a good cocktail especially when it comes with a discount price tag, but despite walking past the bar dozens of times and seeing their special offer board I never actually ventured in until last week.

Lord looks pretty fancy from the outside with its velvet rope and all, but it is even fancier on the inside. The 1920s style bar is gilded with gold and filled with sumptuous banquets and a vintage piano. It was fairly busy when we arrived on a Wednesday night and we were given a seat at the bar. As soon as we sat down we were given a complimentary glass of Perrier Jouet while we looked over the menu. A feature which I wish all bars had. I didn’t take much time to decided as I knew it was Mojito day! Every Wednesday the bar offers a mojito cocktail for only 5,000 won. Under usual circumstances I would be very suspicious of any bar serving up a 5,000 won mojito. I am very fussy when it comes to drinks, however these were absolutely splendid as you can see. The mojito was expertly made and a very good size, though it didn’t take me long to finish it and order another. An absolute steal! ,

My companion was in the mood for a French Connection (15,000) Which is a mix of Brandy, Ameretto and Grand Marnier. It was adorned with one of their homemade maraschino cherries, was the perfect cocktail to sip throughout the night. If the free champagne & cheap mojitos weren’t  enough, the bar also passes out free canapes. Sadly the ones we tried consisted of crudites and cheap mayonnaise, and Costco cheese with an olive on top but we appreciated the effort none the less.

Lord has 5,000  specials happening all throughout the week. Sundays they have Flatbreads, Mondays – Margaritas, Tuesdays – 5,000 12yr scotch, Wednesdays – Mojitos, Thursdays – Hendricks and Tonic. The 5,000 specials, coupled with the exquisite bar and free champs on arrival are totally making Lord my favourite bar in town right now, and you’ll be hard pushed to find a better deal on a week night if you are looking to go somewhere for a couple of drinks.

Lord is located at 116-7, Itaewondong, Yongsangu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Take the first left and walk to the end of the street, then turn left again. It’s on your right. For more information you can call them on 010-9696-7951 or check out their facebook page. Lord is open everyday day from 6pm -5am.

Mozzie

Before my Chuseok jaunt to Thailand & Hong Kong, I was invited to Mozzie try their new in house wines. I have always dreamed of coming out with my own brand of wines possibly called ‘Drunk Girl’ so kudos for the Mozzie team for brewing their own. The Aussie cum Kiwi bar and restaurant located on Hooker Hill in Itaewon has been open for almost two years. To celebrate these momentous two years they have come out with their own two wines, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Pinot Noir both made in Malborough, New Zealand. Now I’m no expert when it comes to wine, I generally prefer vodka but I’m not completely clueless either. Malborough wines are very popular right now, especially in the UK, in fact they are pretty much all my family tend to drink. So being the lush that I am, I was very excited to go and give them a try.

First up was the Sauvignon Blanc, which is 8,000 for a glass or 35,000 for a bottle. This was the one I was most excited about, as I generally prefer white over red and a sauv blanc is usually one of my favourites. The wine was light and very drinkable, not too dry and it had a refreshing hint of citrus. At 13% it certainly packed a punch, after one glass on an empty stomach I was buzzed.  Thankfully we had ordered the Cut the Cheese (22,000), a salad topped with homemade ricotta which took the edge off. The ricotta on this salad was sensational, it was so smooth and velvety, while the dressing on the salad provided a nice tang. It worked really well with the wine, especially while sat on the balcony enjoying the last of the good weather.

For our second course, we delved into the Pinot Noir which is also 8,000 for a glass or 35,000 for a bottle. Whenever the words Pinot Noir, are uttered, I cant help but think about the song sang by Titus Andromedon from Kimmy Schmidt, so had to include the video below. Pinot Noir is TFB’s favourite wine, so I knew he would adore this. The almost translucent red had plenty of girth to it while still being quite smooth. Again it was very drinkable and I could see how it would be very easy to finish a bottle.  Alongside the Pinot, we ate the Canberra Carpaccio (22,000), slices of beef tenderloin topped with spinach, truffle oil, Parmesan and nuts. This was a great companion dish for the wine, as the heady scent of the truffles added a real richness. The salad was a very filling dish, without being too heavy. Sat outside on the balcony I felt very European in the evening sun, we were also afforded an excellent view of the local scenery.

Overall I thought the new Mozzie wines to be delightful, and very reasonably priced. In fact if you get them to go, it is only 24,000 for the sauvignon blanc and 32,000 for the pinot noir. They also have an amazing Wino Wednesday promotion where the wine is half price for both a glass and a bottle if you order a main dish. If you prefer to do your drinking in the comfort of your own home, where you can pass out without fear of judgement you can get the bottles delivered via shuttle, along with the rest of their menu. If you have yet to use shuttle, please click here for 4000 won off on your first order.

Mozzie is located at 126-7 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul. To get there take the subway to Itaewon station(line 6), and come out of exit 3. Walk straight until the next intersection and take a right. Cross the road and take the first left (by Mr Kebab). Mozzie is up on your left maybe 50m up that road, opposite the infamous Old Town. For more information you can call them on +82 10-9417-9554 or check out their facebook page. Mozzie is open every day from 5pm-12am.

Chuseok Restaurant Guide

Happy Holidays one and all. If you hadn’t noticed it is is Chuseok, and we have been gifted something even better than a luxurious Spam box set, 9 days of vacation! Like most of the country I am leaving the city once again to go travelling, but I couldn’t leave those of you not vacationing high and dry so wanted to put together this quick restaurant guide to let you know whats open and when.

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California Kitchen & Pub has a Chuseok special serving up some incredible home made pastrami. You can get it in an incredible Reuben Sandwich, a Pastrami Burger, or Pastrami Chili Fries. They also have all their regular Cali style Mexican dishes and craft beers. They are open for lunch and dinner from 11:30am-11:30pm.

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NY Burger & Bagel serves up some damn fine burgers and is open throughout the holidays everyday from 12pm-9pm. They have branches in Itaewon and in Gangnam. My favourite is Wasabiiii but there are a lot of other great burgers on the menu.

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WinK is the place to eat and drink near Kyodae in Gangnam. The menu offers burgers, pub grub and brunch and is open throughout the holidays from 11am-11:30pm. Don’t miss out on trying the burgers, or their boozy brunch options.

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Brera is without a doubt my favourite affordable Italian in Seoul. They have incredible freshly made pasta, gnocchi, and pizzas, as well as an all day breakfast and brunch menu. They are open throughout the holidays from 11am-11pm.

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Summer Lane Cafe – Summer Lane is my new favourite spot for brunch and thankfully it is only closed tomorrow (Oct 2nd). On Tuesday & Wednesday they are open from 8:30-3:30, and 8:30am – 8:00 pm the rest of the week. The Aussie brunch items and are not to be missed, especially the Eggs Benedict and croissant french toast.

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Plant is probably Seoul’s best vegan cafe and bakery and thankfully it is open throughout the holidays except on Wednesday (October 4th) from 11am-9pm. They have an incredible menu filled with healthy and delicious cruelty free delights. Taco Tuesday is particularly good, as are the burgers.

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Lobster Bar is renowned for their lobster and lobster sandwiches, but they also have a whole host of fishy treats on the menu and some great beers. They are open everyday of the holidays except Wednesday (October 4th) from 12pm-9pm.

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Shuttle Delivery is open throughout the whole entire holidays, so if you are in desperate need of sustenance but don’t quite have the energy to leave the house they will bring you what you need. Many of the restaurants will be closed at some point but not at the same time, so you will always be able to get something delivered.