Tag: Itaewon

Nekkid Wings

Passing through Itaewon a few weeks ago I came across a mural of a naked man, so of course I used the opportunity to take some hilarious selfies. Also in the picture was what looked like a brown splodge, and it finally clicked a few days later that this was the home of Nekkid Wings. The newest addition to Itaewon’s restaurant scene is the cool and fun restaurant specialising in, you guessed it, chicken wings.

The restaurant is located in the myriad of alleyways just by Linus’ BBQ. The restaurant is in quite a large space and it was packed on the weekend night we visited. It’s best to go with friends as all the wings are served on huge platter like boards. The menu offers wings by themselves but we opted to go for the Double Platter (28,000) which comes with 20 wings, 2 sides, 2 celery and carrot sticks and 2 dips. Being a large group we also got the Party Platter (56,000) which is 40 wings, 4 sides, 3 celery and carrot sticks and 3 dips. These two happily fed seven of us.

There are a whopping 11 different flavours of sauce on the menu and I am sure they are set to add more. One thing I also appreciated was that you can choose a different flavour per 5 wings that you order, so even if you are going for a simple 10 you still get to try two different kinds. The wings themselves have a crispy exterior and have juicy white meat inside.We tried virtually every flavour on the menu and the firm favourites of the large group were the buffalo and the BBQ but that is to be expected. More out there flavours we liked were the Amazinger, a kind of Yangnyum type, and the Mandarin which was my personal favourite. Honestly the only one we didn’t care for was the Korean style ,probably because of the doenjang, which kind of ruined the flavour for me.

The wing platters come with sides, and we of course tried them all. The big onion ring was my favourite, it’s not made from a giant onion but lots of small chopped up onions, breaded and deep fried. It was delish. The shoe string fries were also decent but nothing memorable, the hand cooked crisps were my least favourite. There are also two dips available, a ranch and blue cheese. The ranch was from a bottle and tasted a little sickly and artificial, but the blue cheese on the other hand was made in house and much better, hopefully they will sort out the ranch in time because I consider it to be a very important part of the wing experience.

There are a variety of craft beers on the menu which vary between 6,000 – 8,000 and they also have a signature cocktails on the menu called Nekkid Sour(7,500). I of course gave it a try and was delightfully surprised. The rosemary, gin, and earl grey concoction was a refreshing blend of sweet and sour, not to dissimilar to a long island ice tea.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by Nekkid Wings and I shall certainly go again. It’s something new and different and is perfect for large groups. We all left full and happy and that is good enough for me.

Nekkid Wings is located at 174-11, Noksapyeong-daero, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 2) and come out of exit three. Walk straight and then cross left over to Itaewon at the crossing. Go down the alleyway ahead on the left and walk straight. For more information you can call them on 010-5891-7411 or check out their facebook page. They are open everyday except Monday from 11:30am – 11:30pm, with a break from 3pm-4pm on weekdays. 

+ 84 – Itaewon

Last week I got some very exciting news +84, a Vietnamese joint I love in Insadong, opened its second branch in Itaewon. What better way to celebrate than with a bowl of delicious Bun Cha. The restaurant is located in behind the main road on the Wolfhound road. They have taken over the spot which used to be occupied by Chinese dumpling place, Chungaeka Dumpling.

The new location is about 3 times bigger than the last one, which is good news to anyone who stood in line waiting to get in at the original. The menu has also grown considerably and quite a few new dishes have been added since my last visit. I should also note that some of the prices have gone up, though considering the size of the new restaurant and its location I am not surprised.

The first thing we ordered was a bowl of their delicious Bun Cha (11,000), as it’s my favourite Vietnamese dish. The bun cha is a sweet and sour kind of cold soup, which is stuffed with veggies and pieces of pork, it’s served with a pile of rice noodles on the side and a heap of salad. I was really excited to eat this again, but I’m not sure if it was quite so flavourful as last time, it was still pretty decent but the meat seemed a little different to me which may have affected the overall flavour. We did however enjoy the addition of the Vietnamese herbs, which we were told were imported and the reason for the price increase, which seems fair. As well as the bun cha, we also ordered a portion of the Fried Spring Rolls (6,000). These were were crispy and delicious, and the perfect side to eat along side the soup.

Being two very big eaters we also decided to get a Bahn Mi on the side. There are several varieties available but we got the grilled pork and lemon grass (7,000). The bread on this baby was excellent, not sure where it comes from but I need to find out! This is the bread that sandwich dreams are made of, it was lusciously crisp on the outside while being lovely and soft in the middle. The grilled pork had tonnes of flavour, and was topped with pickled veggies, sriracha, and a nice drizzle of mayo. This wasn’t the most traditional version on the menu but I liked it. You’d be hard pushed to find someone who’d be unhappy with one of these for lunch.

Overall I am pretty chuffed that +84 have come to party and am looking forward to trying more of the menu over the next few visits. They had only been open for a few days when I visited so I’m sure it will take them a little bit of time to tweak that bun cha until its perfect, but generally I see a lot of promise.

Plus 84 is located at 2F 61 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon station(line 6) and come out exit 4. Walk straight until you get to Dillinger’s and then take the stairs down to your left. Take a right at the bottom of the stairs and walk along that road. It is on your right hand side. for more information you can call them on 02-797-0838 or check out their facebook page. They are open everyday from 11:30 am -9:30pm.

Seoul’s Best Burger

Move over Fashion week, it is time for Seoul’s most important event, American Burger Week! Well technically it’s burger fortnight. From April 14th –  28th, 13 of Seoul’s burger restaurants will be participating in the special event which is being hosted by the US Beef Council. The restaurants involved are Gony’s, Gilbert’s Burger & Fries, NY B&B, The Melting Pot, Devils door, Rye Post, Meat & Bun, Burger B, Say cheese, Itaewon the Burger, Kinders, Firebell, and Fingertips. I’m told that all the restaurants in question use American beef and will be running promotions and giveaways for the two weeks. Now I  haven’t been to all of the restaurants in question,  but I have been to a fair few, some I was in love with, some not so much. So as it’s burger week and all, I thought I would use this opportunity to list my favourite places in Seoul to get a burger.

1. Itaewon the Burger – This baby while still quite new is absolutely top of my list, number one because the burgers are flame grilled hunks of deliciousness but also because it’s in my neigbourhood. There are two burgers that I love here. The Big Double Burger (12,900) which includes two meat patties, bacon and cheese, or the Avocadict burger (13,800), which includes a mountain of avocado, a beef patty, cheese, bacon, pickles, special sauce, lettuce and tomato. The prize for number one probably has to go to the Big Double, as the Avocadict although delicious fails at being a burger slightly by being so impossible to eat.

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2. NY B&B – This place is my Gangnam go to. Again this place is fairly new, but they have really came up with some awesome homemade burgers. The Wasabi Burger (11,500) is probably my favourite. This delight is topped with Pepper Jack cheese, grilled onion, shiitake mushroom, and wasabi mayo. As much as I love wasabi I was first a little skeptical about this meaty treat but it has ended up being my favourite on their menu. The menu is pretty large, so there is something for everyone. Special mentions for the Once in a Bleu Moon and the Bubba Gump which were both pretty good too.

3. Gony’s – Gony’s is a new comer to me and I was kinda torn between this one and Gilbert for third place but I decided to give Gony’s the edge because they also serve a mean chicken burger and that is pretty hard thing to find in Seoul. On the beef front the Bacon Cheeseburger (9,800) is pure perfection and everything you are looking for in a good old fashioned burger.

4. Gilbert’s Burgers & Fries – Gilbert’s always serves a good burger and they have quite a few locations too, making it the most accessible on the list. My favourite burger on their menu is the 5oz Gilbert (10,500). This one is topped with American cheese, red onion, tomato, lettuce, bacon, fried egg, and a homemade sauce. As you can see from above the egg yolk oozes out of the side of the burger which really gets my motor running and adds an extra richness to the burger.

5. WinK – Last place on this list goes to WinK who have been making some really solid burgers for the past year. I’m kinda torn when it comes to choosing my favourite though. I adore The Mega Burger (14,000), which has everything but the kitchen sink on it but it really works. Inside the buttered bun is a 150g whole beef patty, pulled pork, several kinds of cheese, egg, avocado, lettuce onions, tomato, and mayo. However I’m also partial to the brand new Mushroom & Emmental burger (11,500), which I tried on my last brunch visit. So I guess it depends on whether you like mushrooms or not.

Do you agree or disagree? Have I missed out your favourite? Please comment below with your thoughts about Seoul’s best burger.  For more details about Korea Burger Week  check out their website. For full reviews and directions of the restaurants please click the links above.

RMonster Del Mare

Last week a very charming young man invited to me out to one of his good friend’s restaurants. I don’t usually make a habit of going on dates with men who aren’t my boyfriend, but the cupboards were pretty bare that week and a girl’s gotta eat. When he told me the theme of the restaurant I was a bit skeptical but after looking at the menu online, I thought the place had promise, so agreed to give it a go. From the outside the place really doesn’t look like much, but once you go inside it is very charming. The entry wall is stuffed with lobster paraphernalia, a la American vintage style seaside town that you went to on your summer vacations. While inside is a mix of wood and brick, making it modern and chic at the same time.

Since we were guests of the proprietor all the food was chosen for us, but we did get to choose our own wine. Being the classy group that we are, we of course selected the cheapest which turned out to be a very nice Chardonnay (25,000). This was actually a really drinkable white, and not being much of a wine drinker I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. It was so nice in fact we ended up drinking two bottles.  The bottles on the rest of the menu are mostly around the 35,000 mark so the chardonnay really was quite a bargain.

After we had settled in with a glass of vino our first dish turned up, which was the Truffle mac & Cheese (7,000). Not only did this look amazing it tasted good too, lots of creamy cheese sauce and oodles of melted cheese on top. It was a little light on the truffle oil for me, but overall it had a nice flavour. It was especially good towards the end when we threw in some of the lobster meat with it, a winning combination if ever there was one.

Not long after we had dug into the mac and cheese, an enormous wooden platter filled with lobsters turned up. I kinda couldn’t believe this was all for us, it was pretty magical. The Cheese Stuffed Whole Lobster (78,000), is a speciality of the restaurants. At first I was a little uncertain at first, I mean cheese and lobster, but why the hell not? I have never had melted cheese on my lobster before but I certainly wasn’t opposed to it. I found that the tail meat was a bit on the tough side but the claws were glorious, the slightly salty meat was moist, tender, and melted in the mouth. The lobsters came served with a good spicy mayo aioli thing, and a very dubious looking cabbage topped with mayo and corn, which we pretty much ignored.

By the time the lobster was eaten you’d have thought we would be done but out comes a sizzling pan of Meat (38,000). Ours was a double potion so you usually get two lamb chops, one steak and two sausages. The stand out to me was the homemade sausage, man were these good, slightly spicy, full of flavour, if they sold these deli style I would buy them in a heartbeat. The lamb chops were delicious, though overcooked for my taste, as was the steak, it’s good meat so if you like it more on the rare side then be sure to let them know when ordering. Again the sauces on the side were a nice selection, a BBQ type gravy, mint jelly and mustard. Again this was a lot of food for the price and I can’t imagine anyone being unhappy, we were all stuffed by the time the meat was finished.

Overall I didn’t have the best expectations going in and so I was pleased to have them exceeded. The food was tasty and filling and considering the kind of ingredients I think very fairly priced. I’d certainly go back again. They are launching a new menu this week, which includes all the dishes we tried. So if you are looking for something a little bit different or are in the mood for a cheese stuffed lobster then head on down to Itaewon.

RMonster Del Mare is located at 127-6 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul . To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. walk straight, you will see R Monster Del Mar just ahead of you after the police station on the second floor. For more information you can call them on 010-2758-1558 or check out their facebook page. They are open everyday from 11:30am – 2am.

Itaewon Gogit Jip

I have been meaning to write a review of this place ever since the HBC branch shut down. It was a sad sad day in HBC when the gogit jip closed it doors for the final time. However just up the street in Itaewon is actually a bigger and better location. Its pretty much the same deal as the HBC branch an all you can eat meat extravaganza of Korean BBQ for 16,900 won per person. As you can see below you have 90 minutes to eat as much meat as you can, though this is more than ample. You should also remember to bring cash or pay 1,500 extra for using a card.

Being a total greedy guts the all you can eat offering lights up my world, I can eat until my jeans are straining and my belly begs me stop. The place is huge for starters, making it perfect for large groups, plus the all you can eat option makes it a hell of a lot easier when it comes to splitting the bill. It is also ideal for newbies as can try all the different cuts of meat without the bill spiralling out of control. The place sadly no longer offers its all you can drink beer for 5,000 which is a shame but the beer and soju are cheap enough that you can frivolously add a few bottles on to your tab.

Depending on the size of your party your be deposited a wooden board or two with a selection of meats. Personally I rather enjoy this because you get a bit of everything but if you want to stick to one cut then you can do that too. It usually varies from visit to visit and I’m assuming on the price of the meat but this time  we got rib eye, samgyubsal, moksal,cheek, and some other bit which we couldn’t quite figure out. You can also help yourself to banchan(side dishes), the waitress will bring the first round but after that you get it yourself. In regards to sides they have a fair selection with the obligatory kimchi, beansprouts, chillies, onions, garlic, spicy pickled lotus root (which I’m kind of obsessed with), salad, and all the samjang you can eat.

My favourite meat of the selection it is probably the ribeye, which we always have first, probably because its the quickest to cook and we always starving by the time we arrive. Thrown on the hot coals were two huge slabs of steak. While it isn’t going to be the best quality steak you’ve ever eaten it will certainly satisfy your carnivorous cravings.

After the beef had been devoured we worked our way on to the pork cuts. My favourite is the pork belly (samgyupsal) because I like a fatty cut but we were also given galburisal (cheek) which we really enjoyed. The pork is perfect for turning into lettuce wraps when topped with samjang and all the accompanying vegetables. Kind of like a Korean take on a DIY taco.

After that if you aren’t full you can order more of whatever you like which is usually ribeye. They also have quite an array of side dishes which you can pay extra for. Personally I’d rather skip the rice and soup and have more meat but if you can’t live without your bap or jiggae you can order it on the side. The place tends to get pretty busy on weekends so try and arrive as early as possible left you find yourself in a big queue. However there are plenty of good bars near by so you can always grab yourself a drink while you wait.

Itaewon Gogit Jip is located at 9 Itaewon-ro 19-gil Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon station (line 6) and come out of exit 1. Walk straight, and take the first right after KFC. Walk to the end of the until you reach the road which runs parallel to the main road. Then turn left and walk to the very end of the alley way. You will see HBC Gogitjip just up ahead in the alleyway next to Grill 5 taco on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-3785-0514. They are open everyday from 6pm onwards.

Bao Bar

Despite the cold weather and slow season, new restaurants have been popping up in the hood left right and centre. One of these newbies is Bao Bar, a restaurant located above Nori Table, and Gino’s Pizzeria which is specialising in serving bao buns. As a new spot they invited me along to come and give their menu a try and after seeing some of their food online I really couldn’t resit. The new spot is located on the third floor of the hottest new building in town. Despite it only being finished at the end of last year the place already houses four restaurants, so I’m guessing the rent must be a total bargain (yeah right). The restaurant itself is small but light and airy thanks to the huge floor to ceiling windows taking up one side. The kitchen runs along another wall so you can see what’s going on in there too. The menus come on iPads which I always think is pretty darn cool, but if you are a bit of a technophobe it’s also on a chalk board.

The first item I tried was the Pork Bao (4,900). This little beauty was stuffed with braised pork belly, peanut powder, coriander, and pickled cucumber. This is the most classic version I feel, and very similar to the bao buns I have tasted elsewhere. As soon as I bit into it a loud and resounding Mmm was heard. It may not be very scientific but this is how I like to judge my food, and If it makes me groan with pleasure then its usually a good sign. The pork belly was melt in the mouth and worked perfectly with the other ingredients. It was the ideal mix of sweet, salty and sour. The size is fairly decent and there is plenty of meat inside, you order them in pairs so two should leave you reasonably satisfied, though if you are as greedy as me you may want four.

At the moment there are currently only two bao buns on offer, the other being  the Truffle Bao (4,900). This baby was stuffed with mushrooms, parmesan cheese and truffle oil. Again this bao bun was delicious, another total orgasmic Mmm was heard. I honestly would be hard pushed to pick which one I liked more. Nothing gets me going like buttery mushrooms and truffle oil and throw in some parmesan and you have yourself a partay! If you are a fan of mushrooms then this one is a must try. There are a couple more baos on the menu that are set to come soon, including a fried chicken and a spicy lamb which i am dying to try, but so far so good on the baos!

The menu is not just bao buns,  they have a couple of asian salads, pasta dishes, and this delicious Buttermilk fried Chicken (18,500). The crispy fried chicken is coated in their own signature sauce which is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. The chicken is a mix of wings and boneless pieces which I really liked and the portion is ample. Our only note was that we would like a creamy dip on the side for dipping, and they obliged us with a small pot of their Caesar salad dressing, which worked quite well.

Lastly we had to try the Truffle Fries (7,500), I mean who can resist fries topped with parmesan cheese and truffle oil. These were pretty much as good as they looked, totally nommy. Crispy and tasty, and a nice flavour of truffles throughout. My companion said she may even like them more than the ones at another of our favourite restaurants, and that is really saying something.

Bao Bar is still a new restaurant but my experience was great, the atmosphere is chilled and laid back and the food was absolutely delicious. Its so great to see that we are getting new food items in the city and I can see bao buns being a big hit with both Koreans and expats. The menu is only going to expand over time so if you are hankering after some yummy buns of meaty goodness go pay them a visit.

Bao Bar is located at 3F 455-47 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and exit using the lift. Walk over the bridge and then take a right, follow the road around and you will see Gino’s Pizzeria just ahead on the corner above Nori Table. Walk around the corner past the Gino’s entrance and walk up the stairs and take the lift up to the third floor. For more information you can call them on 02-6012-0780 or check out their facebook page. They are closed on Mondays and open for lunch from 12pm-3pm and for dinner from 5:30pm – 10pm. 

Morococo Cafe

Moroccan restaurant Casablanca in Haebangchon is pretty widely regarded as serving Seoul’s best sandwich, if not the world’s. If you have still yet to try it, then stop whatever you are doing right now and go give it a try, you will not be disappointed. Due to its popularity the tiny restaurant has expanded year after year, along with the menu.  However owning one restaurant was clearly not enough to the Moroccan brother duo who started the place and they have since cast their net a little wider to include a second location, which is located just across the street in fact.

The new Morococo Cafe has an entirely different menu than flagship store Casablanca. As the restaurant has only been open for about two weeks they are still in their soft opening phase, so the menu is still quite tiny. Since there are only three dishes on the menu and two sides, we figured it would be churlish not to give everything a try. We also decided to get ourselves a glass each of wine, because at 5,000 a glass, why the hell not!

We started the meal with the Carrot Salad (5,000). As salads go this one is pretty banging, if you’ve ever had the carrot salad across the street this is a jazzed up version. The fabulous spice marinated carrots are topped with prunes, toasted almonds and feta cheese, it’s unbelievable, especially for the price. All the flavours and textures just work so well together.  If they were open for lunch this is what I would be eating every day.

After the salad we moved on to the main course of Lemon Chicken & Green Olives (11,000). This isn’t my first time tasting this dish, I was lucky enough to try it at pop up event they hosted a few years back. For me this was the star dish of the evening. The tender slow cooked chicken effortlessly fell of the bone and was full of so much flavour, the salty olives complimented the dish perfectly and it was served with freshly baked Moroccan Bread (2,000) to sop up all the left over juices. There wasn’t a speck left in my dish by the time I was finished with it, it was absolutely heavenly.

Four our second main we got the Lamb Kefta Tagine (11,000). Not too dissimilar to the Lamb Shakshuka on the menu across the street. Little lamb meatballs were cooked in tasty spiced tomato sauce, and served with an egg yolk in the middle. This is exactly what you want to be eating right now, warm and filling without being in the slightest bit heavy. If you are a big eater you may want to add a side of their delicious spiced rice too.

Overall I was thrilled with the new Morococo Cafe. The new place exudes just as much warmth and hospitality as Casablanca, and the new menu items are really well priced and flavourful. It’s the perfect week night date spot, or weekend for that matter. I can’t wait to see what else they will add to the menu once they are fully open. I heard a rumour on the grape vine that there may be a lamb shank dish coming soon, which is very exciting indeed as you can never have too much lamb.

Morococo Cafe is located at 45-9 Yongsan-dong, 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. You will see Morococo Cafe a little further up on the right hand side opposite Casablanca. For more information you can call them on 010-4228-8367 or check out their facebook page. They are open from 5pm – 9pm everyday, except Mondays.

Root

I like to consider myself a healthy eater, (seriously lol). I believe in the ying-yang approach, super healthy followed by super unhealthy to create balance in an otherwise unstable world. Now while I spend most of my time looking for Seoul’s more fattening fair, and reserve the healthy stuff for home I do enjoy a nutritious and delicious meal out and about once in a while. For the past few months I have read dozens of good reviews for Root in Hannam-dong, so after putting on some serious weight due to sheer laziness on my part, I figured it was about time I got back on the wagon and gave salads another try.

The cafe is located at the Hannam end of Itaewon, an area I often fail to visit, but hosts a whole load of cute and quirky places. The restaurant is located just off the main drag on the second floor.  The place is very white, light and airy, and makes you feel virtuous just walking into it. It also has a mix of indoor and outdoor seating which is a real rarity in this city. I’m sure come summer this place will be a packed to the rafters with sun worshippers try to get their beach bodies in shape.

The menu is located up at the counter where you will need to order your food, and has a mix of salads, sandwiches and Korean inspired dishes. After much humming and hawing I decided to order the Avocado Toast (8,500), since both of my dining companions had ordered salads. I really liked this dish a lot, I mean avocado and poached eggs is always a winner, and it came served on a lovely thick slice of toast. The bacon added a nice saltiness, and the cherry tomatoes a little acidic zing. My only complaint is that I wish the portion was double the size, but if you are a light eater this is ideal. Slap a mimosa on the side and you’ve got brunch, although as Root doesn’t serve alcohol you will have to bring your own!

As well as my Avocado toast I thought I would treat myself to a smoothie. They have two on the menu and I went for Orange, Banana, and Greek Yogurt (6,500). This was really disappointing, first the way it was served was just quite sad. They make an extra effort to put their water in biodegradable cups then serve their rather expensive smoothies in cheap plastic cups. The whole thing was utterly tasteless too, I was so uninspired I could barely bring myself to take a photo of it. Be sure to give it a miss.

One of my dining companions went for the Green Bowl (12,500). A mix of chicken, kale, romaine, avocado, cherry tomato, Parmesan cheese, Parmesan chips, and Caesar dressing. Honestly this was alright, but nothing to write home about, it was a nice enough salad, with a good ratio of ingredients but it didn’t really have me longing for more. The dressing was a bit wishy-washy too, I like my Ceasar dressing to really sing to my taste buds.

My other gal pal about town ordered the Red Bowl (13,000) which consists of chicken, brown rice, romaine, avocado, corn, black bean, salsa, sour cream, mozzarella and cilantro chipotle dressing. This was definitely my favorite of the two. A little bit more flavour from the dressing but again not a salad I would go out of my way for. She also ordered a bowl of soup on the side, which looked good, and she seemed to enjoy.

Overall I’m not really sure if Root lived up to its hype. I’m certainly happy to see more of this style of restaurant opening in our neighbourhood, though I don’t think the salads here were as good as the ones at nearby What A Salad.  I did however enjoy my dish, and I’d be happy to give a few of their sandwiches a try. I’d certainly be open to eating here again if i was making an extra effort to be healthy.

Root is located at 2F 741-19, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hangangjin Station (line 6) and come out of exit 1. Walk straight along this road, then take the second right. Walk straight along this road and you will see Root on the second floor in the right hand corner above Bistro Al Li. For more information you can call them on 02-797-9505. They are open everyday except Tuesday from 11:30-9pm with a break between 3:30 and 5pm on weekdays.

Souva

Greek food in Seoul has pretty much been stuck in the dark ages for the last decade. The few restaurants that have been open since the dawn of time in Itaewon rarely change their menus or inspire me to eat their food, and since my favourite place for a gyro, Baby Greek, closed down I’d pretty much given up on eating them and stuck with a good old lamb kebab to satisfy my cravings. However last week it seemed as though a new day may be dawning when Souva opened up in a gigantic second floor restaurant in Gyeongridan. It being located in my hood, I set off with a couple of friends to go give it a try. As stated the place is huge, with a large bar as soon as you walk in and plenty of window seating. The designers have stuck with the typical industrial style chic that most of the local restaurants tend to go for, along with a few colourful nods to Greek culture. I was also pleased to find that the whole menu has been designed by a British/Greek consultant chef, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the cooking world. So far so good.

As soon as I saw that the cocktails were made by Phil of Southside Parlor, I knew they would be good, so I started the eve with the Sunshine Sangria (11,000). The mix of sauvignon blanc, aperol, peach liquor and mixed fruits was sweet, refreshing and exactly what you will want to be drinking this spring. I also tried the Zeus Almighty (13,000), made with rosemary gin, blood orange cordial, Campari, and pomegranate soda. If you enjoy a Negroni you will probably be a fan of this, its slightly less bitter cousin. It was very easy to drink, I had practically finished it by the time the food arrived.

After perusing the menu we decided to split a couple of dishes between us, and the first one to come out was the Trio of Dips (14,000). From left to right there is harissa hummus, whipped feta, and tzatziki. We were also given an ample supply of pita. This is not usually worth mentioning but I don’t know how many times I’ve been to restaurants in Seoul where they have seriously got the ratio of dip to dippables completely wrong. My favourite of the bunch by a mile was the tzatziki, this is the best tzatziki I’ve had in a long time. It was so thick, creamy, and flavourful from the herbs with a nice bit of tang from the lemon. It was also extremely thick. Good Greek yogurt is hard to find here, or very expensive to make. However this stuff was stiffer than a hard…. The feta dip too was nice, very salty from the feta so you didn’t need a lot of it. The hummus was not bad either, nothing to write home about but it did the job. The pita bread was great though, it was just so soft and fresh. I was told it comes from a local bakery, I’m guessing the bakers table, but I could be wrong.

I always enjoy a salad, especially one that comes with Halloumi,  so we opted for the Halloumi, Pomegranate, Edamame and Carrot Salad(13,000). Some of my favourite ingredients were in this so I was excited. Presented it looked pretty enough but in retrospect the salad would have been easier to eat if the halloumi was cut into smaller pieces. While there was nothing wrong with the salad per se, it just seemed to be lacking, and I don’t think we even finished it in the end. This was not the first carrot salad I ate this week and compared to the other, which was a third of the price, this one just couldn’t compete. There were a couple of other salads on the menu, so I would probably try something else next time.

Finally our Lamb Pita (12,000) arrived. This was the dish I was really excited about, being a huge lamb lover and kebabs being one of my favourite takeouts at home. When I bit into it, the lamb was flavourful and super tender, thanks to it being slow cooked. No one wants to gnaw on a gristly hard bit of meat so this was excellent. The pita was thick and pillowy, the sauce tasty and tangy. This really was spot on, and very filling. I’ve never had chips inside my pita before, but I don’t think they really made a huge difference either way. But this was so good, I’m still thinking about it. I will definitely be ordering it again.

Overall I was pretty impressed with this place, it’s a much more modern take on Greek food than what we have been used to. I’m glad Greek food in Seoul is finally getting a bit of life breathed into it. The cocktails were tasty and strong, while being reasonably priced and the food was pretty tasty for the most part. The space is huge, so it will be perfect for large groups, and if it stays busy it should be a fun venue to eat in. I’m sure if this place proves to be popular we can only expect to see more Greek restaurants opening which is never a bad thing.

Souva is located at 668 Itaewon 2(i)-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station(line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight and take the underpass across the road. Take the left stairs up and follow the road around the corner Souva is on the second floor a little way along the Gyeongridan main street. For more information you can check out their website or call them on 070-8610-0277.

Beth’s Poutine

Recently I have been taking a new route to work, and that route leads me through the Bogwangdong neighbourhood. Like the ever popular Hannam, Haebangchon, and Gyeongridan, this cool little area is only a short walk from Itaewon. If you’ve yet to explore these cool little communities then it’s time to get on it as you are really missing out.This insatiable cold weather has got me seriously craving comfort food, and nothing is more comforting than chips. So after passing by several times, the blue beacon of Beth’s Poutine finally lured me in through its doors. (more…)