Tag: Middle eastern

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.

Jil’Hal Bros – Hongdae

12735841_10153849567251142_1659108526_n

One of my favourite foodie finds from last year was the chicken and rice from the Halal Bros in NYC. Then rediscovering it here in Seoul was the cherry on top of the cake. If you’ve yet to try the gloriousness that is chicken and rice, then you need to head on over to Jil’Hal Bros pronto. Since opening their first store in Cheongdam last summer, they have become insatiably popular and have since opened a second store in Hongdae. Meaning I no longer need to travel to Gangnam to get my fix, and trust me this stuff is more addictive than crack!

12714186_10153849567396142_1911732467_n

The menu is the same as the original store, tender slices of lamb or chicken over rice with salad, sauce and pita, or kebab like wraps (4,500). As much as I liked the wraps they are fairly similar to those at half a dozen or so restaurants in Itaewon, so they don’t interest me as much. However the chicken over rice is epic (6,500). It’s insane that something so simple could be as highly addictive as it is. TFB prefers the lamb (7,000) but sometimes I’m greedy and get both. In fact whilst I’m being honest I get two chicken and one lamb! Only the combination of three boxes can satisfy my crazy cravings!

12696284_10153849567571142_2022858394_n

The restaurant in Hongdae is pretty tiny but has bar style seating for about 5 if you want to eat in, they also have a couple of sodas and such forth. But whether you eat in or take away this is one treat that you need to try. Clearly the store is doing well and my wish is that they will soon open a store in Itaewon so I can eat it everyday until i grow tired of it and move on to my next obsession! But for now the new Hongdae store will do.

12746063_10153849567531142_1252495260_n

Jil’Hal Bros is located at 153-3 Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hongdae Station (line 2) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight out of that exit for maybe 100m and then turn left. Jil’Hal bros is just along this street on your right hand side. For more information you can call them on or check out their facebook page. If you are lucky enough to live near to Hongdae you can even get it delivered!

 

 

Jil’Hal Bros

One of the standouts on my trip to New York this year had to be the chicken and rice from the Halal guys street cart. Nothing fancy but those delicious giant foil containers filled with chicken, rice, salad and pita bread rocked my world and they were only a mere $7 dollars, I just couldn’t get enough. Anyhow I put the deliciousness that was chicken and rice behind me after making my own a couple of times and realizing that I would never quite strike the right balance of flavours. When one day out of the blue one of my most diligent and well sourcing foodie friends discovered Jil’Hal in Cheongdam and once again all was right with the world.

11781667_10153451232556142_3462677293509367645_n (more…)

Sinbads Kitchen

Last weekend I took two of my hungriest friends to give the Ethiopian food at Sinbad’s Kitchen a try. I’ve only had Ethiopian food once before, back in 2007 when it became London’s latest trend food. I remember being impressed and always meant to go again, but I was a bit of a party girl back in those days and preferred to save all my money for nights out rather than dinners. So when I heard on the grapevine that Sinbad’s Kitchen in Itaewon was serving up some stellar Ethiopian cuisine I couldn’t resist giving it a try.

Sinbad-interior (more…)

Shakshuka

1620706_10152234570726142_2074944482_n

Oh my god, this dish is so insanely good I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. And until a week or two ago I had never even heard of it! I was having a little browse on Pinterest when I first came across this tasty delight. I read a few recipes, and knew that I must have a go myself. The results were delicious and it’s now making its way on to our regular list. I even had The Fat Boyfriend whip us up a batch of his lovely bread to go with it.

Ingredients

5 eggs

1 tin of tomatoes

200g cherry tomatoes

2 red peppers

1 onion

3 cloves of garlic

200g chorizo (optional)

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

Olive Oil for frying

Cilantro leaves to top

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Finely chop the onion and garlic, then fry in olive oil for a few minutes until translucent. While the onions are frying chop the cherry tomatoes in half and chop the peppers into small pieces then add to the pan and fry for a few more minutes.

2. Slice the chorizo and put it in the pan with the tomatoes and peppers.

3. After the cherry tomatoes have started to break down, add the tinned tomatoes, cumin, and paprika. Simmer on a low heat for about 10 minutes. Taste, then season with salt and pepper. You should have a rich and tasty tomato sauce. If the sauce hasn’t come together cook for another 10 minutes.

4. Using the back of a spoon make a well in the sauce and gently break an egg into it. Repeat with the remaining four eggs.

1888579_10152234572031142_2026076769_n

5. You may fit more or less eggs in your pan depending on its size. The eggs will take at least 10 minutes to poach. But if you have a lid they will cook much quicker and more evenly (as I discovered on my second time making it.) Do not overcook the eggs, you want the yolks to be nice and runny. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with delicious bread.

1794669_10152193546031142_292921745_n

Lamb Meatballs

I have always found the phrase ‘the way to a mans heart is through his stomach’ to be true. It is especially true for my boyfriend and lamb. Nothing puts a smile on his face like a big chunk of meat. So he was very pleased when I brought home a bag of lamb mince from the foreign food mart.

I came over all middle eastern in this recipe, making Moroccan style spicy meatballs which have plenty of flavor. You will be in meatball heaven. I served these dry with cous cous and flatbread with a simple tzatziki style dip on the side, but you could just as easily make a tomato based spiced sauce to go along with them.

Ingredients

500g of lamb mince

1 onion

5 cloves of garlic

5 tablespoons of panko bread crumbs

1 egg

1 lemon (the zest and juice)

1 tablespoon of cumin

1 tablespoon of freshly chopped mint

1 teaspoon of coriander

1/2 a teaspoon of paprika

1/2 teaspoon of chili powder

1 tablespoon of olive oil

A pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Finely chop your garlic and onion and fry them off for five minutes until they are soft and translucent, then add the spices and fry for a few more minutes. In a bowl mix together the raw lamb mince, bread crumbs, chopped mint and onions and garlic. Add a beaten egg to the bowl and mix thoroughly.  When everything has been combined  roll the mixture into small balls.  Fry the meatballs in a little oil for 5-10 minutes until they have cooked through completely. You could also cook them in the oven. Serve with cous cous and flatbread and enjoy. Voilá my morish Moroccan meatballs.

Petra

Petra is a delightful middle eastern restaurant full of delicious delicacies for everyone. I have visited this restaurant twice now, once with a vegetarian and once with a vegan so this is good choice for anyone that can’t eat meat and a great one for those who can as they have lots of lamb on the menu. It always good to have somewhere a bit different to go to. If you’re not familiar with middle eastern food, I would urge you to give it a go.

After surveying the menu we made our choices. First up was the trio of dips, hummus, baba ganoush and labanah (10,000).  We also got an order of pita breads (1,000 each). These dips were amazing and so was the warm pita. Just thinking about them now is making my mouth water.  The hummus is insanely good, even better than mine. I am a big fan of the more, middle eastern, oily creamy version of hummus so it was great to eat one. The baba ganoush and labanah were both very tasty too. An excellent start to the meal.

We also ordered the mixed kebab (24,000) and boy were we glad we did. One of the lambs had such an amazing intense flavor on it I thought I was in food heaven. I’m not sure of the exact combination of spices that they used but I would love to recreate this at home. It produced such an indescribable taste. It was fantastic.

They have various wet curries on the menu that come with a choice of meats and different side dishes such as rice or cous cous. They vary in price but are around 15,000 each. The one I tried on my first visit was really good, but sadly for me I was too drunk to recall the name. On my second visit I went for the lamb kofte although this was a little lacking in flavor and not as good as my first one. However it may be a good choice for people who like milder food.

I was also lucky enough to try the falafels (a large portion is 10,000) , I considered making these a few weeks ago, and after rediscovering how much I like them, I will certainly be giving it a try in the near future.  They had a good texture and a great flavor. Falafel is something that we take for granted back home, I wish I could eat them everyday.

Overall I was very happy with my dinners at Petra, the food is full of flavor and well priced. Its nice to have something a little different from the usual offerings too. My only slight disappointment is that they do not serve alcohol (I got drunk before I went there, if you were wondering why I was so wasted on my first visit) . Obviously they have their own religious reasons for doing so but it would be nice to have a beer. Although I can learn to live without it since the food is so good. They do have shisha on offer if flavored steam floats your boat.

Petra is at 522 Itaewon dong, Yongsan gu, Seoul. Its located on the hill at the bottom of Itaewon just overlooking the intersection n.. From Noksapyeong Station (line 6): Go out exit 1. Cross the overpass bridge. Petra should be straight ahead on the second floor. From Itaewon Station (line 6): Go out exit 1. Walk straight about 5 minutes. Go up the alley across the street from McDonald’s (look for the yellow Money Exchange sign). Follow the curve around and Petra is on your right. You can call them on 02-790-4433.