Tag: restaurant

Buttermilk Biscuit Co

Last night I headed over to Apgujeong to meet up with some old friends. After consulting my trusty list of places I want to eat at we settled upon new kid on the block Buttermilk Biscuit Co. Being a Brit I can’t say I’m really a huge fan of ‘biscuits’. Where I come from they are called scones, and we eat them with clotted cream and jam not fried chicken. However since I’ve been in Korea my tastes have become more exotic, so I threw caution to the wind and went off to give ‘American food’ a try.

The diner like restaurant is located in the rather posh neighbourhood of Apgujeong. It is just a short walk from exit 4, on a little street I’ve never had cause to walk down before. The place is quite spacious in appearance but only has seating for about 12 as the large open plan kitchen takes up a fair amount of the space. Unsurprisingly biscuits are the star attraction of the menu. You can either buy them separately or eat them with a variety of different sauces and toppings.  We were slightly torn over what to try but thankfully settled on three options thanks to their picture menu.

First up was the Southerner (9,500). A buttermilk biscuit topped with sauteed onions, fried chicken, bacon, eggs, cheese and country gravy. This is pretty much what I always imagined a  proper ‘merican’ southern breakfast to be. A mini mountain of fried food was presented, and I was surprised at how ungreasy it was. I’ve never been much of a fan of American gravy (I certainly wouldn’t put it on my roast beef that’s for damn sure), but I was actually quite partial to this one. It wasn’t overly salty and I appreciated having the thick sauce to eat alongside the biscuit. I’m no biscuit expert but this one seemed pretty decent, moist in the middle with a crisp exterior. The fried chicken was solid too, nice and crunchy on the outside while still being juicy in the middle. Not bad at all.

Second up was the Steak & Cheese Hash (14,000).  A mix of seasoned steak, onions, peppers, cheddar, potatoes, and spicy mayo.  From the picture I was expecting a large hash brown, however what showed up was a big old pile of tater tots. The cheese and steak topped tots went down well, I mean cheese and potato is always a good combo, throw in some nice pieces of steak and a spicy sauce and it is pretty much a party. One of the more expensive items on the menu, due to the steak but we enjoyed them a lot.

Lastly we had the Nashville Hot (9,000). A Cheddar biscuit with sweet compote, jalapeno, spicy fried chicken, and ranch coleslaw. This one was probably my favourite. It has all my favourite things, carbs, fried chicken, coleslaw, and sweet and spicy sauces. Hell to the yeah, this baby is so worth being fat for.

Overall I really enjoyed this place, I’m always looking for something new and this is definitely different. The food was actually pretty great, even to us non Americans. Myself and my Korean friends all really enjoyed it and we left pleasantly full. I also thought the prices were pretty reasonable for the most part too, it is so nice to find a meal around or under the 10,000 mark these days. I’ll certainly be heading back next time I’m in Apgujeong.

Buttermilk Biscuit Co is located at 566-14, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong Station (line 3) and come out of exit 4. Take the right immediately after the exit and then take the first left. Walk five blocks then turn right at the 7-11. Buttermilk Biscuit Co is a little way down this street on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 025153964 or check out their facebook page. They are closed only on Tuesdays, open at 11:30am -7:00pm  and take a break from 3pm – 4pm.

Mal Car

My neighbourhood of Gyeongridan is a treasure trove of unique and one of kind shops, bars, and restaurants. And one of its most hidden gems is my new favourite coffee shop Mal Car. Mal Car is a vintage automobile themed cafe, which is set over three floors and is full of quiet nooks and crannies to sit in. The place is festooned with all sorts of car themed knickknacks, even the outside tables are made from what looks like old bus doors. It is certainly a quirky place, and like no where else I have been before. It is located up on the Hyatt hill in a hidden residential alley, if it wasn’t for the sign on the main street you’d never find it, luckily I was invited so had the address.

It being a coffee shop and all, we thought we should start with a coffee. After placing our order we were given the most adorable shopping basket to help carry everything upstairs which I thought was a nice touch. I went for their signature Cloud Coffee (6,500), which is their version of the Vienna style, probably the coolest coffee in the city right now. I love creamy coffees so this was perfect for me, my only complaint is that I wish it had been sweeter, I would probably add a shot of vanilla syrup next time, but overall it was nice drink and coffee lovers should be impressed. My assistant Elizabeth ordered herself a refreshing Sunset Ade (6,500) to beat the heat. The colourful ade was super refreshing and had an almost sherberty fruity taste. We both really enjoyed it, but I thought it could be even better with a shot of vodka!

The Cinnamon Rolls are a speciality at Mal Car, so we had to give one a try. They have several different variations but we opted for the Original (4,600). Just looking at it, it was easy to tell why they are famous for them and boy were they good. Warm in the middle so the frosting kinda melted and you could sop it all up like a sweet and buttery gravy. The texture of the bun itself was super soft, and it had a good blend of spices without being over powering. Honestly I don’t think I have stopped thinking about these big bountiful buns ever since, they are addictively good, and not to be missed.

Besides the buns, Mal Car also offers a whole range of baked breads and cakes. After gazing over their dazzling array of desserts we decided to try the Humming Bird (6,600), as it was too pretty to resist. The banana and pineapple spiced cake was topped with a nice thick layer of cream cheese frosting and an adorable pineapple flower. The sponge had a lovely hint of pineapple, though I didn’t get much of the banana coming through. We both enjoyed the lovely creamy cheese frosting, and appreciated that it wasn’t too sweet. Being two very greedy girls we also got a Carrot Cake (6,200) too! This was really incredible, so moist and had a really nice balance of spices with a hint of orange. The cake itself was the star here, but the frosting was also good too. I was green with envy when eating this because it was even better than my recipe which I have always considered to be one of the best around.

Overall I thought Mal Car was a gorgeous cafe with fabulous cakes, breads and coffees. The Cinnamon Rolls in particular were incredible and I’ve not tasted one as good as this in Seoul before. The theme really sets it apart and there is seating inside and out. In a city filled with big chain places, these are the small places I love to support, so I will definitely be going back again soon, especially as it is very close to my house.

Mal Car is located at 48-10 Hoenamu-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.  To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight until you reach the underpass, go through and exit using the stairs on the left hand side. Follow this road around passing the church and Paris Baguette, walk up the hill towards the Hyatt. Keep going up the hill and look out for the Mal Car sign after you pass the big GS, its in a small residential alley way just after passing Baskin Robbins. Go down the alleyway and you will see Mal Car on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-790-2310 or visit their facebook page. They are open from Tuesday – Sunday from 1pm – 11pm

Trench Town

I’m not going to lie, I know little to nothing about Caribbean food, despite it being a reasonably popular cuisine in Britain. However when I heard a new Caribbean restaurant had opened up in Itaewon I was damn eager to give it a try. Trench Town is located on ‘Furniture Road’, or ‘Taco Bell Street’ as I like to call it. It’s located in an old furniture shop a little down the way from Itaewon Station. As it’s a little set back from the main road you could easily miss it, but hopefully the beach-hut-like fringe and neon sign will alert you to its presence.

Once inside the restaurant is pretty roomy, with a fun beach side themed bar taking prominence in the entry way. This reminded me of how much I needed a drink so we soon got to ordering. Rum cocktails make up the menu, and boy oh boy are they darn tasty. After two visits I have had pretty much tried all of the drinks on the menu and they are all pretty awesome. The Hurricane (13,000) is probably my favourite, not only is it a fruity blend of Plantation rum, lime, orange juice and passion fruit syrup, but it also comes topped with the most adorable little broken umbrella on the top. However I also have a lot of love for the Dark and Stormy (10,000) and the Mai Tai (12,000). They have a killer rum section for sure, I’ve not seen anywhere else that has a supply to rival it. if you are really into rum you can buy it by the bottle too.

As it is still in soft opening phase the menu is quite small. They serve a couple of individual plates which cost between 15,000 – 22,000 and some larger sharing platters which are more. Being a larger group we decided to get one each of the platters for two. First up were the Jerk Ribs (38,000) which come with a big mound of coconut rice and beans, coleslaw, and a side of gravy. I enjoyed these a lot, they were tender and smokey, while the meat on the ribs came away easily from the bone without falling off. The Jerk sauce was good too, not enough to burn, but enough heat to make your lips tingle.

The second platter we ordered was the Trench Town Platter (34,000). This one came with jerk chicken, curry goat, more rice, and the three sides of your choice. We opted for the dumplings, fries, and coleslaw with this one. Jerk chicken is probably the most famous Jamaican dish. If you’ve had and liked the Jamaican sandwich at Rye Post you’ll be in for a treat, as the owners are the same. The chicken was tender and flavourful without being too spicy, as I have not had it before I don’t really have anything to compare it too but we liked it, though not quite as much as the ribs. Also on this platter is the Goat Curry, again this was my first time trying it and I was reasonably impressed. The curry was flavourful without being too hot, and the goat meat was tender. There were a few too many bones in it for my liking, though I’d imagine goat is not one of the easiest ingredients to get hold of so the supply is probably limited. The star side for me were the dumplings, they remind me of a chicken ball without the chicken. I kind of wish they had something inside but they were moreish none the less.

Last up was the Reggae Platter (32,000) which came with tiger shrimps, lamb chops and the choice of three sides. The lamb chops were my favourite on this one by far. They were glazed with an incredibly tamarind glaze which was addictively good. The meat was so soft and juicy while the fat was perfectly cooked. They are probably some of the best lamb chops I have ever eaten in Korea, I was gnawing on those bones like I hadn’t eaten in weeks. You can actually get these as a side order too, so be sure to add them on if you end up going for one of the other platters. The shrimps were nice enough too, though not as remarkable as some of the other dishes. On this platter we tried the plantains and sweet potato fries too, which I also enjoyed, they would make it into the top three side dishes along with the dumplings, though you know I am a sucker for anything deep fried.

Overall I was really impressed with his place, it is not always easy to find places where the cocktails are as good as the food, but this ticked all my boxes. The prices are a touch steep if there are just two of you eating, but if you are a big group then it works out quite nicely.  We all left happy, and if you are looking to try something new this weekend then Trench Town should hit the spot.

Trench Town is located at 105 Bogwang-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul.  To get there take a train to Itaewon Station and come out of exit 4. Turn back on yourself and walk down the ‘Taco Bell Street’. Keep walking down this street past all of the furniture shops. You will see Trench Town on the right hand side, just before you get to the fork in the road. For more information you can call them on 027949992 or checkout their facebook page. They are open Tue-Sunday from 5:30pm-10:30pm, although they are planning to open for lunch in the near future.

Ryunique

It has been just over a year since I last visited Chef Ryu’s signature restaurant Ryunique in Sinsa. I have been to its sister restaurant Normal several times since, however it isn’t very often that I am lucky enough to enjoy a meal as sumptuous as the 20 course one here. When they released their new menu I was given the opportunity to go and give it a try. The signature dinner menu does not come cheap, at a cool 230,000 per person, but if you are looking for something really special that will knock your socks off, then this is it.

 

We arrived at the classically chic and inviting restaurant, and were greeted by the very friendly(and rather handsome) Maitre D.  I don’t want to reveal all the secrets that were unravelled, so I’m just going to share my favourite dish or two from each course. Our meal began with a series of amuse bouche courses. The amuse bouches were a real mix but of our four, that’s right four, my favourite was the mackerel which was charcoal cooked on the outside but raw and mixed with sour cream on the inside. It was served with wasabi powder that had been flash frozen in liquid nitrogen. The amuse bouche course finished with the most delightful Korean melon palette cleanser with mint and lime.

 

 

The mushroom course was the star appetizer for me. Served in two parts, the first being lions mane mushrooms that were a mixture of fresh and fried with little pipettes of white truffle mayo. Served along with the Lion’s Mane were the absolutely scrummy black truffle mushroom cookies. The second part of the dish was the fantastic soup. Topped with a mushroom crisp lid, this was a cloud of mushroomy foamy goodness, made even better by the little cheese bubble that melted when popped into the soup.

This season’s signature dish of quail came in two parts. First up was a garlic fed quail breast, which was encrusted with 10 mixed Korean grains, and a jus reduction of quail gravy on the side which was just magically intense(probably because it was made from an entire quail!). It was accompanied by a beetroot puree which added a splash of colour and hint of earthiness and finally the cutest little golden chicken which was made of of potato, to celebrate 2017, the year of the Rooster.

Part two was their fancy take on Samgyetang, one of my favourite Korean soups. Rather than the traditional cloudy broth typically associated with Samgyetang, this version is based on a consomme style clear broth, which was light and full of flavour. A quail leg wrapped in a mustard leaf and a deep fried quail egg sat perched upon a bed of noodles, sweet snap peas, and a mixture of fried and fresh ginseng. It was a great modern representation of a classic Korean dish.

After a series of other main courses, we finished with Chapter 2, a series of desserts, tea, coffee and petit fours. The favourite for us was the pastry chef’s signature dish Stone Texture, no prizes for guessing why. This dish consisted of mandarin ice cream coated in chocolate and black sesame powder, and caramelized chocolate pudding and pistachio. The rock like exterior really hid the soft sweet flavours inside and it was such a delightful surprise at the end of a wonderful meal.

Since my last visit, there have been even more Korean ingredients and elements added to the menu, the map given to us at the beginning of the meal showed us exactly where each of the dishes was sourced from, which I thought a nice touch. As always the creativity and time going into the food blows my mind and if you are looking for something truly special then Ryunique has a lot to offer. If the 230,000 won 20 course dinner is a bit rich for your blood, you may want to try their lunch menu instead which is half the size and price. You can also of course also visit Normal, which is their second, bistro style restaurant located just around the corner.

Ryunique is located at 520-1 SInsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Sinsa Station(line 3) and come out of exit 8. Take the first left and then right and quickly left again. Walk about halfway down this road and turn left just before you hit Mr. Holmes Bakery. Ryunique is just 50 metres or so along this street on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-546-9279, or check out their website.

WinK – Brunch

Last weekend I headed over to Wink in Gyodae to check out the Southside boys’ Surfside Pop Up. While I was there I figured I might as well eat some brunch too, that and I was slightly concerned I’d end up getting shit faced if I didn’t. Cocktails on an empty stomach never bodes well for me, so to make sure I didn’t get too carried away on Sunday Funday I ordered about half the menu.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it isn’t brunch without Eggs Benedict. Luckily WinK offers several different varieties all priced at 9,900. I was really torn as they all sounded delicious but in the end the avocado version which comes with pico de gallo was my choice. As you can see from the video above the eggs were absolutely perfect, there was plenty of avocado and a nice generous salad on the side. My only gripe is that there was no hollandaise. The other three versions come with a creamy sauce, but if you are picky about such things you’ve been warned.

Being a fried chicken lover I also had to get the fried chicken topped french toast (15,500), too. A big slab of crispy fried chicken was mounted upon a fluffy piece of french toast. If you are really wanting an extra unhealthy southern style breakfast then this is it. We poured all the the accompanying maple syrup on top and I have to say it was pretty damned good. I love a sweet and salty combo, and the crispiness of the chicken was a nice comparison to the pillowy texture of the french toast. It’s a touch on the pricey side but very filling so you could possibly share it, though I don’t think you’d want to.

Lastly I tried the Mushroom & Emmental Burger (11,500).  This came topped with four kinds of mushrooms, a slathering of melted Emmental, red onion, and lettuce with Dijon mustard. I’ve always really liked the Wink burgers and this one was no exception. I love me some mushrooms, especially with cheese so it was a winning combination to me, the only change I’d make would be to swap out the lettuce for some rocket to make it a bit more peppery. It got a big mmm when I bit into it though.

Overall I was very impressed with my WinK brunch, my friend has been trying to drag me there to try it for an age now and sheer laziness has prevented me from going. The food was really good, and is definitely worth the trip across town. They also offer a bottomless brunch on weekends, which is quite rare in Seoul. I was there to try the Southside cocktails, but I shall certainly be giving it a try on my next visit.

WinK is located at 2F, 1576-6, Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Seoul National University of Education (lines 2 & 3). Come out of exit 14 and walk straight, WinK is about 100 meters down the street on the second floor. For more information you can call them on 02-6053-3429 or check out their facebook page.

Gony’s

I think we all know how I enjoy a burger or four, but you might also know how picky I am. And how I often struggle to find burgers I truly  love in Seoul. Some time ago, an old friend recommended Gony’s to me, but the fact it was located across the city put me off giving it a try. Well last weekend I was in the neighbourhood and couldn’t resist giving it a try. The restaurant is located a stop or two away from Wangsimni at Ttukseom Resort station. This neighbourhood actually has some cool stuff happening, as we were walking around looking for it we passed a bakery with a queue I haven’t seen since the glory days of the churros, considering it was raining at the time it was very impressive, but I digress. We were on our way to Gony’s for a banging burger.

The spot is really cute and has a couple of seats outside, and plenty more large benches and booths inside. The menu is actually quite sizeable, well the Korean version is, the English one is probably in need of updating. We were a rather big group so we were able to take full advantage of it. There are a handful of beef burgers, some chicken burgers and other side dishes, and milkshakes. They also had beers and what looks like a reasonably stocked bar if you like a side of shitfaced with your burger.

I had to try the Bacon Cheeseburger (9,800). I was very tempted to go for the double, but thought I should stick with the single to really test their muster. Homemade brioche buns are pretty much a standard requirement these days, but I was glad to see they had them. This burger was simply topped with bacon, american cheese, lettuce and tomato. There was definitely a small mmm when I bit into it and I was certainly satisfied. The meat was well seasoned, and all in all I really couldn’t fault it. It would certainly be in my top 5 burgers in Seoul.

As well as the the beef burgers here were a handful of chicken burgers on the menu too, so we ordered the Mexican Chicken Burger (12,800). To me this was really a stand out, the breading was insanely crispy, and the chicken inside  was tender and juicy. Good hamburgers are ten a penny now but its rare to find a chicken burger as good as this. There were a handful of variations of it, I’d love to try the coleslaw version next time.

Being a large group we also decided to indulge in a portion of the Chili cheese fries (12,000). I’m always of the opinion that if you are going to have fries you might as well eat them slathered in chili and cheese. These ones had lots of fresh chilies strewn throughout making them a touch on he hot side for my milky taste buds. But there was plenty of chili though, making them nice and wet. On the cheese front however it was more of a cheese sauce than actual cheese

Lastly we tried the Original Chicken and Rice (7,800). I think it is really well documented on this blog how much I love chicken and rice, so when I saw this on the menu I had to see how it compared. Different from Jil Hal Bros, or Halal Guys, but in the same ball park. For this one the chicken is deep fried chunks of butter milk fried chicken, which was really nice. The rice is Korean style, coloured yellow, which I could live with, topped with spicy sauce and white sauce. It was not a bad representation and if I lived in that neighbourhood I’d be happy enough with it being the only version available locally.

Overall I was very impressed, and if you live nearby it is a must try,k and if you don’t it is still worth the trip over there if you a burger fanatic. Gony’s has a motto printed all over the place “life is too short to eat shitty things,” and I have to say that I concur.

Gony’s is located at 108 Wangsimni-ro, Seongsu 1(il)-ga 2(i)-dong, Seongdong-gu, Seoul.  To get there take a train to Ttukseom Station (line 2) and come out of exit 7. Take the right that is just by the exit and walk straight, then take the next right. Gony’s is just at the end of this street on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 070-4127-0423 or check out their facebook page.

JL Dessert Bar – Cherry Blossom Pop Up

Last weekend was I was invited to a very special event at JL Dessert bar, a place I have been meaning to try for ages. The event was in honour of the majesty that is Cherry Blossom season. In Korea, nothing says Spring like a walk along the river, and fighting your way through crowds of other eager beavers trying to get the perfect selfie with the elusive cherry blossoms before they wither away and die. Since I don’t do so well with crowds I figured this seasonal dessert pop up was much more my bag.

JL Dessert bar, is located near Gangnam District Office station and is unsurprisingly a bar that specializes in cocktails, wine and desserts. What a novel idea, for many people dessert is the best part of the meal so why not skip ahead straight to the good stuff? It’s also ideal for those on a first date who don’t want to risk sitting through an entire meal. Our event was a one day special promotion for cherry blossom season which cost 45,000 for 2 people. this included three desserts and wine pairings, plus a few special spring goodies.

Our first dish to try was the Cherry blossom special, which was a sweet mix of cherry blossom, strawberry, blueberry, lemon and white chocolate. First of all I adored the personal plating, I love anything with my name on it. The star attraction of the dish was the white chocolate orb, that when broken into revealed a sweet and creamy mousse which reminded me of candy floss. Paired with the fruit and broken shards of meringue it was a real melange of tastes and textures. It was rather impressive. The wine paired with this one was a Blueroth Riesling, a sweet and dessert wine which really enhanced the dessert.

Our second dish was the adorable Petit Gateaux, this was probably my favourite of the desserts. Again a soft exterior but with a biscuity crunch at the bottom and lovely layer of strawberry jam, this was so scrummy, I was a tad upset to be sharing it. This one was paired with a German Brut, I think we all know how much I enjoy a glass of bubbly so this was ideal for me, and it was nice to have something to take the edge off the sweetness of the dish.

Lastly we ate the stunningly beautiful Cherry Blossom macarons. These were pressed with a dried cherry blossom which was such a lovely touch.  Again I wish there had been more, I could have eaten them all afternoon long. These we paired with the Vampire, Merlot rose, which i think might have been my favourite of the three wines, although it might have been because I was a little bit tipsy by that point.

Overall we had a fabulous afternoon, I felt very grown up going for dessert and wine tasting. They are planning to host similar pop ups in the future which  shall certainly keep abreast of, but for the time being they also have an a la carte menu where most of the desserts cost 15,000, or a set menu of 4 courses for 40,000 which I’m sure you could share between two. All the desserts also come with recommended cocktail pairings too.

JL Dessert Bar is located at 14, Seolleung-ro 120-Gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gangnam-Guchon Station (line 7) and come out of exit 1. Walk straight and turn right the first chance you get. Walk straight for three blocks and then go left. You should see JL Dessert Bar just ahead of you on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-543-6140, or check out their facebook page. They are open from 12pm-11pm everyday.

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.