Tag: restaurant

NY Burger & Bagel

As you may know my search for a good burger in this city has been relentless, and I tried dozens of places before finally finding my favourite  at Itaewon the Burger. If you ever think that my blog is always on the positive side and never offers bad reviews, that is because it is carefully curated and I only share my favourites or those I find to have value in their uniqueness or locations . After expressing my disappointment with so many of the burger joints that I tried and didn’t blog about on my Instagram account I was reached out to by many other burger aficionados who felt the same way I did. One of these was NY Burger and Bagel in Gangnam, which the owner Mark declared to be the best burger in Seoul, I snorted with derision as I had heard that plenty of times before, but when he kindly invited me and a few friends to give them a try with no obligation to write a review, I figured why not. The restaurant is located right by Gangnam station, which is really a bit of a black hole when it comes to good eating, as the exorbitant rents have pretty much left us with a load of old crap, so for that alone I figured it would make an interesting post if the claims were true.

The restaurant is located a couple of streets back from the main drag, just far enough to get away from the hustle and bustle of Gangnam life. The restaurant is adorably cute with a white facade, faux grass and some tables outside. Once the spring comes around this will be a prime piece of real estate to brunch in, but since it was -6 we favoured a table indoors. The Inside is fairly small with a large semi open kitchen taking up a good third of the space but was still ample enough for me and my crew and a large table of office workers.

As we were guests of the proprietor he kindly asked if he could select his favourite items for us to try. Being a pretty agreeable bunch we were cool and the gang with that and we kindly accepted a delicious glass of mulled wine while we waited. Unfortunately the mulled wine is a season item but I was assured that it is going to be replaced by a cocktail that is equally delicious.  The first burger to arrive was the Once in a Bleu Moon (11,500). I’m a blue cheese queen so couldn’t resist the lure of a burger topped with blue cheese and crispy bacon. The beef burger was cooked to medium, and was well seasoned, while the bun was soft and and buttery. The burgers here don’t come served with anything, which is kind of a pet peeve of mine (fries are mandatory in a burger experience, not optional) so we ordered a portion of parmesan garlic fries (8,000). This was a large portion that we shared between four of us. It also came with a fresh herb ranchy type dip called the green goddess which we were all fighting over until it it was gone. Like most burger places in Korea they also do 1/2 sets of fries with a drink for 5,500.

 

The second burger we tried was the The Wasaaabi??? (11,500). A beef burger topped with pepperjack 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 ended up being the unanimous favourite of the day. Beef and wasabi is surprisingly a match made in heaven, and after consideration, it being so close to mustard, I can see why. The wasabi was mixed with mayo so it wasn’t at all overbearing and you could still taste the flavour of the beef, and the shiitake mushrooms cheese and grilled onions. It was a total Mmm experience. My only regret was that I was sharing it with three other people.

 

The last burger we tried was the Bubba Gump (22,000). The Forrest Gump namesake is topped with blackened cajun shrimp, american cheese, salad and cajun mayo. It’s pretty steep at 22,000 but hey it’s Gangnam and there are plenty of more reasonably priced options on the menu. I really liked this one, as I was loving the cajun mayo. Honestly I don’t know if I really needed the shrimp, I was more than happy to eat them but I think the same burger without them would have been just as tasty and a hell of a lot cheaper. We finished up with a drinkable dessert in the form of their Peanut Butter Milkshake(5,500). This was indescribably rich and ice- creamy and every sip was totally nutillicious. This was the thick shake that I have been longing for, for quite some time and we all agreed it was the perfect way to end the meal.

Overall I really enjoyed the burgers at NY Burger and Bagel, the Wasabi burgers gave me the Mmm factor I was looking for and I’m thrilled to have a good place to eat near Gangnam station. The menu is quite large so if burgers aren’t your bag there is also a breakfast menu and some other popular NY style lunch items that the owner missed from living in New York. When the weather turns warmer than this will be an ideal spot for a weekend brunch and I’ll certainly be giving them another try once spring rolls around.

NY Bagel & Burger is located at 827-37 Yeoksamdong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gangnam station and come out of exit 4. Turn back on yourself and walk straight, then take the next right. Walk along this street for four blocks then take the right after that. You will see NY Burger and Bagel a little way ahead. For more information you can call them on 02-553-7792 or check out their facebook page. They are open everyday from 10am-10pm.

궈일교자

January is almost always a very bleak month. It’s cold and miserable, you’ve failed your new health kick after a week and a half, and everyone is broke after spending too much money at Christmas. Honestly there really isn’t a whole lot to look forward to unless you are going to Cambodia for a week like I am tomorrow (please don’t hate me!). Despite these rather depressing conditions, the restaurant scene around Itaewon is still popping, with a whole host of new restaurants  opening their doors in the past few weeks.

Now one such place that has opened up in Gyeongridan is 궈일교자 . This new restaurant popped up overnight in a spot that used to host a 7-11. It’s not surprising that the minuscule 7-11 bit the dust as there are much larger convenience stores in spitting distance. The front portion of the tiny store is made up of the kitchen which boasts big towers of steamers to help lure in the crowds looking for shelter from the biting cold. At the back of the store is some counter style seating for the best part of a dozen patrons.

The menu like the store itself is pretty simple. There are  half a dozen different types of mandu, along with a few large ones and two different typoes of noodles. Honestly it was the cheap prices that lured me in, as they agreed with my new frugal sensibilities. Being in desperate need of iron in my diet I went for the BBQ Dumplings (3,000 for 6). The dumplings were stuffed with galbi and galbi sauce, which I had never eaten in dumpling form before. The meat was sweet and tasty, and they paired nicely with the free pickled radish.

We also tried the meat dumplings (2,500 for 8). These were pretty much your bog standard gogi mandu that you could buy frozen and make yourself at home. They were possibly a touch fancier than that and did taste pretty great when dipped into the accompanying vinegar. If you don’t fancy cooking these are a nice cheap and cheerful option.

As it was so cold and I was in the mood for soup so we also got the Udon (4,000). This was alright, honestly the broth was fairly unmemorable but the noodles were filling. At least the price is right. There were some other dumplings on the menu that I’d be more likely to try over these if I came again.

Honestly I cant say that this place was that amazing and if you are looking for standout dumplings you’d be better going to Stacked. The bbq galbi dumplings were tasty enough though, and I would probably pick myself up a to go order from time to time as it’s right by my house. Its real draw is its prices, mandu plus some soup for about 6,000, you can’t say fairer than that, though of course you can find similar places in neighbourhoods all over Korea, just rarely in ours, and for that alone it is worth a mention.

궈일교자 is located at 225-68 Itaewon2-dong, 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, then go through and exit using the stairs on the left hand side. Follow the road around passing the church and Well Being mart. You will see 궈일교자 just up ahead on the right hand side after Cheese-a-lot. They don’t currently have a phone number so I can’t give any more information.

Jungsik Bar

Happy New Year one and all. I’ve started this year at rather a slow pace, quite frankly I have barely had the energy to get out of bed let alone write my blog, but we all deserve a break now and again and this post should make up for it.  Jungsik has been on my list of places to try for a number of years now, its modern Korean cuisine has been particularly well regarded and it recently even received a coveted Michelin star when the new Korean guide came out. While the list has been questioned by many, Jungsik seems to be hailed as one of the most deserving. However thanks to the extra boost of popularity the star has given it, the place is now rather hard to get a table at.

So when TFB offered to take me out on a little date night to celebrate our 8 year anniversary, Jungsik was one of my first suggestions, however at short notice the place was understandably fully booked on a Friday night. Luckily we were informed that the bar offers some of the same food, so after looking it up online we decided to give it a try. For those who can ill afford a pricey four course dinner, or just can’t seem to get a reservation, the bar on the first floor is a port in a storm. The bar menu is split into two parts, the bar menu, and the ‘classic menu’ which is made of up of  special vintage dishes that have been the restaurant’s signatures over the years. The dishes come in three sizes, bite size, small, and regular. I especially liked the idea of the bar offering the most popular dishes from the past few years, it’s the perfect way to keep the restaurant menu fresh and innovative while still giving regular patrons a chance to eat their favourites.

It being a bar and all we decided to get a drink. The emphasis here is on wine, they have a very large menu and a selection of wine machines which allow you to try as much or as little of the wine as you would like. At the very knowledgeable sommelier’s recommendation we decided to try a flight of Natural Wines (50,000). Natural wines are made without chemicals and as little technological processing as possible and Jung Sik has over 60 varieties. On the flight, there were two whites and two reds. Of the four wines included, my favourite was the Detorri Bianco, while TFB favoured the Il Frappato. The flight allowed wive novices such as ourselves to try more of a variety than if we had just had a glass each.

After browsing the bar menu we opted for the octopus dish Pulpo a la Gallega (20,000 Small). This was the medium sized plate which was perfect for us to share,  but they also have a larger or bite size portion available which you can pair with the wine sips if you are super into the wine pairing thing. I’m not sure if I’ve ever eaten proper octopus before and was shocked at how large the tentacles were. I’m sure I have only eaten the baby version so was pleasantly surprised at how it had such a meaty texture. With the paprika spiced potatoes this dish seemed to be very Spanish, probably due to the flavours and the tapas style serving size. For someone like myself, who is not really a huge seafood lover, this dish really impressed me, and I soon found myself fighting over the last bite.

As well as the octopus we got the 2009 Crispy Pork (30,000 Small). Belly pork when done right is one of my absolute favourite meals in the world and this one was exquisite. The meat was so juicy and tender, while the top side remained nice and crisp. On top were pickled chillies which added a nice heat without being in the slightest bit overbearing. The dish went to a whole new level of deliciousness when I tried the pork with the mash and the wilted Korean garlic leaf(명이나물). I’ve never had that particular leaf before but it went so perfectly with the pork in a truly subtle and heavenly way. I just wish their had been so much more of it.

Having had a really small taste of this place has only left me wanting more. There are so many more dishes i would have loved to have tried so I am definitely going to be going back. Their lunch menu is incredibly reasonable and almost half the price of the dinner menu despite the fact the food is the same so I think I’ll start there and save dinner for those who have deeper pockets than me. The restaurant only takes reservations up to a month in advance, so if you find due to the new starring the place is booked, you will not have to wait so long until you can give it a try, or you can always get a table at the bar like we did.

Jung Sik Bar is located at 11 Seollungro 158-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong Rodeo (yellow line) and come out of exit 4. Walk straight for one block and then turn left. The restaurant is on your left hand side, and the bar part is the first floor. For more info/reservations you can call them on +82 2 517 4654, or visit their website.

Halal Guys

The most exciting event of the year has finally came to fruition. No, I’m not talking about Christmas, though I am excited about that too. It’s the long awaited opening of one of New York’s favourite street foods, Halal Guys on Saturday December 17th! Now being a blogger sometimes has its perks as I was lucky enough to be invited to give  it a try during their soft opening phase. I first  fell in love with the delicious foil bowls of chicken and rice goodness when I was in New York last year. In fact despite all the amazing goodies I devoured on the trip it was one of the most memorable meals. Not long after my return from NYC Jil’hal Bros opened up their own version of the NY street food here in Seoul and I have been a very frequent customer ever since. However I have still hankered after the original so am pleased as punch they are here too, especially since it’s in Itaewon!

The restaurant is located in Itaewon on the second floor just across from the police station. The eatery is reasonably spacious with seating for about 20 and is decked out in a festive red and yellow colour combination. The team of staff they have working there is huge and they have brought reps over from New York to make sure everything goes smoothly. Working like a well oiled machine they had our monumental order put together in minutes, which is very important when you have so many people to serve in such a short time.

If you are unfamiliar with Halal Guys then the main menu item that everyone lusts after are the chicken and rice, or beef and rice salad bowls. They have three sizes of platters available, a small for 7,900, a regular for 9,900, and a New York for 11,900 (which are the same size as the street cart ones you get in NYC). Along with the meat and rice you also get salad and pita bread, which is then topped with two sauces, a creamy white sauce from heaven and a spicy hot sauce. The platters are customisable so you can have as much or as little sauce as your heart desires and you can also add other ingredients like pickles and olives. It has been a long time since I tried to the original in NYC but I have to say they are pretty much dead on to what I remember and just as addictive. I have eaten at least 8 over the past few weeks and I have to say that, unlike revenge, this is a dish best served hot. I’m not saying I didn’t scarf down a few for breakfast or lunch, but the true flavours are enjoyed warm so try and eat in store if you can. Another point to mention is that they are still testing their pita bread and trying to find an exact copy of the NY one, but it’s a very small flaw in an otherwise delicious dish.

Also on the menu are some gyro wraps. I hadn’t tried these before so was eager to try them. They aren’t cheap at 8,900, but they are large and filling. I got one last night and couldn’t even finish it, although considering I had already eaten the large chicken and rice bowl it is not surprising. The pita as mentioned still needs a little work, as this batch was a bit on the spongy side. Personally I think I’d rather stick with a kebab across the street if I was in the mood for a sandwich, just because the ratio of filling to bread is a little better and they are slightly better value, though don’t let me put you off from trying one.

There are number of sides on the menu including falafel (2,500) and hummus (5,000), which I am sure will be of great interest to my veggie readers. I know that falafel and hummus are found reasonably easily here these day but having a fast food option that you can go to and enjoy with your carnivorous friends will surely be a blessing to many. They also have very reasonably priced fries for (3,000), which are just cheap enough that you will throw a batch on to your order for gluttony’s sake. To celebrate the grand opening tomorrow, the first 100 customers will get their orders free of charge, while the first 1000 will have a chance to play a game and win free food or promotional t-shirts and what not, so be sure to stop by.

Halal Guys is located at 2F, 187 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 2. Walk straight you will see Halal Guys just up ahead past Holly’s Coffee on the second floor opposite the police station. For more information you can call them on 027948309 or check out their facebook page. They will be open from from 11am-11pm Sunday – Thursday, and 11am-3am Friday and Saturday.

 

Guilty Pleasure

It has been quite some time since I last enjoyed a brunch at Guilty Pleasure in Itaewon. However when some of my favourite people suggested we get together for a catch up before Christmas, I thought it would be the perfect spot for a boozy brunch.

The main draw of Guilty Pleasure to me is the fact that it had outdoor seating, and thanks to their crafty roof cover and some space heaters it can be enjoyed year round. There is also seating inside but I always think its a bit too dark and dingy inside for a day time meal.  The menu has changed somewhat since my last visit, which isn’t surprising as it’s been well over a year. Unfortunately there is still no Bloody Mary on the brunch menu, which saddens a vodka lover like myself, but thankfully they do have a mimosa which I enjoyed instead (12,000).

I couldn’t make up my mind between the pancakes and the breakfast burger so we decided to get both and share. The ricotta pancakes came with house smoked bacon, honey comb butter, bacon syrup, and fruit compote  (16,000). The pancakes were big and fluffy and the there was plenty of syrup for them. The bacon which I had sampled before with the brunch platter was just as nice as I remembered and this was a great dish to keep the sweet toothed happy. It was also incredibly filling, I couldn’t even manage my half and I can eat a lot!

My second shared dish was the Guilty Burger (17,000). A beef patty, hash brown, swiss cheese, american cheese, thick cut bacon, lettuce, chipotle aioli on a rye bread bun. I was very excited by this burger especially when I saw how glorious the hash brown looked. However the burger didn’t taste as good as it looked, despite the line up of stellar ingredients. It wasn’t bad in anyway, just lacking for a better word and it did little to tantalise my taste buds. The coleslaw on the side was pretty decent but I probably wouldn’t order this again.

My very fussy friend ordered the Duck prosciutto & Scrambled Eggs (16,000) for his main dish. Truffle scrambled eggs were piled on toasted baguette and topped with duck prosciutto, smoked ham,  and grana padano cheese. I’m not particularly fond of either prosciutto,duck, or scrambled eggs so this probably would be the very last dish I would ever order. However I was forced to give it a try after my companion took one bite and proclaimed he didn’t like it. I actually thought it was delicious, a real standout. The eggs were fluffy and the ducky prosciutto smoky without being over salty and the smell of truffle permeated the air. I told him if he didn’t like it, to send it back, which he didn’t so I’m ignoring all his negativity on the matter as he actually managed to devour the whole thing. If you are looking for something a bit lighter and heavy on the protein then this is an excellent dish.

While I rather enjoyed my brunch for the most part, one point to note is that we went on a very quiet day and the service was not great. The two servers were new and very sweet and went out of their way to please us so I cant fault them for that. My main issue was that the food came out separately. Fine if you are sharing, but only two of us were and it was just a very long awkward wait as one dish came out every five minutes. This was especially noticed as some of our party were still waiting for drinks. I wouldn’t let it put me off coming again but I would be sure to make sure to tell the wait staff we want all the meals served at once, especially if it isn’t busy. If you are looking for a decent modern American brunch in Itaewon though, it’s certainly worth a visit.

Guilty Pleasure is  located at 1F, 2-10 Itaewon-ro 20-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 4. Walk straight until you get to Dillingers and take the set of stairs going down. Turn right and walk straight, you will see for  the sign Guilty Pleasure on the right hand side. Walk up to the top of the stairs and go in the building on the left, it’s on the 1st floor. For more information you can call them on 02-794-4332 or check out their facebook page.

Itaewon the Burger

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Call it an early Christmas present but I may have just found my new favourite burger. After the months and months of searching and the endless recriminations from fellow foodies I have finally found a burger that makes me go Mmmm. I have been all over town searching for a burger that I can love, while I have found plenty that I like none have quite made the cut until now.

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Itaewon the Burger is nestled in the “Linus” alleyway, there are obviously plenty of other restaurants and bars along this strip but none as ubiquitous as the BBQ joint. The restaurant itself is pretty simple, nothing fancy except the “Stranger Things” inspired signage which ensures all of the pictures come out with a lovey red hue to them.

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So the burger that pleased me so very much was the Big Double Burger (12,900). The reason I probably enjoy this burger so much compared to the other popular burgers around town is the fact that it’s charcoal grilled, and for me that always imparts plenty of flavour to the meat. Secondly the bun was really really good, and thirdly it was stuffed with bacon and cheese. All of these ingredients worked in perfect harmony to give me the burgery bite of goodness I have been hankering after. The burger itself was very juicy and a little hard to eat as it started falling apart about half way through, but this doesn’t particularly bother me, and I’m often covered in food juice thanks to my less than elegant table manners. If a fault had to be found it would be that the pickles are sweet and not dill but after alerting the owner to this fact he said he intends to rectify it very soon. All in all I was beyond happy with this burger and stuffed to the gills, which again is a very rare occurrence.

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TFB accompanied me and ordered himself  the  BLT & Egg Burger (10,900). I had a bite of this one, and while it couldn’t compare to my own piece of double burger heaven it was still pretty solid. I wasn’t quite sold on the spicy sauce but liked the addition of the egg. Perhaps a different sauce and some avocado and they’d be on to a winner. We made this one a set for an extra 4,500 and were given a full sized can of Sprite and not the tiny one, which was nice, and a generous portion of Cajun fries.

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The rest of the burgers on the menu are a bit of a mix, there is a shrimp burger probably geared to please the Korean clientele, and a sloppy Joe for the Americans. I was told that they are planning to add at least another 5 or 6 burgers to the menu soon which should keep things interesting for regulars, especially if they add a BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger.

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After enjoying our meal we had a quick chat with the owner (I had to congratulate him on such a fine job) and he told me they also have a private room out the back which can be reserved free of charge and fits about 14 people. He is also opening up a craft beer bottle shop below so people are more than welcome to get drinks from downstairs if they are having a private party.

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Itaewon the Burger is located at 22 Noksapyeong-daero 32-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight then use the crossing to get over to the Itaewon side. Take the first alleyway on your right, just next to where Suji’s used to be. Walk down this street, you will see Itaewon the Burger on the right side about half way up. For more information you can call them on 02-797-8940 or visit their facebook page. They are open everyday from 11am-10pm.

Cafe Able

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It has been rather a long time since I posted a new brunch place, in fact I cant even remember the last time I shared one. Although that doesn’t mean I haven’t been out there looking, I just haven’t found one worth sharing until now. The search for new brunch spots is never ending, but if you want to reap the rewards you have to put in the work. This place was recommended to me by my friend John Kim so I have to say a big thanks to him because it is an excellent find.

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Cafe Able is located just off the end of Garosu-gil in a renovated two story house The whole concept of the place is farm to table freshness and the serve organic fruit and veggies some of which are grown on their own farm. The restaurant itself is huge and very light with a real country chic warmth throughout. I adored all the jars and baskets of jams and candles that they had used to decorate the place. They also had the nicest smelling toilet I’ve ever been in, kind of like a vanilla latte.

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The Cafe Able menu is mostly made of sandwiches and salads but also has half a dozen brunch items. One of them being Eggs Florentine (15,000) which is my favourite brunch dish of all time. This one was served in frying pan which was utterly adorable. My two poached eggs were sat atop a thick and creamy sauce which was strewn with potatoes, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, asparagus, and bacon. It also came with two pieces of toasted whole grain bread. I adored this dish, it was just so warm and comforting. I lapped up every bite but didn’t feel in the slightest bit heavy afterwards, it was the ideal brunch dish.

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My dining companion opted for the Eggs Benedict (14,000). He chose the ham version which I think he regretted once he saw it and wishes he had gone for the salmon instead. The ham was kind of a round slab, and not really what he was hoping for. The hollandaise was also rather thin and there wasn’t much of it, though I’m sure you could ask for more. The poached eggs themselves were perfect and came on a quinoa bread which I have never tried before. It was slightly sweet and has a very soft texture. The fried potatoes on the side were also very tasty and a small salad. Not the best Benedict as the ham and hollandaise let it down. The salmon version might be worth a try though.

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Booze wise there are no cocktails (boo) but they do have an ample selection of wine and beer (yay). The star of their drinks menu are their huge selection of homemade juices and teas, which seemed to be very popular judging by the other tables. The juices are not cheap at 9,000 each but they are made with organic fruits which somewhat justifies the price tag. We decided to splurge and get one each. My dining companion got the Red Field (apple and beet) while I got the Green Refresh (grape, kale, and cucumber). Both were delicious, and made a nice treat. I make juices a lot at home so it’s unusual for me to buy one, but I was staying off the booze and figured I needed a reward. If you want to drink, bottles of wine start at 23,000. They had a couple of sparkling options so I’m sure they could make you a fantastic freshly squeezed orange juice if you cant live without that mimosa.

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Overall I really enjoyed Cafe Able and I thought my dish was perfect. Seeing what others ordered around us the french toast and the English breakfast looked great too. If they had a cocktail menu I’d be here very week. The space itself is really cool and a wonderful ambience. Sinsa is also a great area for wandering around and walking off your lunch after, so if you are looking for somewhere to refuel after a spot of shopping then this is it.

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Cafe Able is located at 12 Apgujeong-ro,14gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong station and come out of exit 5. Walk straight for several blocks and take the fifth road on the left (the one before Garosugil). Walk straight down this road for just over one block, you will see Cafe Able on the right hand side on the second floor. For more information you can call them on 02-3445-7335.

Omyrose at Seoul Dining

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Last week I was invited to an event to promote a new range of Korean liquors called Omyrose, which are made by J.K Lee with  omija berries grown right here in Korea. Now I think we all know how much I enjoy a drink, and the prospect of trying something new was very enticing to me. The event was held at Seoul Dining, a new restaurant in the Dongguk university area. The slick and sleek restaurant has only been open for a month but it exuded a warm and welcoming high end atmosphere.

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We started out the night with a glass of the Korean Omyrose sparkling wine. The sparkling wine has a rather lovely pink hue to it that really reminded me of a kir royal cocktail. The wine itself was a touch sweet with a slightly bitter finish but I rather enjoyed it, and quaffed quite a few glasses to say the least. The sparkling wine was paired with raw cooked scallops with apple and sesame oil, in a mussel sauce, which was light and delicate taste of the sea. It was a nice contrast against the heady flavour of the wine.

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Our next drink was The Omyrose rosé (try saying that after a few too many). Again  the wine was slightly sweet from the berries but it had a very buttery finish. I’ve never been into dry wines so I was quite enamored with his one too. The rosé was paired with several dishes but for the most memorable being  a pumpkin and potato soup, cauliflower quinoa, and squid ceviche, The warm and comforting soup was so silky it felt like a pair of loving arms wrapping itself around your heart. While the squid ceviche provided a refreshing kick and some extra texture. It was the ideal autumnal dish.

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After a couple of other of courses including grey mullet, and confit chicken leg, it was time to move on to the stronger liquors. First was the oaky finish omija liquor. It was strong and we were given a glass of ice to pour it over. This to me tasted like the love child of a tequila and a scotch, probably due to the oak flavour from the barrel. This one was a bit too intense for me, though I’m rarely into drinking straight liquor.  I’d love to see what it tasted like in a cocktail though.

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The liquor was served with my favourite dish of the meal, char-grilled Iberico pork pluma, with onion and anchovy pesto. Just one bite of the tender grilled pork was enough to make me fall in love with this dish. The meat just oozed flavour. When talking with the Chef Eric, he told me he first started making this dish in Portugal when working in a restaurant there, and it is now his signature dish. I can see why as it was absolutely delicious.

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After the incredible pork we finished with a shot of the white liquor, a clear version of the one we enjoyed before and the most expensive of the bunch, though it does come in a rather beautiful bottle. This one was served straight up in a shot glass, but again I just found it too strong to enjoy neat. Along with the liquor we served espresso and a deconstructed tiramisu which was a very enjoyable way to end the meal.

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Overall I was really impressed by the Omyrose wines, and its great to see a new high end brand of Korean liquors, as they make especially good gifts. For anyone interested in Omyrose it is available in Shinsaegae and other large department stores and costs between 50,000 – 360,000 per bottle. I also really enjoyed the set dinner prepared by Seoul Dining. I took a look at their menu before I left and found that the 7 course dinner cost 77,000 and thought it to be very reasonably. It featured an excellent mix of Korean ingredients presented in the style of modern western cooking. It would be the perfect location for any special occasion.

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Seoul Dining is located at 272, Dongho-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Dongguk University Station (line 3) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight for about 100 meters, you will see the Welcome City building ahead of you on the right hand side. Walk up the stairs and you will see the Seoul Dining restaurant on your right. For more information or to make a reservation you can call them on 010-3586-8061. They are open from Tuesday – Saturday for lunch and dinner.

Thanksgiving Guide 2016

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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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Phillies – HBC home away from home will be hosting an American Thanksgiving on Friday the 25th of November. Their Thanksgiving dinner includes turkey, mash, cranberries, stuffing, pie, etc, and a glass of wine, beer, or Merry Down cider all for the bargain price of 25,000 won per person. Tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance at the bar.

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The Beastro – From Thursday November 24th- Saturday November 26th you can get a 3 course roast turkey dinner with a glass of wine or beer is 55,000 won. The full menu hasn’t been declared yet but last years dinner included butternut squash bisque, a Thanksgiving platter of roasted turkey, seasonal vegetables, mashed potato, stuffing, house made cranberry sauce, gravy, a choice of salad or mac and cheese and Pumpkin Pie with spiced whipped cream for dessert. I’m a huge fan of this restaurant and I have no doubt that their turkey platter will be just as good as all the rest of their food. Reservations are recommended you can call them on 02-334-2500.

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WinK –  From Thursday November 24th- Sunday November 27th you can get a thanksgiving dinner plate with a beer or mulled cocktail for 29,000. The plate will include turkey, sausage and apple stuffing, roast garlic mashed potatoes, home style gravy, green beans with walnut pesto, 4 Mac & Cheese, red wine cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. There will be two seating 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 call them on 02-6053-3429.

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Southside Parlour – For those who want 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 BBQ spiced turkey, apple pecan stuffing, cranberry hibiscus relish, smoked gravy, cornmeal fried okra, chorizo Mac & Cheese, bacon braised green beans, sour cream and chive mashed potatoes, citrus glazed carrots, berry cobbler and a seasonal cocktail of your choice for 39,000. There are two seating available 6-8pm or 8:30-10:30pm. Seats must be reserved  in advance via their facebook event page.

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Dominic – On Thursday 24th of November Dominic will be serving up a delicious gourmet Thanksgiving Dinner for 50,000 per person. The menu includes deep fried turkey, apple pork belly, beet apple bacon stuffing, caramelized onion Mac n Cheese, mashed potato, creamed spinach on brioche and tiramisu crunch. There will be one seating from 7:00-8:30pm. To reserve a spot contact them via their facebook page.

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Bull and Barrel – On Thursday November 24th & Sunday November 27th 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, sausage 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 – 8 pm, and another from 8:30 -10:30 pm. While on Sunday the 27th of November there are three seatings, the first from 3 – 5 pm, the second from 5:30 -7:30 pm, and the third from 8 – 10 pm. You can reserve your table via text message on 010-9982-2423 or by messaging them via their facebook page.

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Route 66 – Will be celebrating with their 3rd Thanksgiving dinner! 56 tickets will be available. Cash only and you can pick them up at the bar. First come, first served until tickets are sold out! The 35,000 dinner includes a drink,  turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, 66’s sweet potato casserole, grilled veggies, buffalo chicken dip, rolls, pumpkin and apple pie w/vanilla ice cream!

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The Four Seasons – For those who want to keep it classy on such a fine occasion The Market Kitchen at the Four Seasons Hotel will be serving up a special Thanksgiving Themed buffet on Thursday the 24th which includes whole roast turkey, whole roast lamb, pumpkin pie and much much more. The dinner starts at 5:30pm and costs 100,000 won per person. They will also have Turkey Dinner To Go packages available from the 24th of November – 31st of December for those who want to dine at home without the work. Their package which costs 220,000 includes 5-6kg roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, roast sweet pumpkin, green beans, glazed carrots, grilled corn, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, and pumpkin pie.

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For those of you who like to enjoy your turkey in the comfort of your own home you can get one delivered right  to your doorstep from  High Street Market. The turkey dinner includes a juicy 12-14 pound turkey, 2kg of mashed potato, 8 cups of brown gravy, 1kg of green bean almondine, turkey stuffing, cranberry sauce and stollen. The dinners serve between 10-12 people and cost 229,000. There are also are options available with roast beef, lamb, pork, and ham. Dinners must be ordered in advance. See their website for more details.

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Vatos Urban Collective – For those not remotely interested in Turkey then Drinksgiving at Votos could be just the event you are looking for. The all you can drink event held on Friday November 25th from 7pm-11pm is an alcoholic extravaganza. Tickets include carnitas tacos, chips and unlimited drinks made by each featured bartender. There will also be a bar tending competition where you can vote for your favourite drink. Tickets cost 33,000 if you pre register and 40,000 on the door. See their facebook event page for more details.

If none of these options float your boat, then do not despair, there are more dinners to be had. I have been in contact with several other restaurants who plan to offer specials but haven’t finalised their menus yet. So stay tuned!

Pub of the Month – The Wolfhound

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It’s time for another pub of the month. A chance to reacquaint yourselves with an old favourite that you we might have all forgotten about after being seduced by all the new hot spots that have been opening . This Month it is Seoul’s beloved Irish Pub, The Wolfhound.  I will always have a huge fondness for The Wolfhound in Itaewon as its where I first met my darling TFB, he was watching rugby, I was drinking cider, it’s a love story to rival Romeo and Juliet. Back in my Cheongju days it was my group’s home base when coming up to Seoul. We would hit it up on a Saturday night, then reconvene again on Sunday lunch time and feast upon fry ups before heading back home to the ‘ju’. There was no place I’d rather be on Sunday Funday, and although I don’t party quite as much as I used to, it’s good to know its always there and open 365 days a year..

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As you might expect the two floored pubs sells everything you could dream of and more liquor wise at very reasonable prices. They were also one of the only pub bars to make a decent cocktail back in the days before mixologists and speakeasies became all the rage. Their drinks aren’t fancy but I’ve always been fond of their strawberry lemonade, it’s a super sweet and sour frozen treat.

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Their ample menu is made up of the usual Itaewon pub fare like wings and burgers, along with all those dishes your mammy used to make you for tea like bangers and mash, toad in the hole, shepherd’s pie, beef and mushroom pie, and Irish stew. As well as their regular menu they have a food special happening every week night, and the best of the bunch is by far and away their 1+1 Fish and chips on Tuesdays! Now Seoul is seriously lacking in good fish and chips , often the fish is good but the chips, well they aren’t chips. The Wolfhound does their version with potato wedges and for 7,000 per person its probably the tastiest bargain around.

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2016 marks the 10 year anniversary of the Wolfhound, and for an Itaewon restaurant and bar to last that long is quite an achievement. They have recently renovated the third floor and added a new pool table, electronic darts, and beer pong. They will also be having a huge party at the end of the year to mark the very special occasion. But you don’t need to wait until then, tomorrow (Saturday the 29th) they will be hosting their annual Halloween Party. It is without fail one of the best events in the neighbourhood and is always packed to the rafters, probably due to their very generous 1.5 million won cash prize for their costume contest, so be sure to look out for me (I’ll be dressed as a unicorn). Happy Halloween!

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The Wolfhound is located at 128-6 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 4. Turn back on yourself, and  take a right at the intersection and then the first right after that. Walk along this street, The Wolfhound is located on the right hand side on the second floor. For more information you can call them on 02-749-7971 or checkout their facebook page.