Tag: restaurant

C27

I’m not sure if you will believe this, but this year I didn’t have a birthday cake. A tragic tale I know, but it ends very well because my very wonderful friend Lizzy offered to cheer me up and take me the land of cake, a magical place in Sinsa that offers 27 different kinds of cheesecake! There is nothing like a dazzling array of wondrous desserts to put a smile upon your face, and forget your troubles.

The dessert cafe is set over four floors, a true tower of cake filled goodness. The main cafe is on the first, making it easy for you to order your drinks and desserts, then you go and find yourself a seat and wait for your order. While every floor of the cafe is different, being two rather lazy ladies, we settled for the ultra comfy sofa nook in the back of the first floor. However there are dozens of cute selfie spaces  strewn throughout, just check out this mannequin and beauty mirror combo, obligatory selfie taking girls included.

Life is full of hard decisions, and none so hard as choosing which of the 27 different cheesecake we were to try. Since my companion was the president of the cake club and much more experienced than I when it comes to desserts, I left the decision up to her. It was for the best as I was getting carried away, if I had had my way i would have tried them all. A dream that one day I hope to fulfil. On the drinks side they offer the usual assortment of coffees and a teas, plus a couple of yogurty type smoothie things and wine. Nothing that overshadows the cakes though.

In the end we narrowed it down to three. The Earl Grey, the Dutch Apple and the Chocolate Cherry Cheese all 8,800 per slice. All the cheesecakes are the same price which I think is a nice touch, and allows you to make a choice based on flavour rather than price. While all the cheesecakes were orgasmicly good, I’d have to give the Earl Grey my star prize. I never would have chosen this one but it was rather magical. The cheesecake itself was sweet and creamy and incredibly delicious. It was topped with a very light fluffy creamy topping, and had a tea flavoured sponge at the bottom. The Earl Grey flavour wasn’t particularly strong, but there was enough to give you a hint of flavour as the cheesecake melted in the mouth. Each of the plates comes decorated with a trio of grated cheeses, not sure if it really works but it is a playful idea, and I’m always willing to eat a bit of cheese.

Our second choice was the Dutch Apple (8,800). This one was topped with a very crunchy and sweet and crumbly biscuit topping, this made for a nice contrast of textures against the silkiness of the cheesecake itself. We also loved the chunks of fruit strewn throughout giving a fruity pop now and then. This one didn’t have a sponge bottom like the others, it had more of a pastry bottom instead of the sponge, which made it a little more like an apple pie.

Lastly we ordered The Chocolate Cherry Cheese (8,800), which was probably the most decadent of the three we tried. This one had a chocolate sponge bottom, and was topped with a chocolate cheesecake which was studded with little bits of cherry, then a layer of fresh cream, and finished with a thick layer of chocolate ganache.  This one was he sweetest of the bunch and very chocolatey, the chunks of cherry were nice when we found them but I would have liked a lot more. If you are a chocolate lover then this one is likely to be a winner, though there were at least half a dozen other chocolate versions too.

Overall you couldn’t find a better place for cheesecake. The array of flavours was incredible and the cheesecake was excellent.  The cheesecakes are baked but have a similar silkier smoothness to the non baked ones that are more popular in the UK, so I especially enjoyed them. The cafe itself is quite stylish and has plenty of room and is a nice place to while away an afternoon while enjoying some good desserts.This is the main branch of  C27 but there are several other locations, including a new one opening soon in Hongdae.

C27 is located at 545-12 Sinsa-Dong, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Sinsa station (line 3) and come out exit 8. Walk straight and take the fourth left (the one after Garosugil). Walk straight down this road, you will see C27 about four blocks down on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-544-9901 or check out their website.

Itaewon the Burger Gangnam

It took me a long time and many meals to find a burger that I love in this city, and I finally found it at Itaewon the burger. It is by far and away my favourite burger joint in Seoul, and it is clear that I am not the only one who thinks so as they have just expanded and opened a new location in Gangnam. Knowing what a fan I am of their food, they invited me and a couple of my bestest friends to come and give the the new menu items a try.  The new place is huge and located on the second floor of a building in Seolleung, it’s bigger, brighter, and more colourful than the sister store. I always find it difficult to find good places to eat when I am in this part of town, so I am sure people are out rejoicing in the streets about this new addition to the neighbourhood.

The big speciality of this new location are these amazing freakshakes, which are sadly not available in Itaewon. So far there are three on the menu: The signature shake being the Swag the Party (13,900), a peanut butter shake topped with half a sweet shop. The glass is encrusted with MnMs, and topped with marshmallows, wafers, peanut butter cups, caramel sauce and a giant ass lollipop. This one is definitely for the sweet toothed among us and a total sugar rush, pro tip, you can get a salted version which is even yummier. The shake itself was lovely and if you are sharing between a few of you, I’m sure you’ll have fun doling out the candy between you.

As well as the Swag Party there is also the Toasted Marshmallow Mount (10,900), a chocolate and hazelnut milkshake which was topped with toasted marshmallows, hazelnuts, cookies, wafers and peanut butter cups. This one was my favourite, as I adore hazelnut, it was kind of like a giant Ferrero Rocher. Last up is the healthiest shake, the Avocado and Banana (10,900). This was a mix of vanilla, banana, and avocado. This one I wasn’t quite so sure about. I often enjoy a bit of avocado in my green smoothies as I like the creaminess but as a flavour all by itself I wasn’t convinced. My two dining companions liked it more than me though, and the slices of fresh avocado must make it worth about a billion dollars by itself.

The burger menu is the same as at the Itaewon location. My favourite of all the ones I have tried is the Big Double Burger (13,900). It consists of 2 x 140g beef burgers, 2 rashers of bacon, 2 slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion,pickles, and a healthy slathering of mayo . It has been a couple of months since I last had one but after retasting it, I was glad to find that it lived up to all my expectations. When I bit into it, it got a loud and resounding Mmm. It was the favourite of both of my dining companions too.  The burgers here are flame grilled, which is probably what makes them so great in my eyes, and gives them a healthy edge on the competition.

Since my last review the Avocaddict (13,900) has been added to the menu. This is one serious burger, and I have tried it on a couple of occasions over the past few months. It is absolutely monstrous and you will have one hell of a time trying to eat it, just check out my Instagram video if you don’t believe me. This really is an avocado lovers dream, and as you can see they aren’t chintzy with the avocado. Avocado and bacon is always the perfect combination, throw it on a burger and it is party time. While it is jolly hard to eat, it is blooming tasty, the beef and avocado make such a good match. They also serve a version in a lettuce wrap instead of bread for anyone who wants a lighter option.

The other new item we got to try was the Bacon Cheese Fries (6,900). I have never been a fan of the fake cheese-like paste that Americans seem to be fond of. But these were awesome, not sure if it was the bacon, the fake cheese or a combination. They were just uber rich and salty, and we polished them off pretty quickly. The crunchy chunks of bacon were very plentiful, it was such a great sharing dish.

By the time the three of us has polished off this mountain of food, we were fit to bursting, which is always a good sign in my book. If you keep eating even though you are full it always means the food is good. The new restaurant is a great addition down in Gangnam. Other than Firebell there really aren’t a whole bunch of western burgers in this area, so hopefully it will prove to be very popular with the locals. The space is great, and I’m told reasonably quiet at the moment on the weekends because they mainly cater to the office crowds. So if you trying to get away from the madness that is Itaewon on the weekend then this is your place.

Itaewon the Burger Gangnam is located at 33, Samseong-ro 85-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.  To get there take a train to Seolleung station (line 2), and come out of exit 1.Walk straight then take the third right. Walk along this street then take the second left. You will see Itaewon the burger a little way down on the right hand side on the second floor. For more information you can call them on 02-565-8940 or check out their facebook page. They are open Mon – Sat from 11:30am – 9:30pm with a break from 3pm-5pm.

The Beastro Brunch

No your eyes are not deceiving you, after years and years of producing poor quality images on my phone, I have finally gone and bought myself a proper camera. As the blog has just turned 5, I thought I should treat myself to a little birthday present. As luck would have it, the day after the new camera arrived,  I was invited back to The Beastro to try their new brunch menu. After having sampled new Head Chef Steven’s dinner menu, I knew I was in for a treat so couldn’t possibly turn down a chance to check it out. And as it turned out, their beautiful food was just the right subject for me to practice my new skills on.

One of the most exciting new items on the menu, are their giant cocktail jugs, especially since one of them is Pimm’s (35,000)! Nothing says summer like a jug of Pimm’s, so I’m so excited that there is a second location in Seoul serving it up. This one is a lemony twist on the classic version which is usually made with strawberries ,orange, cucumber, and mint. While the lemon isn’t quite usual it certainly makes it much more refreshing. They also have pitchers of margaritas for the same price. We shared this between four of us, and we had at least two drinks each, probably ten in total so it is great value.

The first starter that we shared was the Grilled Piri Piri Jumbo Shrimp (12,000) which is actually from the dinner menu. The five jumbo shrimp were marinated in a Korean red chili & bourbon hot sauce, charred on the grill and topped with lime and parsley. These were absolutely incredible, the sauce was so full of flavour that it penetrated though the shells. They were spicy and sour all at the same time, and so good that we were fighting over the last one. Chef Steven told me they also do a chicken version on the lunch menu, which I’m imagining would be just as good. Nando’s fans should seriously check it out, especially since the Portuguese restaurant Taverna has shut down.

Our second starter was the Grilled Calamari (16,000). This was served with a brown butter dressing, capers, anchovies, cherry tomato, olives, and arugula. The calamari was also a firm favourite, and perfect for the summer. While I wasn’t quite sold on the tentacles as I found them too chewy, I loved the softer chunks of the body. This dish was so light and refreshing. With a handful more salad leaves it could easily become a very filling main dish.

Being a particularly boozy bunch, we made short work of our jug of Pimm’s, so ordered another round of drinks. You can’t do brunch without Bloody Marys and Mimosas (both 10,000), so we had to give them a try. The Bloody Mary is particularly well made here, and I loved the fact they asked how spicy we would like it, which is always a plus in my book. The mimosa and Moscow Mule went down a treat too. I also appreciate that all of the brunch cocktails are 10,000 a piece, meaning it is much cheaper for day drinkers like myself to get a good buzz going on.

For the main event we moved on to the more brunchy part of the menu. While everything we had was lovely, the undeniable stand out was the Salt House Beef Pastrami Hash (16,000). It was made with the locally smoked pastrami by Salt House, roast potatoes, caramelized onion, roasted peppers, and was topped with two poached eggs. This was just the perfect combination of ingredients in my eyes. The crunchy roast potatoes were punctuated by salty chunks of beef, while the caramelized onion and balsamic dressing provided a tangy sweetness. I could happily eat this for brunch every weekend for the rest of my life.

We also tried the Beastro Breakfast (16,000) – two eggs any style, with thick cut house cured bacon from Salt House, breakfast sausages, home fries, baked beans, and Pain au lait toast. The breakfast was fine, but not as obnoxiously amazing as the hash, I think those looking for a fry up should be pleased though.  Another popular option on the brunch menu is the Salmon Eggs Benedict (15,000).  This is served with a choice of house smoked salmon or Salt House Jeju ham, cheddar scone, home fries, two soft poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. The salmon was melt in the mouth, but with a flavour that overshadowed the rest of the dish somewhat, I’d be interested to try the Jeju ham version next time to see how it compares.

And last but not least, was the Pain Au Lait French Toast (16,000). As french toast goes this one was very similar to how I make it at home, so I was very happy. It was topped with Blueberry compote, Grand Marnier Butter, toasted almonds, and maple syrup. This made the ideal dessert, I was thinking it might be a bit heavy, but the french toast was almost custardy in the middle and it ended up being much lighter than expected, especially as there was a hint of lemon running through it.

I was in no doubt that we were going to have another amazing meal at The Beastro, but it was nice to confirm that standards haven’t slipped since the new head chef Steven has taken over. The Beastro is an incredible place, in terms of location and their menu, so it is great to see they are keeping it fresh. The conservatory style top floor is the ideal place to enjoy the glorious weather while still being in an air conditioned environment. If you haven’t been here to sample the new menu, you’re missing out!

The Beastro is located at  358-32 Seogyo Dong 2F, Mapo Gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Sangsu station (line 6). Come out of exit 1 and turn back on yourself. Keep walking straight for about 5 minutes until you reach the Hongdae Park. Walk up the stairs till you reach the road that runs parallel and you should see The Beastro on the 2nd floor above M.A.C (Make-up and great food!!!). For more information call 02-334-2500 or check out their facebook page.

Rooftops in Itaewon

You’d think in a city as cool as Seoul, there would be a hell of a lot more roof top action going on, but thanks to the zoning regulations, or some other boring reason like that, rooftops really aren’t permitted here, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In the Itaewon area alone there are dozens of different rooftop bars to soak up the sunshine, with new places popping up all the time. Since summer has now officially started, I thought would share my top five favourite places to hang out and drink while catching a tan.

1.Southside Parlor – Not only does this Texan bar make one hell of a cocktail, they also have a pretty large and impressive rooftop going on. The whole bar has just undergone a complete transformation, but thankfully my favourite cocktail The Pimp Cup  is still on the menu. This is the Lone Star State’s take on the classic British cocktail Pimm’s. They also have awesome edibles like their highly addictive piggy chips and tacos.

2. Brick Yard – I can’t believe that Brickyard has just turned two years old, my how time has flown. The cocktail menu has changed quite a lot in that time and isn’t as fancy as it used to be thanks to my favourite barman leaving, but they still rustle up a refreshing drink and the rooftop is as bitching as ever.

3. Rooftop Bottle Shop –  Located above Sam Ryan’s, this self-service bar is an Itaewon institution. The rooftop is huge, and you can help yourself an amazing array of beers and ciders out of the fridge. They also sell liquor by the bottle, plus mixers and even provide ice and glasses. There is also food and snacks available for when you get peckish. Check out this facebook page for more.

4. Sonnendeck – Sonnendeck has an awesomely amazing rooftop filled with fake grass and huge giant bean bag loungers. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy some Sunday Funday. Some past events here include a La Marmite brunch pop up, and Drag Queen brunch, if that’s not a reason to get out of bed I don’t know what is. They also have parties that go all night too, this Saturday the amazing team behind Little Baja will be hosting a taco and cocktail pop up. Check out the event facebook page to see more details.

5. Hamilton Hotel – Right in the middle of Itaewon is the Hamilton hotel, which has its own pool that is open to the public for a small fee (20,000-25,000). The bar offers all manner of drinks and the tunes are pumping out all day. It gets insanely crowded on weekends so if you have your heart set on renting a lounge chair (15,000) come early. Most days it is open between 10am-6pm, but every Saturday in July & August they are having special all night parties. It’s the closest you are going to get to an Ibiza vibe in Seoul .

Left Coast Burgers

Left Coast Burgers needs no introduction, I mean you are probably asking why why the hell I am writing about it. However they recently moved to a new location, and as I like to keep you all abreast of all burger related information in Itaewon, I grabbed all of my favourite gal pals and headed off to give it a try. The new location up behind the Hamilton is a wee bit  smaller than the last one. In fact the location is not the only thing that has shrank in size, the new burgers look like they have been on a diet too. Thankfully this change is reflected in the new prices which are much lower than they used to be. They now offer most of the burgers in singles or doubles, the adorable owner Angela informed me the old size are more like the new double burgers, so you will definitely want to double up if you have an appetite as large as mine.

After perusing the new simpler menu I decided to go for the double Cheeseburger (7,900), and because I am greedy I got the Fried Chicken Burger (6,900) too. The Double Cheeseburger came  with 2 beef burgers topped with cheese and roasted garlic mayo. If I’m being honest this one was too simple for me, as much as I was living for the garlic mayo, I wish i had gone for the LCB instead which came with grilled onions, tomato and special sauce. I had a bite of my friends and it was delicious, if you like a simple burger though I’m sure you will be pleased with the cheeseburger, especially at its new budget friendly price. The chicken burger left me wanting more too, when I read that it was topped with swiss, bacon, and ranch sauce I was practically salivating, but in reality it just didn’t quite live up to my expectations, for want of a better word it just seemed a little sad in terms of flavour and texture, hopefully this will be worked on as I adore a good chicken burger and good one is hard to find in Itaewon.

The best burger of the day was definitely the double John Wayne (10,900) which was ordered by my beloved TFB and comes topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, onion rings, and BBQ sauce. I’m a sucker for any burger that is topped with bacon and BBQ sauce, especially when you add onion rings into the mix too. Left Coast was always famous for their epic and imaginative burgers so hopefully more of these will make their way back on to the menu. TFB actually got this bad boy to go, probably because he knew I would end up eating it if he didn’t make a fast getaway. We got a side of fries and it came in this super cute takeout box.

Overall its good to see that Left Coast is back in business after a brief hiatus. The menu has a few new items including salads and soft serve ice cream, and has put on their delicious breakfast burrito full time. While I’m still hoping some of the old burgers like the Juicy Lucy will make a comeback, the new prices are really great and I’m sure will make a lot of people happy in these economically depressing times. I am also thrilled that they have made a big effort to make their takeout customers a little happier by providing adorable take out boxes via Shuttle. If you are as lazy as I am, you can order without leaving your bed by clicking here.

Left Coast is located at 23 Itaewon-ro, 19gil Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 1. Walk straight and take the fourth alleyway on the right (its the last one) walk straight up that road past Shenanigan’s, and Brick Yard etc. You should see Left Coast just up ahead on the left hand side opposite the carpark. For more information you can call them on 02-790-3459 or check out their facebook page. Left Coast is open Tuesday – Sunday for lunch & dinner.

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.