Tag: restaurant

300 Degree

The Itaewon area has no shortage of places selling pizza, however that doesn’t mean that a new one isn’t a welcome addition. 300 Degree has recently moved from its home in Kyodae to a new location in Itaewon opposite the Foreign Food market. Now a new pizza place wouldn’t really count as news, if not for the fact they serve it up Italian style in 1 meter pizzas. That’s right, 1 meter of pizza, it was music to my ears. Now I have to confess that I have known about this pizza phenomenon for some time now, but sheer laziness prevented me from trudging across town to try it, but when I heard they had moved to my hood, it moved straight to the top of my foodie list.

 

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The new place is on the second floor of the same building as Sin Bin. They were newly opened when I paid a visit, so still finishing the decor. Local artist Aaron Cossrow is designing a mural to fill one of the walls, and I have no doubt it will look incredible when it is done. Now I realise that not everyone is like me, and that when they hear that a restaurant offers a meter of pizza they immediately want to find out if they can devour it in one sitting but that is just how I roll. As you probably know, I have taken part in quite a few eating challenges and competitions over the year and the owner at 300 Degree actually reached out to me about doing a video on the 1 meter pizza.. So I packed up my camera and decided to head over and take on the 1 meter pizza challenge. The restaurant doesn’t actually offer this as a challenge, there is nothing to gain from actually eating the whole pizza yourself other than a sense of pride, but that was more than enough for me.

The pizzas come in two sizes, 50cm (which start at 20,000), and 1 meter (which starts at 44,000). My one meter pizza had three toppings the Bufala which is tomato sauce, mozzarella di bufala, tomato, and basil. The Norcina which is cream sauce, mozzarella, truffle sauce, walnuts, porcini mushroom. And lastly the Siciliana, which is aubergine, black olive, mozzarella, and fresh feta. Both the Bufala and Norcina count as speciality toppings making my pizza 54,000. When I saw the pizza in front of me I was kind of shocked at how big it was, it is basically like three pizzas stuck together. Which each section containing eight slices, it made twenty four in all, and I seriously started to doubt if I would be able to finish it.

Although this was a challenge, there was no time factor so I got to enjoy the pizza in my own time. If asked to choose between American and Italian pizza, I will choose Italian pizza every time. I’m a thin crust girl and this crust was light and chewy.  My hands down favourite of the three flavours I tried was the Norcina. I always adore a truffles and mushrooms combo, and even more so when cheese is involved. I think I would have been very happy to have a whole pizza made out of this it was so good.  I love a cream sauce pizza so it went down easy, they were eight very easy slices to manage.

While I couldn’t get enough of the cream sauce topping, it in no way diminishes the deliciousness of the tomato sauce pizzas. The Buffala was the perfect marriage of mozzarella, tomato and basil, and everything a good pizza should be. While the Siciliana offered a differing mix of flavours again. I loved having the variety of the different slices, and it definitely made it a lot easier to tackle.  However by about halfway I was absolutely stuffed to the gills, and in serious doubt as to whether I could finish it. Thankfully my competitive and greedy nature prevailed and I finished the whole thing in just over 28 minutes.

Overall I really enjoyed the pizza (the first half anyhow)  and honestly thought the price of the pizza to be very reasonable. In the luxury pizza market, and lets face it anyone charging over 30,000 for a large is in the high end bracket. 44,000 for the standard is not bad at all. 3-4 people could very comfortably eat this, and be satisfied, plus the fact that you get to eat three different toppings makes it ideal to share. If you are sharing between two people, I think you would be best to go for the 50cm pizza, or expect to take a hell of a lot home. If you like Italian style pizza this place is not to be missed.

300 Degree is located at 132-4 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight until you reach the intersection and turn right. Walk straight along this road slightly uphill. You will see 300 Degree just ahead on the right hand side on the floor below Sin Bin, across from the foreign food mart. For more information you can call them on 02-792-9344 or check out their facebook page. The pizza is also available for delivery via Shuttle. If you have yet to use the service, you can get free delivery on your first order by clicking here.

 

NY Burger & Bagel – Brunch

Brunch is my favourite meal of the week, there are few things that I enjoy more than catching up with friends on the weekend over a leisurely meal. However finding new and delicious spots for brunch where you don’t have to queue up outside for about 1000 hours in this city is no easy task. And to make matters worse, over the past year lots of my favourite brunch spots have closed. So when NY B&B got in touch with me to share that they are now serving brunch and invited me to come try it I of course couldn’t resist (and if you have tried their burgers before, then you wouldn’t either).  Since NY B&B focuses on American food, I thought I’d take a couple of ‘Mericans with me to get their take on it. The brunch is currently only available at the new Hannam branch, which has been open for almost six months. The restaurant is much bigger than the original in Gangnam, and is light and airy thanks to its floor to ceiling windows, making it perfect for brunch.

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I’m not usually one to start my day with something sweet, but the pancakes are the real star of the menu here so we were eager to try them. The batter is freshly made in small batches and only keeps for 2 hours at a time. In fact if you plan on coming with a large group or on a weekday morning it’s best to call ahead and make a reservation to make sure they have enough batter on hand. I always like to start with the most basic version of something before moving on to the more experimental version so we kicked off with the Butter Milk Pancakes (8,500). While I like pancakes well enough, they aren’t a food I lust after, or go out to eat often enough. Maybe I’ve just eaten too many bad ones and find them easy enough to make at home. However these surpassed all my expectations, they were light as air, and as fluffy as a cloud. Topped with real maple syrup, berries and whipped cream we finished every bite. Hands down the best pancakes I’ve had in Korea and much better than Original Pancake House in my opinion. We then moved on to the Red Velvet Pancakes (10,500), which were bright red and covered a sweet cream cheese frosting. I was really excited about these, but found they hadn’t quite managed to recreate the texture or the flavour of red velvet cake. I was hoping for more of that sour chocolatey taste. we really liked the cream cheese drizzle though. The last pancakes we tried were the Chocolate Chip Pancakes (10,500), which were just as good as the buttermilk ones with the addition of chocolate chips. I haven’t actually had chocolate chip pancakes before but was informed by my companions they are an American staple. The other sweet item on the menu is the Almond Crusted French Toast (11,500). The bread used is very thick and crusted with nuts, which makes it very filling. When topped with the bananas, maple syrup and cream is is absolutely delicious.

After trying our sweet dishes, we moved on to the savoury. First to try was the Little Man Breakfast (14,500), which considered of bacon, 2 eggs, home fries, and toast. The home fries on this were epic. It is hard to describe how orgasmic they really were but I shall try. They were crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, and very well seasoned so they had their own kind of yummy flavour going on. All three of us were fighting over them, In fact I’d never stop eating them given the chance and they are worth going back for alone. As for the rest of the platter, the bacon was crisp, and the toast was thick and served with butter. A simple American breakfast if ever there was one. For really big eaters they do an extra large version of this called the Big Boy which comes with steak.

Lastly we finished with the Omelette Platter (17,500) which turned out to be our unanimous favourite. The 3 egg omelette was stuffed with mushrooms and mozzarella and was topped with bacon. The omelette itself was light and fluffy without being monstrous in size or over cooked like most omelettes in town. Being a huge fan of mushrooms I also adored the cheese and mushroom filling inside. It was served with more of those incredible home fries, toast, and a side salad which added a touch of colour. While it is rather on the pricey side as omelettes go, it is very filling.

Overall we had a fab meal, not only does NY B&B do awesome burgers, they clearly know how to put on a good brunch too. While the menu caters to the American crowd, there are plenty of dishes to please us Brits. The only thing missing are boozy brunch cocktails, which they assured me they are working on. In the meantime they still have wine, beer, and a pretty well stocked bar, and are happy to make you anything you like if they have the ingredients.

NY Burger & Bagel Hannam is located at 744-5 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hanggangjin station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight and cross the street whenever you get a chance. Then take a left at the Bun Cha place. At the next intersection take another left, and then keep walking down that street, you will see NY B&B in the new big black building to the right, the entrance is tucked away round the corner but you can’t miss the signs. For more information you can call them on 02-592-7992 or check out their facebook pages. The store is open 10:30am – 10:30pm Mon-Sat, and 10:30-9:00pm on Sundays. Reservations are in no way necessary but advised to avoid disappointment.

Nori Table

A fortnight ago, I was lucky enough to catch the very last of the summer sunshine and enjoyed a delightful alfresco lunch at Nori Table. The Cali style sushi joint has been open for near on a year at this point but they recently added some DIY sushi platters to the menu and asked me to come by and try them to see what I thought. Never one to turn down a chance to try something new, especially in a place I frequent regularly, I of course had to say yes.

The coolest new item on the menu is the Teori Nori, a do it yourself sushi roll platter. We had the set for 1 which is 23,000, there is also a larger set for 2 for 44,000. The platter comes piled high with salmon, yellow tail, spicy tuna, avocado, tempura shrimp, beef tataki, tamago egg, uni, and torched scallops. You also get a stack of seaweed papers, a pile of rice, a trio of fish roe and wasabi and ginger. As you get two of everything, it makes it a very easy to share between two people, though me not being a huge raw fish lover, we shared ours a little differently. Of the fishy dishes I loved the tempura shrimps, scallops and the spicy tuna, while TFB made short work of the raw fish. The sweet and soft tamago egg was also delightful and we had more than enough seaweed and rice to make our rolls. If you are picky about what you like on your sushi like I am, this is kind of ideal, you can pick and choose what to put on the rolls. The platter is recommended for one, but you get  as you get at least two of every item I think it could be shared between two, especially if you add a couple of extra side dishes.

As you know I am powerless to resist almost anything deep fried, especially chicken, so we added a potion of Chicken Kara-age (8,000). The classic Japanese fried chicken dish, was very moreish. The chunks of tender chicken were in a light yet crispy batter and the dipping sauce slightly sweet and salty. I am also a big fan of their Chicken Teriyaki, which is equally crispy and just has a different but slightly thicker sauce.

I have tried most of the large speciality rolls over my visits, all of which I have enjoyed, but this time we tried the SosorrybutIrollyou (14,000). The SosorrybutIrollyou was stuffed with asparagus, cream cheese, and wrapped in thin slices of beef. We really enjoyed this beef roll, the tataki style beef worked really well with the cream cheese and asparagus, and for those who aren’t big fish fans like myself it is a welcome addition to the menu. In fact all of the rolls I have tried on my numerous visits have been tasty.

Overall we had another satisfying meal at Nori Table, and I am glad to see they are doing well. Western style sushi is a hard find in Seoul, so Nori Table has helped fill a big gap in the market.They have a very large menu, with lots of different items, so there is something for everyone. I have been numerous times over the past year and have always had a good time.

Nori Table is located at 455-47 Itaewon-dong, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station and exit using the elevator or exit 1. Come out of the elevator and walk over the bridge. Take a right at the end and follow the road round. You will see Nori Table just up on the right opposite 3 section. For more information you can call them on 02-792-4427 or check out their facebook page. They are open for lunch and dinner everyday except Tuesday and take a break between 3:30-5:30pm.

Souper

Sometimes life is very fortuitous, as I found out about the most amazing soup place in Mapo the week before I got really sick. However with Autumn in full swing and Winter just around the corner you don’t have to be sick to enjoy a bellyful of soup. Souper is located just a short walk from Mapo station, and is really cute and quaint and has a very warm and welcoming kitchen-cum-living room homey feel. Think Sunday nights sat at the kitchen table doing your homework, while your Mum makes dinner kind of a vibe.

The menu consists of about half a dozen different soups, which are written up on a big mirror on the wall. The soups come in two sizes, with a side of bread. You can also add an extra side of rice or pasta if you want to make them even more filling. Taking into account my ravenous appetite, I ordered the large Mushroom Truffle Bisque (7,800). The second this came out I could smell the truffles, and the smell taunted me whilst I was taking the pictures. The soup itself was a touch on the thin side, but had such a creamy and mushroomy flavour I could forgive its skinny body. I also have to mention the very lovely, crispy yet chewy accompanying bread. I forgot to ask if it was home made but it was really good.

One of my dining companions ordered the New England Clam Chowder (7,400), which was lovely and thick but a tad fishy for my tastes. She enjoyed it though, especially the crispy pieces of bacon on top. While the other got the Lemon Chicken Orzo (6,800). Unfortunately when we visited they were out of the accompanying orzo so she had to have it with pasta instead. I definitely preferred this one over the clam chowder thought we all thought it should have been more lemony. I think of the three we tried I choose the most wisely for my tastes. 

One of the girls also ordered a Chicken Avocado Salad (11,800) to split between us. It reminded me quite a lot of of the salad I had made for work that day. It had a nice mix of textures and good fresh ingredients. The balsamic dressing was also very tasty. If you aren’t in the mood for soup, I’m sure you would enjoy it, though it is a tad on the pricey side compared with the soups.

Overall I thought Souper to be super. Soups are a real staple back home where the weather is cold 8 months of the year. However the flavours that are so popular at home haven’t really caught on with Koreans. In fact I don’t think I have ever come across a western style soup place before in Seoul. We all thought the soups to be excellent value and we all left very satisfied, so I really hope this place does well.

Souper is located at 20 Samgae-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Map Station (line 5) and come out of exit 3. Turn back on yourself and walk towards exit 4 which is currently under renovations. Take the first left after passing exit four and walk straght down this road for a minute or two. You will see Souper just up ahead on the right hand side.  For more information you can call them on 02-711-3518 or check out their instagram. They are open everyday 9am-9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am-8pm on Saturday & Sunday.

Tap Public

Craft beer is huge in Korea, with new brews being created all the time. However I pretty much figured there was nowhere else for the trend to go until I was invited to Tap Public, to try Korea’s first self pour beer bar. The taphouse boasts  60 different taps offering a staggering 58 kinds of beer and two wines. The beer ranges from craft to generic and local to international. There is a real mix and there should be something for everyone.

The sleek and shiny new bar is located towards the Hangangjin end of Itaewon in a building behind the Hyundai Card Place. Once inside the bar spreads out to a very large space with plenty of inside seating and a gigantic patio. The bar is very well designed, and has a very cool but welcoming feel to it. The patio is absolutely gorgeous and will be amazing in the summer, but it’s also equally lovely in this weather with the roaring fire feature and outdoor heaters.

Once seated we received a wristband each which is used to calculate how much beer you have had. We then went to check out the beers. As you know I’m not a huge beer drinker so was a tad overwhelmed. Thankfully the beers are charged per 10mls, so it is great for novices like myself as you can try as many as you like until you find one you want to stick with. As the beers are so wide in selection the prices varied from 150 won per 10mls – 550 won, though most were around 200 won. To buy your beer you grab a glass then touch your wrist band to the screen of the beer you like, then take as much a you like. The high tech system really appealed to my inner geek and I’m sure it will be very popular with the gents. The owner, Kevin, recommended that I try the Märzen Larger (170 won / 10ml). This is a special Octoberfest beer from the Playground Brewery. I tend to favour lagers so really enjoyed this. Despite its dark hue it had a very palatable almost fruity flavour that was very drinkable. My companion tried the new Yongsan Electro IPA (190 won / 10mls). This has been specially brewed for the beer fest happening this weekend at the Yongsan Electronics Market. I am no fan of IPAs, as they are generally too bitter for my tastes, and this one was no exception. But my companion enjoyed it a lot, and if you like IPA then then this one is certainly worth a try.

Drinking makes me hungry, so we decided to take a look at the menu. The menu is a real mix of items including the usual bistro fare and some wacky more inventive dishes. In the end we settled on the signature TP Burger (12,000). The cheeseburger came served in an incredible house made pretzel bun which was truly amazing. It was also topped with lettuce, tomato, and grilled onions so sweet we thought they were onion jam. You know I’m fussy with burgers but this was damn fine and got a very audible Mmm from me when biting into it. Although it was quite a simple burger it had everything I needed, and it was perfect accompaniment to the beers. The burger doesn’t come with anything so we also got a side of the Twisted Potato Wedges (6.000). These were toasted in a garlic and Parmesan coating that we enjoyed very much and served with a blue cheese dip. They were the perfect drinking food and gone in a matter of minutes.

Overall our visit was short and sweet, but I really liked the style of this place. I love the outdoor area and thought the place had an uber cool vibe. I have no doubt that the pour your own beer trend will become very popular,  and the variety of different beers is very hard to beat. I know my beer swilling boyfriend will be very into it, so I will definitely be returning  to try more of their food.

Tap Public is located at L2 T1 Building, 244 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. Walk straight and keep going until you get to the Cheil Building. Keep going straight over the crossing but take the alleyway in front of you, slightly to the right of he main road. Keep walking straight along this road. You will eventually get to the back of the Hyundai Card building. You will see a sign just outside and a set of stairs, go up and you will get to Tap Public on the second floor. For more information you can call them on 02-797-4999 or check out their facebook page. There are open everyday from 11:30am -1am.

Cuchara Mexican Eatery

I enjoy a good burrito as much as the next girl, so when I heard about a new Chipotle style knock off in Gangnam that offered up a very large burrito for around 7,000 won I was very keen to give it a try. Being English I don’t have much experience with Chipotle, I have never been on my handful of trips to the States, however I have heard numerous American friends sing its praises, and write facebook statuses wishing thy could get their hands on some in Seoul. I’m usually quite a slovenly creature, so heading across town to Gangnam for a burrito when I could easily get one in Itaewon was not a welcome prospect but I have a very good friend who lives locally who was also dying to try it so I figured I would suck it up and make the journey.

The restaurant has a cafeteria style, with a made to order kitchen and counter. You wait in line (avoid lunchtime like the plague) decide what you want, have it made in front of you, then pay for it. It’s kind of a level up from fast food, and reminded me a lot of Halal Guys & Shake Shack. There are four options at the moment: burrito, burrito bowl, taco, and a salad. You then choose your meat which determines the price (chicken 6,900, chorizo 8,400, carnitas 8,400, al pastor 8,400, veggie 9,000, steak 9,900) . You can then add extras like guacamole (3,000). Unfortunately they were out of guacamole when we went, much to my chagrin. Despite having a mountain of avocados, they were apparently all unripe.

The item I was most excited about trying was the Chicken Burrito (6,900). I really liked the fact that you can tailor your burrito to your own tastes. There are several choices to make: brown or white rice, pinto or black beans, tomato or corn salsa, and green or hot chili sauce. You are then able to add your extras such as fajita veggies, lettuce, and cheese. My greed set in so I just had everything on mine which was not a bad thing. I rather enjoyed this burrito, it had a good mix of flavours and was very filling. Truly unbeatable for the price, and a big step up from the likes of Taco Bell, who have recently incurred my wrath after they stopped selling guacamole and are now dead to me.

Being the greedy sod that I am, I also ordered a set of the Carnitas Tacos (8,400 for 3).  When making the carnitas tacos I got carried away and added all the ingredients without thinking. In retrospect I would have done without the the corn and lettuce. I had to take the latter off so I could get a decent picture but if you are a big eater it is nice you are able to have so many different ingredients. The carnitas meat had a decent flavour, I didn’t think it was as good as some of the Mexican places in town though and it was a bit more expensive than the chicken. My American friend decided to go for the Chicken Salad (6,900). I thought this to be very hearty as salads go, and you taste more of the flavour of the marinated chicken without the other ingredients masking it. She enjoyed her salad so much, she got a burrito to take home too, and has been back several times since with her hubby.

Overall I went in with no expexctations other than to eat a cheap burrito and check out a place that would appeal to my American readers. If you are fan of Chipotle at home, I’m sure you will be really into this place. I didn’t have anything to compare it it, but my friends that have been say it is almost exactly the same. While I thought the chicken dishes to be excellent value, the other meats weren’t as cheap so I personally wouldn’t travel out of my way again for it. However if I was passing through Gangnam I would definitely stop by.

Cuchara Mexican Eatery is located at 11 Seochodae-ro, 74 gil , Seocho-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gangnam Station (line 2) and come out of exit 8. This leads straight into the Samsung building. Go up the flight of escalator stairs, and walk straight you will see Cuchara Mexican Eatery just on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-525-2155 or check out their facebook page.

Chiang Rai – Must Eats

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As you know I recently took a quick jaunt to Thailand over the Chuseok vacation. I have been to Thailand many times in the past, but this time I ventured up to the far north to Chiang Rai. This was my first time up in the mountains, so I was very excited to see a different kind of cuisine than that I had experienced further south. There are no direct flights from Korea, but it is cheap and easy to transfer in Hong Kong, even during the peak season of Chuseok. It also allowed us to spend a few days in Hong Kong, which is never a bad thing. Chiang Rai is a small town like city, but it is home to the famous White Temple, which was quite a sight to behold. On this trip we weren’t lucky enough to bag a free stay, but we did find a very nice and reasonably priced hotel called Laluna Hotel. We paid around $50 USD a night for our garden view king sized room. I was really pleased with this place, the room was really light and spacious, well decorated and had a gigantic bed. The bathroom was nice enough too. There was a fab pool with super big and comfy sun loungers, and a  plentiful breakfast buffet included in the price. It was only a cheap tuk tuk or taxi ride into town, and I think we made a darn good choice on where to stay.

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Barrab – On our first night we headed to Barrab, a cheap and cheerful Thai restaurant located just by the clock tower. It was here we first tasted our first bowl of heavenly Khao Soi. The local sweet & sour coconut curry noodle dish is incredible and you will find it in virtually every restaurant you go to. This one was topped with a chicken leg, but we also saw it served with beef, shrimp and pork. While this didn’t end up being the best one we had, it was still pretty decent. We also had a very good Pad Thai and a fairly mediocre cashew chicken. The food was very cheap though, and whilst we had better dishes at other restaurants, I certainly wouldn’t say we had a bad meal here, especially considering our three dishes & two beers cost less than $10. In Seoul you wouldn’t even get one dish for that.

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Some Sunday Magic – This place is a little bit out of the main town, but not far and cheap enough to get to in a taxi or Uber. I promise if you enjoy delicious food and good aesthetics you won’t be disappointed you visited. The restaurant is actually an art gallery too, meaning the whole place is filled with plenty of beautiful things to look at as well as serving some amazingly good food. We couldn’t resist ordering another Khao Soi. This one we decided to try with pork which I think we both preferred over the chicken. The broth in this soup was even better than the Barrab one as it had a slight peanutty flavour which added an extra dimension to the dish. We also had a boat of pineapple fried rice, I just adore food that is served in food and this tasted just as good as it looks. To drink I had the most beautiful caramel macchiato, it was like a dessert you could drink. Seoul coffee shops take note, this is the way to do it. I also enjoyed another killer smoothie which I of course topped with vodka and TFB enjoyed a Leo beer, which soon became his favourite of the three local varieties.

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Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House & Bistro – One of the most popular spots to visit in Chiang Rai, is Chivit Thamma Da Coffee House, and for good reason, the huge wooden clapboard house set in beautiful cottage style gardens along the Mekong river is absolutely stunning. However it is not just the setting that is beautiful, the food is equally as fabulous. The adorable newspaper style menu is a mix of western and Thai food. After eating pad thai non stop all week, we were up for a change, so enjoyed their incredible Truffle Eggs Benedict with bacon and potato wedges. I’m not sure hollandaise will ever taste as good again without truffles. We also wanted to test the muster of their Khao Soi, which has quickly become my new favourite Thai food. We also supped a refreshing Raspberry Lemonade and and a super sweet Banoffee Cofffe, this was like desert and coffee all in one glass. One small thing that was rather annoying, and caused me to have a total Verruca Salt moment was the fact that they stop serving alcohol between 2pm-5pm like most of the convenience marts. Most bars don’t seem to observe this, but this one does and I felt tortured enjoying such a fabulous lazy lunch without a cocktail in my hand. So if you want to drink, plan your visit accordingly, or be sure to smuggle in your own.

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Nai Suan Bed & Breakfast –  Probably the world’s cutest bed and breakfast ever, when stepping on to the property and wondering through the gardens it had a real Alice in Wonderland feel about it. The baby blue wooden building is set in a very adorable overgrown English style garden. Once inside the decor doesn’t stop, mismatched vintage furniture is strewn throughout. The drinks and food on the menu are all really well priced. We enjoyed a chicken salad, and a very tasty shrimp curry, with rice and a heart shaped egg which we thought to be adorable. I also had a mango and passion fruit shake and another fabulous caramel macchiato. Well worth a visit if you want a pretty place to take some pictures.

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Favola at Le Meridian Hotel – On our last night, we were invited to fantastic dinner at Favola by the lovely staff at the Meridian hotel. The hotel itself is incredible with the gorgeous grounds and rooms being a beautiful mix of modern and eastern in style, and had I known how beautiful it was, we probably would have ended up staying here. There are two restaurants on the property, a buffet and the upmarket Italian, Favola.  We dined on the restaurant’s set menu dinner menu for two which kicked off with a prosciutto wrapped shrimp salad, before moving on to the incredibly creamy gnocchi vongole. For our main course we had roast chicken and melt in the mouth belly pork, both were so good it was hard to choose which one was the best. We finished the meal with an incredible light and creamy tiramisu. It was the ideal way to spend our last night and was a great end to the trip.

Mozzie

Before my Chuseok jaunt to Thailand & Hong Kong, I was invited to Mozzie try their new in house wines. I have always dreamed of coming out with my own brand of wines possibly called ‘Drunk Girl’ so kudos for the Mozzie team for brewing their own. The Aussie cum Kiwi bar and restaurant located on Hooker Hill in Itaewon has been open for almost two years. To celebrate these momentous two years they have come out with their own two wines, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Pinot Noir both made in Malborough, New Zealand. Now I’m no expert when it comes to wine, I generally prefer vodka but I’m not completely clueless either. Malborough wines are very popular right now, especially in the UK, in fact they are pretty much all my family tend to drink. So being the lush that I am, I was very excited to go and give them a try.

First up was the Sauvignon Blanc, which is 8,000 for a glass or 35,000 for a bottle. This was the one I was most excited about, as I generally prefer white over red and a sauv blanc is usually one of my favourites. The wine was light and very drinkable, not too dry and it had a refreshing hint of citrus. At 13% it certainly packed a punch, after one glass on an empty stomach I was buzzed.  Thankfully we had ordered the Cut the Cheese (22,000), a salad topped with homemade ricotta which took the edge off. The ricotta on this salad was sensational, it was so smooth and velvety, while the dressing on the salad provided a nice tang. It worked really well with the wine, especially while sat on the balcony enjoying the last of the good weather.

For our second course, we delved into the Pinot Noir which is also 8,000 for a glass or 35,000 for a bottle. Whenever the words Pinot Noir, are uttered, I cant help but think about the song sang by Titus Andromedon from Kimmy Schmidt, so had to include the video below. Pinot Noir is TFB’s favourite wine, so I knew he would adore this. The almost translucent red had plenty of girth to it while still being quite smooth. Again it was very drinkable and I could see how it would be very easy to finish a bottle.  Alongside the Pinot, we ate the Canberra Carpaccio (22,000), slices of beef tenderloin topped with spinach, truffle oil, Parmesan and nuts. This was a great companion dish for the wine, as the heady scent of the truffles added a real richness. The salad was a very filling dish, without being too heavy. Sat outside on the balcony I felt very European in the evening sun, we were also afforded an excellent view of the local scenery.

Overall I thought the new Mozzie wines to be delightful, and very reasonably priced. In fact if you get them to go, it is only 24,000 for the sauvignon blanc and 32,000 for the pinot noir. They also have an amazing Wino Wednesday promotion where the wine is half price for both a glass and a bottle if you order a main dish. If you prefer to do your drinking in the comfort of your own home, where you can pass out without fear of judgement you can get the bottles delivered via shuttle, along with the rest of their menu. If you have yet to use shuttle, please click here for 4000 won off on your first order.

Mozzie is located at 126-7 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul. To get there take the subway to Itaewon station(line 6), and come out of exit 3. Walk straight until the next intersection and take a right. Cross the road and take the first left (by Mr Kebab). Mozzie is up on your left maybe 50m up that road, opposite the infamous Old Town. For more information you can call them on +82 10-9417-9554 or check out their facebook page. Mozzie is open every day from 5pm-12am.

Summer Lane Cafe

Brunch is by far and away my favourite meal of the week. However these days the options for a good brunch in my neighbourhood are seriously dwindling. Either they have closed down, or have epic queues. Thankfully I have an amazing new brunch place to share with you, just in time for the weekend. I unfortunately cannot take credit for his one, that honour belongs to fellow blogger Toronto Seoulcialite, who was luckily enough to stumble across it last week. The fact that this place is literally around the corner from my house makes it even better, it is so close I could even roll up in my pyjamas.

Summer Lane is located in the old Revolucion location. The spot has been completely redone and and is now a very light and airy white affair, with adorable blue accents. This is a complete change from the dark and dingy industrial style space it was before. While the cafe is quite small with seating for about a dozen or so, the menu is completely fabulous and is filled with lots of brunch and breakfast treats with an Aussie twist.

After eyeing up the menu, there was one item that sounded pretty much like my idea of brunch heaven, the Bacon Waffle Egg Benedict (15,000). The cheddar waffle was piled high with cajun hollandaise, avocado, poached egg and bacon.This was pretty much all of my favourite brunch ingredients in one dish, in fact it was even more dreamy than it sounded. The egg when split oozed into a of river gold despite the fact that it had been sat on the plate for about 5 minutes while I took 100,000 pictures. The hollandaise was perfection, I didn’t really get much from the cajun spices, but it was zingy and buttery and exactly how a good hollandaise should taste. One of Korea’s best for sure. The bacon also deserves a mention, it was damn good, and the waffle light and fluffy without being too cheesy. Overall a very well executed dish, there is also a version with salmon too, which I am sure will please my fish loving friends.

There were so many delicious sounding dishes on the menu, that I was really torn about which to choose. However we finally opted for the Croissant French Toast (12,000). A Croissant topped with maple bacon, seeds and bananas. A good french toast is always nice and buttery, so using the croissant in place of the bread was a stroke of genius. As good as the french toast was, the flambeed bananas were even better, they were sweet and tasty bites of heaven. I love a dish that combines sweet and salty flavours, so having the bacon on top really completed it for me, and the beautiful flowers adorning it were the cherry on top of the cake.

While I generally enjoy a cocktail with my brunch, it was early on a weekday when we visited, so the few shreds of social dignity I have left dictated that I should not be drinking at such an hour. Instead I was allured by the Aussie Vanilla Latte (6,500). An ice vanilla latte is always my coffee of choice, so when i found this one was topped with a scoop of ice cream, I was as giddy as a school girl. Also on the menu are a variety of other coffees, homemade ades, and a few beers. Sadly there are currently no cocktails, which is the only thing stopping this place from being my favourite brunch place in the entire world. However after chatting with the owners they said they will consider adding some to the menu, so fingers crossed!!!

 

Summer Lane is located at 43 Haenamu-ro 26-gil, 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 left hand stairs. Follow the road around past Paris Baguette and the Well Being Mart until you reach Cheese-alot / Maloneys Pub. Take the alleyway going up the hill, then turn right. Summer Lane will be just up ahead on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-792-8114 or check out their Instagram. They are open from 8:30am – 8:00 pm everyday except Mondays when they are closed. *During Chuseok the opening hours are as follows. 10/2 closed, 10/3 8:30-3, 10/4 8:30-3, 10/5 – 10/9 8:30-8, and 10/10 closed.

Dominic

Dominic has always been a restaurant I go back to again and again. Located at the Hangangjin end of Itaewon. It is a cool yet welcoming space that always offers great food and a lovely ambience. Last weekend I was invited to a thank you lunch there along with a very good friend of mine. Since my last visit the menu has been switched up a little to include lots of new dishes while still retaining some of their old classic ones. If the day ends in Y, I like to enjoy lunch with a cocktail or two. So I started with a mimosa (15,000), which was quickly followed by a Sangria (15,000), both the white and the red sangria were utterly delicious and spiked with rum, triple sec and cinnamon honey.

Our lunch began with the Dominic Capresa Salad (15,000) a mix of baby mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and fresh olives. We enjoyed this with the most wonderful aged balsamic vinegar that the owner Rosen had just brought back from a trip to Italy. I love this salad and it is always one of my first choices on the menu wherever I may be in the world. It was served in a really cute metal pan too. Along with our salad we also ate one of their fantastic steaks. The Steak (58,000) at Dominic has always been incredibly good, and this occasion was no exception. It is not often I eat streak, so this NY strip, wet aged for 5-7 days, and cooked to medium rare in a hot cast iron skillet with a side of veggies, was a real treat. It is probably one of my favourite items on their menu, especially when paired with their creamy spinach topped brioche which we didn’t indulge in this time.

We followed the steak with the Pork Belly Citrus (22,000). A hunk of pork bell which was cooked sous vide then deep fried, and served with smashed potato, bacon jam, baby greens and a citrus dressing. Like all good pork belly dishes, the meat was soft and had that melt in the mouth consistency you tend to get from sous vide cooking, while still having a crispness on the outside thanks to the deep frying. The accompanying bacon jam was especially tasty, and worked well with the pork, as did the slightly tangy dressing. All in all a delicious dish and great new addition to the menu.

Despite the fact that we had already eaten more than our fair share, we finished the carb-lovers way with a plate of pasta. This is the Olive Bacon Anchovy Spaghettini (18,000) which is studded with three kinds of olives, button mushrooms, bacon and anchovy. This was an absolute delight, and exactly what I needed, not the cream drowned monstrosities that usually get passed for pasta in this country. The pasta was cooked to me the perfect al dente, but my Italian friend said it was a touch overdone, but he’s an extremely hard man to please. Either way it was the perfect way to end the meal.

Overall it was so lovely to have a chance to visit one of my favourite restaurants again. Seoul’s food landscape is forever changing, and this is one place we know we can always come to and enjoy a fabulous meal. Dominic has a daily happy hour from 3pm – 6pm, and a whole host of promotions throughout the week, so check out their facebook page for details of the next one including their new event Tapas Tuesdays.

Dominic is located at 683-133 Hanam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. to get there take a train to Hangangjin Station (line6) Come out of exit 3 and walk straight for about 200 meters. It’s located next to the Kolon Series Multi Shop and just across from Woori bank. For more information you can call them on 02-790-7588. They are open everyday from 11:30-11pm