Tag: Sinsa

Bistopping

It is hot as hell right now, and nothing cools you down like a beautiful and very Instagrammable ice cream. I came across the Sinsa ice-creamery online and thought it was such an adorable spot, that I couldn’t resist paying them a visit. I also brought a whole host of friends with me to try it too. The ice cream shop is located in between Sinsa and Nonhyeon. The shop itself is quite small and was packed to the rafters with hungry girls waiting for their frozen treats. Luckily they have a small seating area outside, and an air conditioned restaurant next door for you to wait in while they make them. We visited on a busy afternoon and we probably had to wait 20 minutes for them to be made after ordering.

The ice creams come in three different flavours Milk (3,500), Yogurt (4,000) and Chocolate (5,000), you can then pimp it up with one of the fabulous decorated cones for an extra 1,500 won. There was a huge display area with 20 different numbered designs for you to choose from.  You then choose your cookie and chocolate add ons, which are what make the dessert look so magical. The simple chocolate stars and hearts are 700 won, while some of the prettier cookie embellishments are between 1,500 -2,500 won. If you want to get a super crazy cone it will be closer to 10,000 though I managed to make my cactus cone for 7,800.

The ice cream itself was quite nice and reminiscent of the one you get from Sweetruck. It has that slightly sour, almost cheesy like taste. Kind of like milk gone bad, but it in a good way. Our group was rather boring and we all got milk, except one of us who got chocolate so I didn’t have chance to try the other flavours. I did get to try some of the other embellishments though. A definite thumbs up for the fruity pebbles, never had these before and thought they were tres delicious. I cant believe it is a breakfast cereal though, it would be like eating a bowl of sweets for you morning meal.

Overall I thought Bistopping to be just as adorable as it looked on Instagram. If you are looking for really good ice cream then this is not the place for you, but if you want a really fun dessert that will look great in pictures it is worth a visit.

Bistopping is located at 68 Sinbanpo-ro 47-gil, Jamwon-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Sinsa Station (line 3) and come out of exit 4. walk straight and take the third right. Walk straight again and take the third left, the road kind of curves round. follow this road and you will see Bistopping just ahead on the left hand side. for more information you can call them on 070-7792-0409 or checkout their Instagram page. Bistopping is open from 11am -10pm everyday.

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.

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.

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.

Cafe L’Assemblage

I love a good natter over a cake and a coffee. It’s one of life’s greatest joys. Luckily for us gossip girls, Seoul is filled to the brim with lovely coffee shops, and you are never more than a stones throw away from the nearest one. Before Christmas I was lucky enough to be invited to Cafe L’Assemblage for a meeting. I had walked past this Garosugil cafe dozens of times in the past and looked longingly at the beautiful pastries in the window, but always feared it was far too fancy for the likes of me so never ventured inside. If I had ever had the balls to walk in, I would have noted that the inside is just as fancy as the outside. The whole cafe exudes an opulence that is ten a penny in Europe but not so much in the ultra modern and sleek cafes in Korea.The cafe has been part of the local landscape since the 90s, but has changed hands several times over the last few years. It now belongs to the original owner’s daughter, which I thought to be an utterly enchanting story.

Since I was meeting with the owner on a separate project we decided to make the most of her generosity and try as many of their cakes as we could fit in our bellies. One of which was their signature Golden Cheese Tarts. My god are these babies addictively good. You may remember that towards the end of last year I had a give away of the golden cheese tarts, and this was where I was first lucky enough to try them. They are a touch pricier at (3,000) each rather than 2,800 for the take out stores, but I think you’ll agree it is certainly worth the 200 won extra to sit and enjoy your tart in such a beautiful cafe. If you have yet to try one yet, the cheese tart is made up of a very crumbly and biscuity pastry which melts in the mouth and has a very similar texture to a graham cracker crust you usually find on a cheesecake. The filling is rich and creamy thanks to the French soft cheese and has just a slightly sour note at the end. If you are a baked cheesecake fan then you need to try this delightful mini tart version asap because they are absolutely scrumptious.

As well as the exceptionally yummy golden cheese tarts, we also tried The Earl Gray Crepe Cake (7,000). I do love a good crepe cake, even more so when I haven’t had to spend hours over a hot stove making one myself. This English tea version was absolutely lighter than air with a delicious flavour of Earl Gray swirled in at the end. I always thought that crepe cakes would be too filling with their many layers but I’m always amazed by how many pieces I can eat. You can’t really tell from the picture, but this crepe cake was topped with a sweet and flavourful layer of earl grey frosting which really intensified the cakes overall flavour.

Lastly we tried the Orange and and White Chocolate Tart (8,500). Orange and chocolate is always a classic combination, just think about a Jaffa Cake or a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. But white chocolate and orange are a match made in heaven that often gets overlooked in favour of milk or dark. The tart itself was exquisite, in the way that only French pastries can be. The pastry was crisp and biscuity. While the orange topping was juicy and sweet with just a hint of citrus sour. It paired well with the rich and creamy filling underneath. I loved this tart so much and could eat a slice every day for the rest of my life, it was sinfully good.

Overall I found Cafe L’Assemblage to be the most delightful of spaces. It is the perfect spot to to fritter away an afternoon gossiping with your friends. The cakes and pastries were exceedingly good, and very well priced for the area. Unlike many dessert cafes in the city, they tasted as good as they looked, and I wouldn’t hesitate to pop in for another dessert next time I am in Sinsa.

Cafe L’Assemblage is located at 118 Apgujeong-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong Station (line 3) and come out of exit 5. Walk straight along this road. its located on the corner just after you pass Garosugil. For more information you can call them on 02-3477-2046.

Normal by Ryunique

Last week I was invited back to Normal in Sinsa to try their new quick and simple menu by Ryunique. If you read this blog religiously you will know that I enjoyed a sumptuous 16 course meal at Ryunique earlier this year, then another fabulous but slightly less grand meal at new sister restaurant Normal. The team behind the two restaurants are now offering patrons the chance to experience the magic of the food you’d enjoy at Ryunique at Normal, for those who have neither the time or money for the 16 or 22 course extravaganza at the original location. (more…)

Sponsored Post – Golden Cheese Tarts

‘Tis the season of giving and eating too much, so today’s dessert giveaway is the perfect culmination of Christmas spirit. If you like to keep your finger on the pulse of Korea’s dessert trends you may have noticed that one of most popular desserts right now is the humble cheese tart. While it bears a remarkable resemblance to the Portuguese egg tart, its taste is deliciously different. Golden Cheese Tart is the original Korean brand and its popularity has since spawned several copycat varieties, even Paris Baguette has got in on the action. (more…)

Mr Holmes Bakehouse

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I first tried Mr Holmes Bakehouse, an import from California, when they opened a branch in Sinsa earlier this year. Upon opening the store became particularly popular for its Cruffin, a croissant and muffin hybrid. While it was no cronut, the cruffin certainly proved to be rather popular here in Seoul and created some rather ginormous queues. I tried several times to get my hands on one before giving up altogether and moving on to the next dessert trend.

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However all that changed recently when someone brought a delicious box of Mr Holmes Bakehouse goodies to a Thanksgiving pot luck I attended. As you can see there was a  fabulous array of decadent desserts including a box Cre8 Cookies which I am also currently rather obsessed with.The thanksgiving feast was epic in itself and for me to remember the Mr Holmes baked goods so fondly in amongst all the other treats spoke very highly of them, I particularly fell in love with the pumpkin spice cronut and ferrero rocher croissant.

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So as luck would have it, the very next day I passed though Shinsegae department store at the Express Bus Terminal which has a small pop up store in house for the next four months. All my dreams came true when I noticed they had an ample supply of cronuts (5,500). My favourite was probably the traditional. A swirly cupcake style shape of flaky buttery croissant pastry that can be peeled off layer by layer. Did I mention that is is filled with a rich and creamy custard and covered with sugar? It was orgasmic. From what I can tell online, they have a different flavour available each day plus the traditional. So check out the facebook page to see the filling of the day. This also applies to their brioche donuts which I’ve also heard are rather popular. While they aren’t the cheapest baked goods in town, they are damn tasty and would make an excellent gift for any seasonal events you may have coming up as they come in really beautiful boxes if you buy more than a couple of things. So if you’ve yet to try one, I’d certainly recommend you give them a try.

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Mr Holmes Bakery is located at 524-16 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Apgujeong Station (line 3) and come out of exit 5. Walk straight for 6 blocks and take the next left and walk straight up Garosugil. Take the next right and walk up the street that is parallel to Garosugil, you will see Mr Holmes Bakehouse a few blocks up on the right hand side. For more information you can call them on 010-8766-7613 or visit their facebook page. They also have a small pop up store in Shinsegae Department store at the Express Bus Terminal (lines 3/7/9).

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.

Made – Brunch

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Unless you live under a rock you have more than likely heard about the new Pokemon game, where you go on your own quest to catch as many of the little critters as possible. Well my life is also like that, though instead of looking for pretend animated characters, I’m looking for brunch spots. For some reason brunch seems to need to fill far more criteria than a simple lunch ever would. For starters they have to have a western style menu filled with egg and carb heavy options, secondly, strong and reviving cocktails, and thirdly, outside seating. It is rare to come across in place in Seoul that manages to satisfy all three,  but thankfully Made just about does. Whenever I am in Sinsa, it is the only place I like to go to. Its location in between Apgujeong and Garosugil makes it the perfect place to stop and take a rest and watch the world go by. The large open doors give you the feeling of being outside while still being very close to the air conditioning. The best part is that they serve brunch all day everyday, with an extra special bunch menu on weekends. (more…)