Tag: Where

Maikatsu

Its not often I got to Hongdae, its far too cool for the likes of me and a bit of a trek. However several times a year I will find the inner  strength to make a pilgrimage to check out whats going on on in the neighbourhood of the young and the restless. As it so happened I had an important meeting a couple of stops away, so headed over to Hongdae after for a spot of dinner. I hadn’t really much idea of where I would go to eat, so I consulted my trusty list of places to try, and came across Maikatsu which had been recommended to me by a reader earlier on in the year. As I was hungry in Hongdae I figured i should give it a try.

The restaurant itself is small and functional with seating for about 12 and a large kitchen window counter at the back. When we saw the menu we were blown away by the amazing prices. This style of Japanese fast food is always pretty cheap, but this was crazy low, clearly it needs to be in student area Hongdae. But as someone who always has trouble living within her means, this price point was a breath of fresh air.

We wanted to try the muster of their pork cutlet which I had heard great things about. As I planned on trying a couple of things I ordered the single Maikatsu (3,500), but there is a double version for 6,000. The cutlet is made using a traditional recipe and using pork that has been aged for at least 48 hours before being coated in bread crumbs and deep fried. I was very impressed with how tasty it was. It was served with rice, soup, shredded cabbage, pickled radish, sesame seeds in a pestle and mortar and of course the pork cutlet sauce. Honestly this was incredible for the price, even those hideous GS microwave boxes (that I often buy drunk) cost more than this, and are about a third of the quality.

My companion was in the mood to try their Mai Katsu Sando (3,500) which is a modern take on the tonkatso and served as a sandwich. The pork cutlet was sliced and served between white slices of bread with a touch of mustard sauce. I had a bite and it was quite tasty, personally I would rather have it with rice for the same price, but it made a very god snack. He also ordered the Mai Hayashi Rice (5,500). This dish is a beef stew made with slow cooked vegetables in a demi-glace, red wine, and tomato sauce. We both loved this, the sauce had a real intense flavour, with a good kick at the end without being too spicy. I think it was all eaten in a bout two minutes flat, I would come back for this alone!

It being an insanely cold and and wet snowy day I was dying to try a bowl of Tonkotsu (5,500). This is a noodle dish that I absolutely adore so was excited to give it a try. Unfortunately this was not as good as I had hoped, egg wasn’t in the Japanese style with the runny yolk, the broth was not particularly meaty, and the char siu pork didnt much flavour either. While it wasn’t inedible by any means, I pretty much finished the bowl, it just lacked the intense flavours that I associate with his dish. I think i’ll stick with Menya Sendaime for Tonkotsu from now on.

Overall I thought this a great restaurant for the money, I’d certainly come back for the curry and pork cutlet and I’d like to try a few other menu items. We also loved their mini beers which are 1,500 for 220mls. This was the perfect amount for me to enjoy without dinner without having to drink a whole pint.  If you are in the neighbourhood and looking for something cheap to eat it will hit the spot. We also noticed several other really cheap restaurants nearby so I think it’s a good area for those on a budget.

Maikatsu is located at 344-9 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hongdae Station (line 2) and come out of exit 9. Walk straight out of the exit and take the second right. Walk all the way along that main road until you get to the end and make a left following the road around. You will walk straight for a little bit then take the next left again. You will see Maikatsu ahead on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 010-4803-3411.

Christmas Dinner Guide 2017

Thanksgiving is yesterdays news, and there are only a few more weeks until Christmas!!!!. Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year, I just adore getting gussied up, filling my belly with seasonal treats and drinking far too many champagne cocktails. Once January comes around Seoul gets insanely cold and personally I try to leave the house as little as possible, so now is the time to do as much celebrating and eating out as possible. Choosing the correct place to spend your special day is of the utmost importance, especially if you are visiting from out of town. Luckily I’ve put together a list of some of the best options of where to eat this holiday season.This list is in no means complete so stay tuned because I will be adding more events as the days roll by, but this should be enough to get you started.

La Marmite – HBC’s very own French bistro will be offering a four day special set menu for the festive period from December 22nd-25th. The six course menu includes a bisque, scallops, homemade ravioli, stout braised beef, cheese plate with homemade bread, and chocolate fondant with tarragon ice cream. The dinner costs 75,000 per person, with an optional wine pairing for an extra 25,000. Reservations are recommended and can be made via the event facebook page.

Urban Farm TableUFT reopened this year in a new location and I for one am thrilled as i loved the old restaurant a lot and was sad when the farm to table eatery closed. They are are putting on an 8 course menu for a lucky few (the place is very small so can only host 8) on December 23rd & 24th. The menu which includes scallops, pork and locally made cheese will be 100,000 per person, or 150,000 if you want a 5 course wine pairing. Having had Chef Roydon’s food before, I am sure you are in for a treat, and this is a real foodie’s type of event. For more details you can visit their facebook page.


Braai Republic – The South African pub will be doing their traditional South African Christmas lunch on December 25th. The 3 course set menu menu includes, a steaming glass of Glühwein, cream of mushroom soup, leg of lamb, bobotie sausage, mashed potato & gravy and mixed veggies, and malva pudding and ice cream for dessert.  Tickets cost 45,000 per person (which will include a W5,000 tip for the hard-working staff at Braai Republic). Lunch will start at 1PM with only one sitting. Regular menu items will be available after 5PM. To reserve a seat, email them at braairepublicseoul@gmail.com.

 

 

WinK – The Kyodae kitchen and taphouse is celebrating the holiday season by knocking up a feast of seasonal delights. They are offering dinner on December 23rd, 24th, and 25th and will have two seatings on each day. The dinner Includes a glass of wine or beer, oven roasted turkey, turkey gravy, red wine cranberry sauce, roasted garlic mashed potato, ham quiche with mushroom, sauteed vegetables and vanilla creme brulee for dessert. There are also optional all you can drink specials for those who really want to let their hair down. To reserve your seat you can contact them on 02-6053-3249 or via their facebook page

Route 66 – This year will be the 4th Annual Route 66 Christmas Eve Buffet on Sunday, December 24th. The lunch begins at 3 pm, and includes turkey, ham, gravy, sweet potato casserole, garlic mashed potatoes, veggies, rolls, buffalo chicken dip, apple and pumpkin pie, and vanilla ice cream. Tickets are 40,000 and come with a drink. There is limited availability so swing buy the bar or visit their facebook page to reserve your spot.

Bull and Barrel – On December 24th & 25th, Bull and Barrel will host their 6th Annual Christmas dinner buffet. Their traditional dinner will include roast turkey, chestnut stuffing with turkey gravy, cod au gratin, roast ham, roast potatoes, green beans and seasonal vegetables, cranberry sauce, and cheesecake with berry coulis for dessert. As usual you also get a complimentary alcoholic beverage. Tickets are 40,000 per guest with cash payment or bank transfer. Text 010-9982-2423 to make your reservation today, or visit their facebook event page.

El Pino 323 – For those who come from warmer and spicier climates, you might feel more comfortable scarfing down a festive Mexican Feast. El Pino is offering all you can eat tacos for two hours on December 23rd & 24th for a mere 35,000 per person. There are a whole host of tacos to choose from, and even a few extra dishes. I was very tempted by this one myself, though I’d hate to bankrupt them with the sheer amount of tacos I would be capable of eating. Reservations and prepayment must be made in advance, see their facebook event page for details.

Vatos – Christmas is a time for drinking and eating, but it is also a time for eating. Thankfully you can do all three at Vatos’s pay it Forward party on saturday December 23rd. The menu hasn’t been published yet, but ‘ve yet tio eat a bad meal there yet. The tickets cost 40,000 per person and the proceeds will go to Jerusulam Children’s Ministry. You can stuff your face, get your drink on with some of their awesome cocktails and give yourself a big pat on the back for giving back to the local community. Its win, win, win! See the facebook event page for details on how to book.

Four Seasons – December 1st-31st  – Nothing says Christmas like a fully cooked turkey dinner, and if you live life without an oven  the Four Seasons Hotel has you covered. Throughout the month of December they will be providing fully cooked turkey dinners packaged and ready to go. So if you are having friends over or just eat the whole thing yourself (no judgement here) you can pre-order one through their website. If you would rather eat inside the hotel they are holding a seasonal brunch at the Market Kitchen on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and NYE , and an all you can drink Champagne one at Boccalino (125,000). See their holiday events calendar for more details.

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.

 

Thanksgiving Guide 2017

Woo hoo,  the holidays are upon us and that means turkey, lashings and lashings of turkey. Now being British we don’t usually celebrate Thanksgiving, but I’m on board with any holiday that revolves around food, so Thanksgiving is always an event worth celebrating in my book. Now its usually around this time of year that we miss our loved ones back home the most, them and the copious amounts of sumptuous seasonal food that we get to enjoy. And although you might be missing out on your mums cooking, you can still get a darn good turkey dinner at a number of Seoul’s restaurants.

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Dominic – For a classy yet affordable Thanksgiving feast, look no further than sleek and cool Dominic. This year’s menu includes deep fried turkey, port citrus cranberry sauce, dough bread apple bacon stuffing, Dominic’s amazing cream spinach on brioche, corn pomegranate slaw with caramelised onion mashed potato, and bourbon apple pie with hot chocolate sauce. All of this is available for 60,000 won per person on Wednesday 22nd at 7pm, Thursday 23rd at 6:30 and 8:30, or on Sunday 26th at 2pm, 5pm or 7pm. To reserve a space please call the restaurant at 02-790-7588 or check out their facebook page

Leo’s – The bar above The Concorde in HBC is offering a Thanksgiving meal this year. The feast will comprise of juicy turkey, succulent ham, buttery mashed potatoes, bacony stuffing, savoury gravy, fresh seasonal veg, freshly baked bread and served with a glass of Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon and in-house made pumpkin pie. The dinner is available on Thursday the 23rd and Friday the 24th, 7 pm to 10 pm, and is 35,000 won per person.  See the facebook page or call 010-7490-7311 for more details or to make a reservation.

Southside Parlor – For those who want to add a little bit of southern flair and some finger lickin’ goodness to their TG celebrations head on down to one of my favourite cocktail bars. The Texans will be serving Creole spiced turkey, sage cornbread stuffing, cranberry hibiscus relish, smoked gravy, cornmeal fried okra, garlic mashed potatoes, chorizo Mac & Cheese, broccoli cheddar casserole, charred corn salad, berry cobbler and a seasonal cocktail of your choice for 45,000 per person . There are two seating available 6-8pm or 8:30-10:30pm on both Thanksgiving Thursday (Nov. 23rd) and Sunday (Nov. 26th), Seats must be reserved  in advance via their facebook event page.

WinK –  From Thursday November 24th- Sunday November 27th you can get a thanksgiving dinner plate with a beer or mulled cocktail for 32,000. The plate will include turkey, sausage and apple stuffing, roast garlic mashed potatoes, home style gravy, asparagus casserole, 5 Mac & Cheese, red wine cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. There will be two seatings for each night one at 6pm and one at 8pm. And for those of you who really want to celebrate they have an all you can drink option for an extra 10,000-20,000. Reservations are recommended, you can make them through their facebook event page.

Route 66 – Route 66 will be celebrating with their 4th Thanksgiving dinner. The 40,000 dinner includes a drink,  turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, 66’s sweet potato casserole, corn bread, veggies, pumpkin and apple pie w/vanilla ice cream. See their facebook event page for more details or to buy a ticket.

Cali Kitchen will be hosting its third annual Thanksgiving dinner. The menu hasn’t been completely confirmed yet but will include a welcome drink, Peruvian Sous Vide Turkey  , and Wagyu Pastrami and of course plenty of sides. If you have tried the Cali Kitchen Pastrami before, you will know that it is not to be missed. There will be two seatings on Friday, November 24th at 6:15pm, and 8:30pm. Tickets cost 50,000 per person. See their event page for more details or to make a reservation.

Bull and Barrel – On Thursday November 23rd, Friday November 24th & Sunday November 26th Bull & Barrel will be serving up their annual all you can eat buffet. You can stuff yourself ’til you pop for 40,000 per person. The buffet includes an alcoholic beverage, turkey, ham, sage and onion stuffing, mashed & roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, gravy, mac & cheese and pumpkin pie! There are two seating on Thursday 24th of November one at 6:30 & 8:30 pm, one on Friday at 6:30pm and three on Sunday the 27th of November at 4pm, 6pm, and 8pm. You can reserve your table via text message on 010-9982-2423 or by messaging them via their facebook event page.

Plant – This year Plant is offering a Vegan Thanksgiving, for those who eat a meat free diet. The dinner includes Plant’s housemade Tofurkey, Mashed potatoes, Homestyle gravy, Grilled stuffing loaf, Pumpkin squash soup, Walnut cranberry bread, Sautéed greens, Kohlrabi apple slaw, Cranberry sauce, you choice of Pumpkin pie or Apple crumble and a glass of wine or craft beer. There are two seatings on Thursday November 243rd, tickets cost 29,000won, and reservations are recommended, call 02-749-1981 or check out their facebook page to make one. 

Vatos Urban Collective – For those not remotely interested in Turkey then Drinksgiving at Vatos could be just the event you are looking for. The cocktail and live music event  will be held on Friday November 24th from 7pm-10pm. Tickets include four drinks coupons and entry to the concert. Tickets cost 33,000, see their facebook event page for more details.

The Four Seasons – For those who want to keep it classy on such a fine occasion The Four Seasons Hotel will have Turkey Dinner To Go packages available from the 19th of November – 31st of December for those who want to dine at home without the work. Their package which costs 250,000 includes 5-6kg roasted turkey, Grilled Four Seasons Pork Sausage Roll, Butter-Sauteed Green Beans, Grilled Corn, Roasted Pumpkin, Carrots with Orange Sauce, Cranberry Sauce, Giblet Gravy (Red Wine Sauce), Apple Cinnamon Tart with Vanilla Sauce and Whipped Cream. Turkeys need to be ordered at least three days in advance, you can order one by calling +82 2 6388 5530. The JW Marriott Dongdaemun also has a similar offer. See their website for details. 

 

Dairy Queen

Last week, Dairy Queen opened its very first branch here in Seoul, and on Saturday they had their grand opening. As part of that grand opening they ran a very special promotion where the first 100 people in the line would win free Blizzards for a month, and the first 100 people to buy ice cream cakes would win free Fan Set Combos for a year. As a non American I have never eaten Dairy Queen before, in fact I only had a very loose idea of what the place even was, I imagined an ice cream parlour of sorts, a farm or possibly a milk and cheese shop. Usually I absolutely abhor queuing, but for a year’s worth of free food I was prepared to break that rule. So my lack of plans that weekend and lust for free food found me waking up at 6:45 on a Saturday to get there to join the queue. We arrived around 7:15 which was just in time as they had a list of people and at 7:30am it was full. After that they turfed us outside into the cold to wait for the store to open at 10am. Honestly this seemed a kind of cool way of doing it, had I known I hadn’t made it on the list I would have headed straight back home to bed. When they handed out the tickets I was the 55th person in line and the 44th person to buy an ice cream cake. By the time we got to ordering it was 10:45 so I invested about 4 hours in to the endeavour, but it really didn’t seem like that long and I had a lot of fun in the queue with my friends and making the video above.

This first store is located in the University neighbourhood of Hyehwa. There is only one reason I have been to Hyehwa before and that is to drink at one of my favourite cocktail bars, Mix & Malt.  The medium sized store, is set over two floors, and has a cool and relaxed vibe. In the next few months they will be opening more branches all over the country, including one in my neighbourhood of Itaewon, which is when my VIP Fan Deal set card will start paying dividends. The Itaewon location is set to be where Taco bell currently is and will open in December, and will also be running a special grand opening promotion.

On to the food. I decided to use my new Fan Deal set which includes either a cheeseburger or chicken strips, chips, a drink and an ice cream sundae. As I already planned on getting some burgers on top, I went with the chicken strips, plus everyone had gone on about how amazing they are. For burgers I opted for the Crispy Chicken Burger (4,900) Quarterpounder Bacon Cheese Burger (6,800). I’m greedy so I also ordered a portion of onion rings. As you can see it was one hell of a fast food feast. I found the beef burger to be very reminiscent of a Burger King Whopper, I found it very tasty at the time, but I was hella hungry after being in that queue for so long, with only a banana to tide me over. The chicken burger was also pretty decent, a very crispy coating and nicely spiced, could have done with a touch more mayo for my tastes, but a solid fast food burger. I had heard good things about the Onion Rings (2,400) through the grapevine but didn’t really care for them, maybe they weren’t freshly cooked but I probably wouldn’t get them again. I’m not really sure what I expected from DQ before going, I thought it might slightly better than the regular fast food places, but I found it to be pretty similar to Burger King.

Although I had mine for free, I thought the Chicken Sticks (4,900) were kinda pricey, almost five dollars for three. I’m not sure what they charge else where for chicken strips as I rarely buy them but it seemed like a lot to me for some reason. They were tasty enough, I mean anything deep fried is usually good, nice coating the same as the burger, of the two I’d take the more filling chicken burger if asked to choose. I rather enjoyed the chips though, they were quite thick which I loved dipping them into my ice cream like I did as a kid.

The Blizzards are probably considered to be the main reason to visit DQ. We each got 3 mini sized ones as part of our free coupon deal. They come in four sizes mini (2,900), small (3,200) regular (4,200) and large (4,900). There were so many flavours to choose from and between us I think we tried most of them. The two I was most excited to try were the Snickers and Reece’s, neither of which disappointed. The soft serve was thick, sweet, and creamy and studded with chocolatey chunks of heaven. My bestie also got the green tea and red bean which was really not my cup of tea at all. The other standout was the banana which had little pieces of pineapple in it, and was a total tropical treat. Part of the Blizzards slogan, it that they are supposed to be so thick that it will stay inside the cup even if you flip it over. In my haste to take photos I completely forgot to do this, but it is worth checking because if any drops out you get the blizzard for free.

As part of the deal I had to order an Ice Cream Cake, there were only two left by the time I got to buy mine, so I opted for the Oreo Cake (25,000). After eating so much already, I took that bad boy home. However plenty of my fellow queuee’s were tucking into theirs right there and then. I didn’t really know what to expect but the the cake was mostly made of vanilla ice cream, with chocolate ice cream, sauce and Oreos inside. It was then topped with a very light Oreo ice cream frosting. I actually rather enjoyed this. The only ice cream cake I have eaten before is the Baskin Robbins ones, which honestly I have never cared for, despite enjoying their ice cream a lot . This DQ one was much better, and a very good price. It would make a nice change from crummy birthday cakes from PB that most of us seem to get stuck with.

So after queueing for many hours for my first taste of Dairy Queen, I found out that it is just a fast food joint with pretty awesome ice-cream. If you love it from back home or really enjoy ice-cream go give it a shot, but they plan to open many more branches over the next few months, so there is no need to travel across town. I’ll be very happy to eat my free weekly meal once the Itaewon branch opens,but don’t think I’ll get much use out of the free month of ice creams. Please let me know if you would like one of the coupons, they are all predated but I’m happy to share them rather than let them go to waste.

Dairy Queen is located at 8, Daehak-ro 10 gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Hyehwa Station (line 4) and come out of exit 2. Turn back on yourself and You should see a small walk way to the right. Go through it and you will see Dairy Queen right in front of you. For ore information you can call them on 02-703-6696, or check out their facebook page.

Chuseok Restaurant Guide

Happy Holidays one and all. If you hadn’t noticed it is is Chuseok, and we have been gifted something even better than a luxurious Spam box set, 9 days of vacation! Like most of the country I am leaving the city once again to go travelling, but I couldn’t leave those of you not vacationing high and dry so wanted to put together this quick restaurant guide to let you know whats open and when.

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California Kitchen & Pub has a Chuseok special serving up some incredible home made pastrami. You can get it in an incredible Reuben Sandwich, a Pastrami Burger, or Pastrami Chili Fries. They also have all their regular Cali style Mexican dishes and craft beers. They are open for lunch and dinner from 11:30am-11:30pm.

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NY Burger & Bagel serves up some damn fine burgers and is open throughout the holidays everyday from 12pm-9pm. They have branches in Itaewon and in Gangnam. My favourite is Wasabiiii but there are a lot of other great burgers on the menu.

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WinK is the place to eat and drink near Kyodae in Gangnam. The menu offers burgers, pub grub and brunch and is open throughout the holidays from 11am-11:30pm. Don’t miss out on trying the burgers, or their boozy brunch options.

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Brera is without a doubt my favourite affordable Italian in Seoul. They have incredible freshly made pasta, gnocchi, and pizzas, as well as an all day breakfast and brunch menu. They are open throughout the holidays from 11am-11pm.

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Summer Lane Cafe – Summer Lane is my new favourite spot for brunch and thankfully it is only closed tomorrow (Oct 2nd). On Tuesday & Wednesday they are open from 8:30-3:30, and 8:30am – 8:00 pm the rest of the week. The Aussie brunch items and are not to be missed, especially the Eggs Benedict and croissant french toast.

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Plant is probably Seoul’s best vegan cafe and bakery and thankfully it is open throughout the holidays except on Wednesday (October 4th) from 11am-9pm. They have an incredible menu filled with healthy and delicious cruelty free delights. Taco Tuesday is particularly good, as are the burgers.

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Lobster Bar is renowned for their lobster and lobster sandwiches, but they also have a whole host of fishy treats on the menu and some great beers. They are open everyday of the holidays except Wednesday (October 4th) from 12pm-9pm.

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Shuttle Delivery is open throughout the whole entire holidays, so if you are in desperate need of sustenance but don’t quite have the energy to leave the house they will bring you what you need. Many of the restaurants will be closed at some point but not at the same time, so you will always be able to get something delivered.

The Concorde

I know it seems as though I have been away for forever, and I have. But I’m back now and there’s nothing like coming home to a bar where everyone knows your name to a well made cocktail. To celebrate being home I met up with my crew and went for another fabulous dinner at McCoys in HBC, then after headed to the Concorde after for a few apres dinner drinks. Now I think we all know I enjoyed a drink more than most, and luckily for me my neighbourhood is packed with dozens upon dozens of bars. In fact it is positively teeming with them, but my new favourite place to sit and drink while watching the world go by is The Concorde.

While The Concorde has been a HBC fixture for some time now, it has just undergone a change of management and a menu renovation. One of my oldest friends in Korea, and one of the owners of Phillies Pub, Alex Illich is now at the helm creating affordable but well executed cocktails with flair and finesse. After taking a look at the menu we were recommended the Spicy Greyhound (16,000) this was made with freshly squeezed to order grapefruit juice, Titos vodka, spicy syrup, and hellfire bitters.  As much as I love vodka I have never been big on grapefruit but a companion ordered this and it blew my mind. It was so refreshing, with a nice kick at the end from the spice. This is a super grown up cocktail that felt classy, yet cool at the same time and was one of our favourites of the night.

When I saw that there was a Cherry Mojito (12,000) on the menu I was as giddy as a school girl. Nothing makes me happier than a mojito, and a cherry flavoured one sounded like delightful way to enjoy one of my favourite fruits. The classic drink was studded with liquor soaked cherries which gave a the mojito a boozy edge. The mojito is a staple of the menu but the fruit will change weekly to accommodate what is in season. Also on the menu is a killer Old Fashioned. I have literally hated every Old fashioned I have ever tried, however this one made with rye instead was divine. The Daquiri (10,000), deserves a mention too. Not only is it cheap as chips, it was also delicious.

By the end of the night we had made our way through most of the menu and we didn’t get a bad drink all night. All the cocktails are reasonably priced and range between 10,000 – 16,000, with the option to upgrade to the super premium brands if you prefer. Though the bar itself it small, it is a place filled with friendly staff and plenty of people looking to have a good time. With the big slide windows open it was also the perfect spot to watch the hi-jinx and happenings of a weekend in Haebangchon.

The Concorde is located at  28 Sinheung-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Noksapyeong Station (line 6). Walk straight out of exit 2 for about 200 meters and take the first left and walk straight along the road with all the kimchi pots. You will see The Concorde on the right hand side opposite Bonny’s Pizza. For more information you can call them on 010-2996-3583. They are open from Wednesday – Sundays 6pm – 2am.

London Food Markets

There is nothing I adore more than food, not even my dear TFB (don’t worry, he knows his place in my heart, and he’s cool with it). So a giant space filled with different mini restaurants and stalls selling every kind of food under the sun is a day spent in heaven for me. London is well known for its incredible food scene and markets, though I’d be hard pushed to be able to visit them all for you without living in London again for at least a year. However as I was home I had to check out  a few and wanted to share them with you. If you love food even half as much as I do these are must do’s when you visit London.

The Beefsteaks -Steak & Chips

Borough Market
Probably London’s most famous and biggest food market, the area has really expanded since my last visit a few years back. The main market is filled to the brim with absolutely incredible artisan produce that would be hard for most of us mere mortals to find. You name it they have it in spades, cheese, booze, fruit, veg, condiments, meat, and fish. However they also have dozens of ready to eat and drink foods, from the incredible scotch eggs and pies, to beautiful patisserie items like cakes and breads. Dotted throughout the place are stands selling all manner of hot and hip international and British foods. If you have seen it on Instagram, you are almost certain to find it here.  When we visited their were queues a mile long to get venison burgers, Jamaican BBQ, gyoza, and even Korean fried chicken!

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Borough market is located at 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL. To get there take a train to London Bridge Station, then follow the exit signs for Borough Market. The Market runs from 10am -5pm each day, but has many more stalls at the weekend. For more information including a list of vendors visit their website.

Maltby Street
This food Market was completely new to me, but was recommended by my very fabulous friend Gizzie Erskine. Located under the railway arches about 10 minutes away from London Bridge is the uber cool Maltby street, which although small is lined with stalls and shops selling their wares. I felt although this market was small, it was just overflowing with good food. One of our favourite food stalls was Beef Steaks, which specialised in serving quality steaks at a low price, our steak and chips with chimichurri sauce was a mere £10. Some of the stands are more established and have built proper stores under the arches themselves, like our favourite Little Gin. A small batch locally made gin bar that specialises in cocktails, most of which were £5-£6 and absolutely delicious. There was outdoor seating and we were able to enjoy the buzz of the market around us. I felt this market to be very me, cool without being so trendy I felt out of place, yet not mainstream like Borough which was packed to the rafters on a sunny Saturday morning.

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Maltby Street market is located at 41 Maltby St, London SE1 3PA, UK. To get there take a train to London Bridge Station and follow the map below from there.  The Market is only open from 9am-4pm on Saturdays, and 11am-4pm on Sundays. For more information including a list of vendors, please visit their website.

Dinerama
Many many years ago, back in my uni days, I was an East London resident, and often frequented the then trending area of Shoreditch. It was still in its early days back then and I couldn’t believe the changes it has undergone since I lived there many moons ago. The whole area was absolutely teaming with trendy folks enjoying themselves on a Saturday night.  Despite wearing my hipster hat and glasses and a very cool vintage blazer I still felt way too mainstream for this fashionista crowd.  But no matter, I wasn’t there to impress, I was there to eat, and hang out with my celebrity friends. Food wise Dinerama had a lot to offer. We tried some vegan tacos from Club Mexicana, which I didn’t think were half as good as the ones at Plant in Seoul, although their deep fried cheese was pretty epic. We also got a giant platter of barbecued smoked meat from Hot Box, and the incredible Lew Burger from Burger & Beyond which was topped with smoked cheese, pancetta, and smothered in bone marrow mayonnaise. It was sinfully addictive. I was also way into the Frose (frozen rose) that almost of all the bars seemed to be selling. The whole place is packed with bars in fact, each one having a different vibe from the 70s disco vodka bar to the German sex dungeon. If you like places that are too cool for school then it is the perfect place to eat, drink, and be merry at the weekend.

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Dinerama is located at 19 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3EJ. To get there take a train to Old Street Station and follow the map below from there. Dinerama is open From Thursday – Sunday from 12pm – late. For more information including a list of vendors please visit their website.

 

Searcy’s Champagne Bar

There is nothing quite like a glass of champagne to make you feel glamorous and sophisticated. Being a glamorous and sophisticated girl, I’m always quaffing a bottle or two, as my Instagram account will attest. One place I have always wanted to visit in London is the Champagne bar located in St Pancras train station, and as luck would have it I was in the area and had plans to meet up with two of my oldest friends(that I met in Korea) and thought that Searcy’s would be the perfect setting for the reunion.

Searcy’s is located inside of St Pancras / Kings Cross Station. Boasting the title of ‘Europe’s longest champagne bar’ the 98m space is truly breathtaking. The magnificent location allows panoramic views of the entire station terminal, showcasing the glorious wrought iron and glass ceiling overhead. The are twelve banquettes that line the length of bar, each adorned with art deco and a ‘press for champagne’ button that ensures you never need to get up to refill your glass. The place has a real retro luxe vibe going on, and you cant help but feel utterly decadent while sipping your bubbles.

Unsurprisingly the menu has a great selection of champagnes and sparkling wines, with the cheapest one starting at just under £10 a glass, making it affordable even if your budget is more akin to the £3 Asti Spumante from Aldi. After perusing the menu I decided to treat my friend to bottle of the English Grey Friars – Rose Brut which was a very reasonable £65 for the bottle. Made from Pinot Noir it was a very drinkable with notes of strawberries and cream and the most delightful blush hue. It was hard to believe that the grapes were grown only 25 miles away in Surrey.  Nestled in our booth, we took soothing sips of our champs, while busy commuters ran to catch their trains below us. It was quite the contradiction. If you are feeling peckish the adjoining restaurant has a rather nice menu and an incredibly beautiful gold leaf ceiling, unfortunately we had another train to catch so couldn’t partake, However if you have the time I’m sure it is well worth stopping by.

Seary’s is located at the Grand Terrace, Upper Concourse, St Pancras International Station, King’s Cross St. Pancras, London, N1C 4QL. To get there take the tube to King’s Cross station or a train to St Pancras and take the escalator up to the second floor. It is above all luxury glass fronted shops. For more information or to make a reservation you can call them on 0207 870 9900   or visit  their website.

Lobster Bar

Lobster Bar in Itaewon just celebrated their 3 year anniversary, it truly is insane how quickly time flies these days. It seems like only last summer that they opened up in their first location on the hill, and had hordes of hungry patrons queuing up to get in on the new lobster roll trend.  To celebrate this momentous occasion and keep things fresh they have added some new items to the menu. They kindly invited me along to give them a try, and I was powerless to resist, I mean who says no to free lobster right?

One trend that isn’t going away any time soon is burgers, so putting a new lobster burger on the menu was a very savvy idea. The lobster burger (17,900), certainly looks very impressive, and will look very attractive on your Instagram feed. After taking about 18,000 pictures of it, I finally got to lock my lips around the mighty mound. The burger itself pretty tasty, and it remained firm despite the tower of ingredients topping it.  While I enjoyed the lobster and cheeseburger combo, I wast sure about the addition of the jalapeno mayo as I think it took away from the flavour of the lobster. There are plans to add a few different versions to the menu in the next few weeks, so I think they could come up with a few interesting options.

As well as the burger, we also tried the Spicy Bang Bang Shrimp (9,500). I was really happy to see this on the menu, as Bang Bang chicken is a dish I always order from the Chinese takeaway back home, so was pleased to see it here in Korea. We both really enjoyed this dish. The crispy battered shrimp were large and juicy and the spicy mayo sauce was very moreish. The shrimp were on top of a pile of rice and lettuce, so you could easily eat this as a main dish to yourself, or share it as a starter.

We also got to try the new Fried Crab Popcorn (9,000). This was a giant paper cone filled with tiny deep fried crabs. They made the perfect dish to snack on while we were enjoying our drinks, especially when dipped into the accompanying chili mayo. I thought they made a an interesting addition to the menu as they differ from the spicy Korean style.

To drink I of course had to order my favourite cocktail, the Tropical Berry Punch (15,000). This drink is all kinds of blackcurranty fruity goodness and is a highly addictive tropical treat. I also think it has grown in size since my last visit too, which is never a bad thing.  TFB was rather boring and stuck with a pint of Great White (9,000), however their drinks menu is actually pretty varied and has quite a selection including rather cheap bottles of spirits if you are dining with a large group

Overall we had a great dinner, and it is always nice to return to an old favourite. The menu has been kept fresh and and it is clear that Lobster Bar really cares about their food and keeping their customers coming back. I’m glad to see that they are expanding their range of seafood, while still keeping their most popular items like the lobster sandwiches on the menu. If you are hankering for some shellfish, then this is the place to get it.

Lobster Bar is located at 56-13 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) come out of exit 4 and walk straight, keep going until you reach Mcdonalds. Lobster Bar is on the 3rd floor just above Starbucks. For more information you can call them on 070-8225-3963 or check out facebook page.