So, a friend of a friend recommended this place in Apgujeong and it's in the very stylish Dosan Park area. In this area you'll also find Wooriga (recommended), Gorilla in the Kitchen (it's alright), and it will soon be home to Jung Shik Dang's new restaurant (I can't wait). So, I had very high expectations for this place (uh, oh, foreshadowing...I'm going to write a review on this place later.)
The restaurant has very high ceilings and there is an open kitchen. It's very inviting and luxurious.
The meal starts out with apple slices coated with a grain and topped with jujube. The dish was crunchy and...forgettable. It didn't seem like they put too much effort into it.
The settings and the restaurant is great. The scroll to the left has the menu which is served coursed-style.
Next came the salad with raspberry wine dressing (bokbunja). The dressing was a tad too sweet and the salad was very ordinary.
This oyster dish with green spring onions was very good. The taste of the soy sauce blended well with the bright green flavor of the onions.
The next dish was a warmed eggplant and mushroom dish. I guess the theme for the evening was autumn or brown. I couldn't figure it out.
This Grilled abalone with crab mustard sauce was the best dish of the evening. It was artfully presented in the abalone shell and the abalone was silky and the sauce brought the dish together. This is something I would want to have again.
The main course was well...confusing. There were many grilled vegetables with a pumpkin sauce below and a mustard sauce in front. The mustard sauce was too strong for the grilled vegetables and it didn't pair with the pumpkin sauce. The dish was also confusing on how to eat.
At least their main course (rice in Korea is the main course). They brought out a variety of jotgeol (salted and fermented seafood).
Overall, the experience was very ok. The concept of the meal was confusing and it was all very bibimbap (everything just mixed together). I believe their concept is to do something like the French Laundry or Michel Bras: they forage and get the best local ingredients and combine them using French techniques. I just don't think their chefs have to skill to pull this off. Also, for the price (75,000 per person), I expected more.
If you are looking for some good bread in the Gangnam area, then I recommend Retro-Oven. It's kind of hidden, so the best way to find it is to go to their website http://club.cyworld.com/retrooven.
The chef was trained in Germany, so he makes rustic German style loaves that he has changed for the Korean palatte. The bread is fluffier and lighter than what you might find in Germany, but it doesn't mean the bread isn't good. It is very flavorful and I think it must have to do with the yeast that he uses. The bread has a sour-dough taste that is quite surprising.
They make fresh bread everyday starting at noon. They have chocolate croissants and cheese danishes at 12. At 12:30 they start serving hard loaves, pretzels, and olive loaves (recommended). They make the bread fresh everyday and they close when all the bread is gone or at 5pm.
I'm a big fan of their Laugen Croissant, which tastes like the perfect German soft pretzel. And their soft pretzels are amazing as well.
Here is their olive loaf and you'll find flecks of black olive. Really good and the bread makes a perfect gift.
I know a celebrity. AZA.
Chef Rachel Yang is continuing her rise to the top ranks in the culinary world and her secret weapon is Korean food. Her restaurant Joule in Seattle has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Gourmet Magazine, Food and Wine, and countless other publications. Over the summer I had the opportunity to go to her restaurant and I still have dreams about her cornbread and gouda dish topped with black truffle dish. Also, her yukgaejang was the best I've ever had.
If you don't recall, Rachel was in Korea last May and she did a cooking demonstration for the Tteok Festival.
Rachel did an amazing rice cake pasta dish topped with a soy tempered egg and a Makgeolli Sabayon.
I don't know the results of the show, but I heard that she used many Korean ingredients to make interesting versions of classic Korean dishes.
I think that the Korean government should bring this rising star back to Korea to show everyone how they can make Korean food work overseas.
Eddy Ahn: Chef extraordinaire, foodie, and friend invited myself, Joe MacPherson aka zenkimchi and a couple other foodies to the Hanspoon opening party. You can find about more about Hanspoon at www.cyworld.com/FSCG and on their Facebook page
We started out with a few Makgeolli cocktails. This one was a Makgeolli Pina Colada. Makgeolli pairs very well with different juices and flavorings. My favorite of the evening was a Omija (5-flavor berry) Makgeolli.
Here are some Pork Kimchi Lollipops: samgyeopsal (Grilled Pork Belly) on forks topped with kimchi. It was a wonderful hors d'oeuvre to start the evening.
Here is Glass Bean Jelly in rice paper wraps flavored with sesame oil and roasted seaweed. Tangpyeongchae is the regular Korean dish, but it is usually very difficult to eat because the noodles are very slippery to eat with chopsticks. Wrapping them in rice paper is a great way make this dish finger food.
Here are tofu mixed with chicken and then put on thin, crisp baguette chip. The tofu is dusted with paprika or black sesame seed and a parmesan crisp.
These days in Korea, you will find coffee shops on almost every corner. If you think about it, it's actually quite strange because back in the day, Korea was mainly a tea based culture. According to Professor Jia Choi of Ewha University, the popularity of coffee comes from a mix of different influences. One of the main influences was from Emperor Sunjong of Korea. Emperor Sunjong was the last king of Korea and he would often have western style dinner parties at the palace. They would have western style settings and food. Now this was back in the 1920s, so this was quite revolutionary for the time.
Emperor Sunjong and his father, Emperor Gojong, would often drink coffee together. The Japanese found about their affection for this drink and they had a plot to kill the king by poisoning their coffee. Luckily, the plot was uncovered and the King wasn't killed.
During Imperialist Korea, whatever the king did became the trend, so many people started to drink coffee because of this. Then, coffee became synonymous with dabang girls. Dabangs were coffee shops with women of questionable morals. In some of the smaller cities, you'll find girls that will wear mini-skirts and drive around on motor scooters to deliver instant coffee to men.
On which roasted coffee has more caffeine, look at this post:
Like on every Friday at 2:30pm, I will be on the Steve Hatherly Show on TBS eFM radio. You can listen in at 101.3 FM.
Today I will be talking about coffee. Do you know which coffee has more caffeine: dark roast or light roast coffee? Also, how did coffee become so popular in Korea?
Listen in to find out.
Seoul's W-Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Seoul. The great thing about the restaurant is how modern and contemporary it is. It doesn't have a stodgy, "old money" feel- instead it feels hip and cool.
Here are my friends Jia and Anna. They are two foodies that know good food. On this night, Chef Ciarian Hickey prepared his contemporary Korean menu.
Here is his Yukhwae (Korean beef tartare topped with a quail egg and pear). The meat was so tender it simply evaporated on the tongue.
Here is his truffle mandu stuffed with foie gras. I love the taste of truffles. The scent of truffles burrows deep into my subconscious and meanders around. Truffles have a taste that is deep and earthy. I know that it's supposed to be luxurious, but I think the taste is primordial.
Here is the chef. He explained all the dishes and told us why the W wanted to do a contemporary Korean menu. "By combining western ingredients and taking it to the high-end market, Korean food can get the respect it deserves."
Here is the fish course with risotto. The risotto was one of the best that I've had in the city. For me, risotto is just creamy rice in Korea. (Often because Koreans use their short grain rice), however, the W uses arborio rice and they take the time to slowly coax each grain to drink in the broth.
Here you have Hanwoo beef done two ways. One is a filet cooked very rare and to the right you have Galbi Jjim. Hanwoo isn't as aged as western meats so it is very tender and has a very fresh taste.
To finish the meal, here is poached Korean pear in white wine topped with black peppercorns and black sesame ice cream topped with a scorched rice cookie.
The W-hotel also has a great sunday champagne brunch. I recommend you check it out.