Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Restaurant Review: Spice Table by Yerim Park

Spice Table in Itaewon
Written and Photographed by Yerim Park

Not enough Asian food in Asia? Well, maybe in Itaewon. That's what the experienced restaurant couple behind Spice Table thought. This new restaurant offers a satisfying blend of Asian flavors while maintaining that international "Itaewon" feel that everyone can appreciate.

Spice Table is flexible without compromising attention to detail. There is a wall of wines, a romantic ceiling high windows that creates a lofty feel, and a row of dynamic spices offered in an open kitchen on the second floor. They dim the lights at 9 PM for those who want to hang around after dinner for another bottle, or for those who want to end their night with some food with their drinks.

The menu at Spice Table includes a blend of Southeast Asian flavors, offering a general range of foods like spring rolls, noodles, stir-fries, and Thai curries. But the spice does not stop there – they add their own creations. Last weekend, we tried a warm pumpkin and chicken appetizer, a well-seasoned and colorful dish.

At first, I thought the chicken was a little dry but then I noticed the soft warm pumpkin, and understood the overall concept of the dish. The citron sauce instead of sugar to sweeten the dish was also a healthier and more flavorful substitute. Also, you may recognize the chef for she has been on several Korean TV food programs. Her culinary knowledge shows in her use of dried cranberries and citron seeds in her dishes.

Another great crowd pleaser was the spicy steamed mussels. You develop a love-hate addiction while eating them. As you take your first few bites of the mussels dressed in spicy chili tomato sauce, you notice the savory flavors. Then you notice the decorative pasta spirals there to pick out and eat in between mussels. A few more bites and you think, "whoooo, I can't eat anymore because it's too spicy." But then you have a sip of cold white wine or some cold sake, and you think, "Oh, just one more bite." Soon you will be spooning out the saucy soup left at the bottom. The spicy steamed mussels are a great dish to share at dinner or later in the night since Spice Table is open till 2AM. If you want, they can lower the spicy level for you, but the original is what started our addiction.

The newly opened Spice Table is a welcome. It offers a map of Asian flavors and a mood that is relaxed and modern. It definitely brings new Asian food to this part of Asia in a way that is enlightening.

LOCATION: Itaewon, straight out of Exit 2 from Itaewon station, turn left onto the first street (corner of Helios), Spice Table is on the left (2nd Floor) and across from Los Amigos
PHONE NUMBER: 02-796-0509 English Spoken and English Menu Available Price Range (VAT not included): W7,000~25,000 (Cuisine), \8,000 Lunch Special Menu, \40,000~90,000 (Wine)

Spice Table brings stylish Asian food to Itaewon using a fresh and flavorful approach.