Braai RepublicMonday, January 23, 2012
Living in such a cosmopolitan city as Seoul, you'll occasional meet some loud, energetic South Africans. When they run into each other they all speak Afrikaans, which I presume is not really a language. I am just kidding (and I know my South African friends have a sense of humor). The thing I do know is that there is a love of food in South Africa and now there is a restaurant where you can try the food.
Braai Republic is located on the backside of Itaewon (behind on the McDonald's) side and they specialize in South African barbecue. The sausages and meat pies are made in house and they have a good wine and beer selection to go along with them.
The place is homey and looks like a bar from the 80's. There is a prominent zebra skin on one of the main walls and other South African memorabilia on the walls. Cricket was playing on the television while I was there and the place was comfortable.
I was there with Dustin and we ordered a bottle of Hazy View pinotage (20,000 won) which had a scarlet taste that was a bit of sweet and tannin. Great value for money and i could tell it would complement the barbecued meats. We ordered a barbecue dinner that had lamb chops, 2 sausages and sides and a chicken pot pie.
The friendly server (and sausage maker Roddy) talked to us to explain the food and we placed our order. The chef then started to grill it up. The nice thing was that we didn't have to grill it ourselves (you would understand if you were in Korea) and they must have a decent vent system because it didn't have an overly smokey smell.
The chicken pie is a decent size and filled with a creamy sauce with tender, shredded chicken. The crust was nice for most of it but there was a thick layer near the top that was a bit doughy. Good pie.
The lamb was barbecued right and it was chargrilled so it had nice crunch to the outside. The meat was medium rare near the bone which was fine for me. The meat went very well with their homemade sweet onion, garam masala marmalade. The onion marmalade went well with everything actually. I think they should package it and sell it. The sausages were brilliant. Made with real lamb casings, the sausages tasted authentic. The meat inside was flavorful and with good texture, unlike the store bought sausages that have a texture like bubble gum. The sides that came with the dish (I believe spinach and cole slaw) were ok as well.
To finish off our meal we had some homemade cheese cake with caramel topping.
Wow. They told me it was made by a south African home chef and I was floored. The crust was snappy and the cheesecake velvety. The topping was artistically swirled on top. It was heavenly and I think would make people rethink calling some cheesecakes "NY Style."
Overall, an excellent meal. One that I will be revisiting soon.