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Cafes/Bars, Central Seoul, Restaurant Reviews

Cafe Review: Green Station Myeongdong

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This is a cute cafe that offers a range f healthy drinks and snacks made from green tea. They have coffee as well for those they would like it. The red bean latte is a ok if you like red bean and milk and the green tea is good quality.

Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea, 1 Myeongdong 2(i)-ga
02-745-0705

http://m.google.com/u/m/-0ZVE5

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Central Seoul, Restaurant Reviews

Chez Simon: Revisited

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Chez Simon is still good but don’t expect much change from the past. If you are looking for a decent coursed meal that stays true to form then visit Chez Simon. The Creme Brûlée is still top notch and so is the steak.

The pictures can be found on my Instagram page. Follow me there for Seoul Food tips. http://instagram.com/seouleats/

Here is a past review: http://www.seouleats.com/2010/10/chez-simon-french-cuisine-done-right/

And another: http://www.seouleats.com/2010/11/chez-simon-redux/

Back before Samcheongdong became the date hotspot, the street was famous for restaurants. These days the trend seems to be on turn and burn establishments and too, too many cafes. My favorite bouillabaisse went defunct and became another cafe. Just when I thought all was lost, I happened to find Chez Simon. For years they have been turning out great homemade cuisine in a 20 seat, reservation-only restaurant.

Chez Simon’s menu changes regularly depending on local ingredients that are available. The secret to the restaurant’s success is the ability of the chef to transform these ingredients into works of art. Each plate is adorned with mini fireworks of flavor. The crispy ravioli first course was served over tomato and bean sauce, accented with oregano. The potato foam soup was frothy like a perfect cappuccino. The pasta was cooked al dente and the anchovy, mushroom sauce was just right. My steak was cooked medium rare- the outside crispy and the center cool-almost raw.

The creme bulee was how creme bulee should be. The specks of vanilla bean in the suspended cream mixture crackled with the caramel bulee. A perfect creme bulee stands out- this one does and will.

Our chef-slash-waiter was a charming guy that worked speedily to cook our food, dress the plates, and serve everything piping hot. I don’t know how this one guy would have been able to handle everything if there were more than 3 tables, but he didn’t miss a beat with us.

Chez Simon
Address: Seoul, Jongro-gu Samcheong-dong 63-10
Phone: 02-730-1045 Reservations recommended.
Directions: Go out Anguk Station exit 1 and make the first right and walk about 10 minutes until you get to Samcheongdong. Walk on the elevated walkway and you’ll see it up on a hill.

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Central Seoul, Restaurant Reviews

Review: Saint Augustin: Stylish Asian Cuisine

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Saint Augustin

Wow, I am impressed that this little restaurant that I once visited in Seorae Village (the French village of Seoul) has franchised out. The place is classy and it oozes Asian flair like Zen Hideaway. The place is hip and they have good food to match. Ok, it is not the authentic Thai food you would find in Thailand. It is a bit more refined and the prices match that. For a lunch meeting we ordered an assortment of dishes and they were all very good. The Poo Phad Phong Kari:fried soft-shelled crab in yellow curry (28,000 won). Great with the egg in the sauce and the crabs were soft. I would have preferred a tad crispier but it was good. We also had the Som Tam: papaya salad (16,000 won). This was super spicy and had a nice sauce. Very refreshing but could have used a bit more fresh lime. The Neua Phad Nammanhoy: beef with asparagus (29,000) went fast and was good but I would have been happy with a tad more beef and asparagus and less onion. The goongyai pad Thai (18,000) was one of the better pad Thais I have had in Seoul. The noodles were perfectly al dente and the sauce was light and flavorful. Warning just watch out for the side of pepper flakes. They are hot and I am not a wimp when it comes to spice.

They didn’t have a dessert menu so I went with the Vietnamese coffee. Not bad but I would have loved a mango and sticky rice.

Saint Augustin
2.5 Stars (out of 4 good Thai, stylish atmosphere)
Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea, 61-1 Mugyo-dong

http://m.google.com/u/m/x6WIwj (at 서울파이낸스센터 (Seoul Finance Center))

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Central Seoul, Restaurant Reviews

Vatos Urban Korean Tacos Redux

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It’s been a busy end of the year so I (sadly) had not the chance to check out the new Vatos. Now I knew that on a Saturday it was going to be busy so I went 30 minutes before to put my name down on the list and then went to What the Book! to browse. It took about 45 minutes to get a table.

The new interior is impressive. It has this whole steam-punk, comic-noir feel with the broken brick and plumping pipe tables. It’s swanky.

To start I got one of their famous beer-bottled margaritas. I got the Dos XX and my friend got the Tangerine one. It is a tad expensive at 14,000 a piece but you won’t need more than one unless you are planning on making a night of it.

One of the owners, the affable Sid, recommended some different dishes and we got eating. The Queso (8,000) with fresh chips were rich and gooey with cheddar cheese. It had some ground beef and chilies in the vat of hot cheese and were fun scooping out with the crisp chips. We followed this with the 3 Shrimp Tacos (10,000). Yum with nice pop from the shrimp,creaminess from sour cream and light hint of lime. We also got the kimchi burrito with pork (10,000). Tart and spicy and very filling. One of these would be enough for a meal.

We didn’t leave hungry although desserts were intriguing. I will have to get the Nutella nachos next time.

Vatos
3 stars (out of 4. Cool space, friendly staff, lots of flavor).
Yongsan-Gu, Itaewon 1-dong 181-8 2nd Floor
02-797-8226

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minsclub
Central Seoul, Korean Eats, Restaurant Reviews, The Best of Seoul

Fine Cuisine at Min’s Club

Min’s Club in Insadong
Salmon Gravlax at Min’s Club

Min’s Club is a historical house that used to be the home of nobles. Built in the 1930 it has a Korean traditional exterior but with a modern interior. The space has higher ceilings and larger rooms than most regular Korean houses so it is a comfortable place to have a meal. The rooms are cosy. The wood framing is easily seen from the inside. The place is well lit as well with numerous windows around each room. The must have been a bit drafty because the windows are covered with unobtrusive clear plastic.

As traditional as this place looks, they serve contemporary European food with Korean flair. Here you can get Salmon gravlax with a bit of dill cream or a bed of acorn and mung bean jellies with seasoned beef and salad, they have neobiani (a marinated Korean beef) as well; but here it is on a single plate accompanied by a dollop of mashed potatoes and a ray of deodeok (bellflower roots). The main dish comes with a side of rice and white pickled cabbage (for Koreans believe that rice is the main part of the meal and if you have rice, you must have kimchi).

The food is prepared conservatively well. Each dish is flavorful and showcases the ingredients and the skill of the chef. The chef doesn’t go out of the way to make his meal gaudy or loud. Here the meal is secondary to the architecture and the conversations that people have.

I had the duck confit which was deboned from the leg. The skin was wrapped carefully around the savory meat. Interesting concept, but I think I would have liked to meat on the bone (but I understand he might have done this for his usual Korean clients). The rice pilaf was nice and buttery and the spinach was delicately blanched. The bean jelly dish was delicious with the silky starch jellies under savory nibs of beef and topped with a greens. For dessert I had the raspberry cheesecake. This, although beautiful to look at was too frozen to eat initially. After giving it several minutes rest it was quite good. The chef is respectful of the history of the house. After dining, the chef greeted us with a half of a soft persimmon. The fruit was ripe and subtle in flavor and texture. The chef told  It was a wonderful finish for the meal.

Overall, my meal had more hits than misses and the environment is beautiful for hosting guests, having meetings, and for dates.

Min’s Club

Jongno-gu Gyeongun-dong 66-7

02-733-2966

www.minsclub.co.kr

Mung Bean and Acorn Jelly topped with beef and greens
Neobiani
Duck Confit
Raspberry Cheesecake
Persimmon
The Chef
Lunch Menu
Lunch Menu

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