37 Grill and Bar
Northwest Seoul, Restaurant Reviews

Guest Review: 37 Bar & Grill

37 Grill and Bar

 

For Valentine’s this year I decided to let my lovely boyfriend surprise me by choosing where we would be eating. He opted for the brand spanking new 37 Bar & Grill at the Conrad Hotel in Yeouido. They had a special set menu for Valentine’s Day which was priced at 160,000 pp for 6 courses. As a Valentines special they had a His and Hers menu. The main ingredients were the same but each dish was served with different accompaniments.  A rather cute concept, I thought. They had wine pairings with each course that you could order for a set fee. However you know by now I’m a cocktail girl and ordered a few of those instead. Priced between 20,000-30,000 you will need to take your gold card to get drunk.

We arrived at the 37th floor location and were shown to our beautiful window table with a panoramic view of night-time Seoul. We were presented with our His and Hers menus and a complimentary glass of champagne. I was a little concerned that there were three fish dishes on the menu when I don’t actually like fish. I was mildly amused that my boyfriend had picked this menu when he knows I hate fish. However I decided to write it off as comedy tale like the time he bought me the same necklace he had given me the year before.

First up was the amuse bouche – a potato puree with mushroom caviar. Served in an adorable mason jar this was too cute for words. We were also served our bread. Sadly no flavours but a choice of hard of soft roll, I of course chose both.

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On to the first course the one I was dreading the most. Yellowtail Kingfish. Niall’s was served with truffle Yuzu, salmon pearls, and coriander essence. Mine was served with the more modest lime, mango and oscietra caviar.  I did have a little try, and to be fair, it was ok. It’s just the texture that was rather strange. Niall ate both portions and found them both succulent and tasty. If pushed he preferred his own.

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Next was the lobster. Luckily I do love lobster. Mine came with horseradish, casereccia and champagne nage. Niall’s with truffle, macaroni, and curry veloute. I tried both but preferred Niall’s so made him swap. The lobster was really good. It was a nice sized piece and full of flavour.

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The third course was Halibut. My halibut was served with a brioche crust, ricotta gnocchi, and peas. Niall’s was served with a rocket crust, cauliflower puree, and dolce forte sauce.  I was not looking forward to this one but I sometimes can manage to eat a bit of white fish, usually if it is smothered in batter. However I polished off my plate with gusto. The brioche crust was divine. I am so glad that I have finally trained myself into liking white fish.

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The last savoury course was the steak and this was the one I was most looking forward too. Niall’s was served with fois gras, wild mushrooms, and devil sauce. Mine came with asparagus, onion duxelles, and truffle jus. The steak was wonderful, perfectly cooked, and beautifully rare. This was possibly my favourite course. You just can’t beat a good steak. Although the lobster came pretty close.

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The pre-dessert of sparkling strawberry espuma was nice and tingly and a good palette cleanser.

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On to the dessert… Hazelnut chocolate fondant with vanilla ice-cream, passion fruit, and marshmallow. The pudding was rich, and full of chocolate sauce just the way I like it. However I didn’t think the overall taste was  amazing. Maybe it had to do with the chocolate they had used. But I have had much better versions of this elsewhere.

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They ended the meal with a pistachio macaroon and tea or coffee. We were also presented with a red rose and a box of macaroons to take away. A nice touch which made the evening feel even more special.

Overall the ambiance of the restaurant was wonderful and it was the perfect spot for a Valentines Day meal. Yes the meal was on the expensive side but for a special occasion I think it was worth it. Compared to other restaurants of this calibre I have been to elsewhere in the world, the food lacked a little in the taste department. Everything was good but not amazing, no dish warranted an Mmm out of me and I think for the price you are paying it should. However the presentation and service was exemplary. The waiter explained each dish in perfect English, as you would expect.  The view is also spectacular so make sure you get a window seat.

The Conrad hotel is located at 23-1 Yeouido-dong Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, 150-945, South Korea. It is located just next to the IFC Mall. To get there take a train to Yeouido station (Line 5 & 9) Come out of exit 3 and walk straight. Take your first right then walk straight until you reach the IFC Mall, you can’t miss it. Directions to the hotel are posted inside. You can call them on 02-6137-7000 or email them at [email protected] for more information or to make reservations.

 

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Cafes, Northwest Seoul

Too Much Concept, Not enough Taste: Dal.komm Coffee Review

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I heard that Dal.Komm Coffee was supposed to be the cafe of the future. I heard they had iPads for you to check out free of charge with your coffee, fast wifi, great music and sound. It is supposed to be the cool new place to be.

However, it is just a lousy cafe hiding behind a facade of a great idea. The concept is quite confusing and the vacuous space in Hongdae is so noisy that the tunes you are supposed to be able to hear are muffled over. Also the levels of the sound from song to song are different so they must be using mp3′s rather than high quality CDs or even high quality downloads.

Oh, and the coffee? Blah. You can choose three levels of coffee K1: mild, K2: Rich, K3: Deep. Yeah, the gimmick was too much of a gimmick. The mild tasted like water and it wasn’t “well balanced and sweet nutty” as promised. I got the coffee cube: coffee ice cubes in a latte drink. A tad too sweet and the ice doesn’t melt fast enough to be enjoyed properly (they should have made the ice cubes smaller). Oh, the melted ice cube coffee just tastes bitter.

Sigh…It is quite apparent this is a cafe that is looking to have people franchise it out. In a country with way too many cafes, I hope it will not. Well, compared to Cafe Bene it is better, but I hope is that small independent cafe owners will be able to convince people they can offer better service and coffee.

Dal.komm
Mapo-gu, Seogyo-dong 359
Hongdae: across from Free Park
02-333-0442

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Northwest Seoul, Snack Food/ Desserts

CLOSED Fell + Cole Ice Cream

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On Monday I went to Fell n Cole and had their funky banana ice cream, the Gorgonzola ice cream and the lemon ginger. All were very creamy and packed with flavor. The banana one was my favorite and had a subtle banana flavor and nice, yet not overpowering, sweetness. The lemon ginger was zingy and the ginger pop was just right. The Gorgonzola ice cream was like watching a unicorn being attached by zombies. The ice cream is disturbing but you can’t keep tasting it. It has a true Gorgonzola flavor but with cool cream. Yummy.

One more thing: the flagship store in Hongdae will be closing at the end of December. They have a shop in the Galleria and they hope to find a place in Itaewon.

Dan

Dessert: Fell + Cole
This creative ice cream shop makes up new flavors almost everyday. On a given day you could ice cream made from perilla leaves, squash, green tea and whisky, salted caramel and much more. Don’t worry they have delicious sounding ice cream like “Blueberry Banana” and “Just Boring Vanilla.”
Cost: 3,000 won
Address: Mapo-gu Seogyo-dong 408-1 Ph#: 070-4411-1434

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Northwest Seoul, Restaurant Reviews, Snack Food/ Desserts

Street Food: Egg Balls

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While walking down by Hongdae I spotted a new stall that was booming loud techno music and some interesting new snacks. They are called egg balls and they are like crispy waffles with a choice of flavoring. They had peanut, chocolate chips and original. I got the chocolate chip and they were good. The balls are crisp and light and have a light egg batter. I highly recommend you get some.

You can find them across from the trick eye museum in Hongdae.

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Northwest Seoul, Restaurant Reviews

Gourmet Tteokbokki at Mimine

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There are some foods you dream about. I have dreams about the crunch of garlic stems I had at Mimine. Wow. I don’t know how they do it, they just do it well. The tempura is shatteriffic while not being greasy. The Kimmari is also quite awesome. The individual strands of sweet potato noodles are fried crisp and the wrapped seaweed part is flavorful and moist.

The Tteokbokki is awesome as well. The sauce is balanced- not too sweet and not too spicy. It is also not too thick so it is great for dipping the tempura in.

Mimine is great. It’s gourmet. It’s also expensive compared to the regular street Tteokbokki (hence, I could seeing people being critical of it). An order of Tteokbokki costs 3500 won and the assorted fried snacks cost 9500 won. The space is cramped, service slow, but the food is totally worth it.

Mimine
Mapo-gu Seogyodong 367-1 1st Fl
02-3143-7244

Directions: it is in the Hongdae main parking area near Sang Sang Madang.

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