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Bakery, Non-Korean Eats, Restaurant Reviews, Southeastern Seoul

Le Alaska: A Fine Bakery with Excellent Sandwiches

Le Alaska looks like a quaint little bakery over by Apgujeong’s Rodeo street but it is surprisingly big. There is a porch and a large seating area in the back. They offer a wide range of baked goods, coffees, shaved ice desserts and sandwiches.

Their croissants and flavored breads such as vegetable bakes and chocolate dipped croissants are excellent. Their regular loaves have excellent crunch and texture- you’re not getting faux bread here.

They are quite creative in their presentation and their flavoring as well. They have iced popovers, banana apple breads and even praline layered breads.


Since I had something sweet to start, I went with the braided spinach bread. They rolled the bread around the vegetables so they stayed separate from the bread.

Sandwiches


Popovers

They pride themselves on using French flour.

For those looking for something more “Asian.” Here is red bean stuffed bread, wrapped sausage, streudel bread and bagels.

Interior Shot

I ordered a Rosemary ham sandwich which had some veggies, emmental cheese, and dijon mustard. One of the better sandwiches I have had in Korea.


Recommended

Le ALASKA
- ad: 653-9 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu Seoul
- tel: 02-516-5871
- hours: 9am ~ 11pm


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Restaurant Reviews, Southeastern Seoul

Sakura Gala Dinner Buffet at La Seine, Lotte Hotel Seoul

Written and Photographed by Dayoung Chung

Buffet restaurants of luxurious hotels always make a good choice for a nice meal, whether it be a business meal, or a special gathering with friends and family. But the ‘same old buffet menu’ and the ironic tendency to always overeat have found me far away from buffet restaurants for a while. Until recently that is. I was invited to Lotte Hotel in Myeongdong to dine at their buffet restaurant, La Seine, which was having a special spring promotional event called Sakura Gala Dinner Buffet. The hotel organizes single day events every month to feature different themed menus and decorations that is an addition to the everyday buffet menus. For the April promotion, the theme was cherry blossom.

The restaurant is located on the first floor of the hotel which I found very accessible as an outside visitor.
Situated in one of the most popular tourist and business area of Seoul, the restaurant’s patrons seemed to be nearby office workers, tourists and also families with children. Apart from the excellent location, the other feature which sets the restaurant apart from other hotel buffets is the wide array of sea food menus prepared in Asian and Western style cuisine. I was looking forward to the famous sushi and sashimi bar.

The restaurant opened at 6 p.m., and all the service staff was neatly lined up at the entrance ready to check the customer’s reservation and direct them to their tables. As we were seated a server offered me and my friend a choice of Perrier or Evian. It was a nice alternative to the glass of water you find normally at restaurants. I first made a quick tour of the restaurant floor and checked the menus in different stations. My first plate was filled with cold sea food appetizers of wasabi lobster, smoked salmon, grilled scallop among other items. The colorful arrangement and dainty portions looked inviting and I was happy to taste each sea food cooked and seasoned differently. But don’t I think the overall flavor was as colorful as it looked.

The sushi and sashimi bar met my expectations. Tuna, salmon, halibut, and snapper were served as sushi or sashimi. Upon order, the chef behind the bar sliced the fish right in the spot into thick pieces for sushi or sashimi and served on the customer’s plates. The chef mentioned that the tuna came from a live fish that morning reassuring the freshness of the dish. Another popular raw fish among Koreans is the fresh abalone cut into bite size pieces. The expensive delicacy prepared by La Seine was thick and chewy and most of all it was plentiful to satisfy the customer’s appetite.

One of the interesting features of La Seine is that customers can see the food readily cooked by chefs at the open kitchen behind the stations and the fire show from the cooking makes it fun to watch. Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes prepared by respective foreign chefs raised the diversity of the buffet and I had fun filling my plate. The chili crab, sea food phat thai, and the special braised shark’s fin dish was full of the fresh sea food ingredients and vegetables. But the taste seemed be tuned down to meet local standard and lacked a certain authenticity considering that it was made by a native chef.

I was busy at the Asian station that I almost missed the lobster and lamb chop grill at the back of the restaurant floor. Medium sized lobster cut in half and lamp chop steak was grilled over gas fire and served with different sauces to accommodate the grilled meat. Both lobster and lamp chop were excellent. The lobster was cooked just right and the lamp chop was tender and moist.

Another highlight of a buffet is the dessert. The dessert station at La Seine features a white chocolate fountain, an ice cream station that serves your choice of ice cream Cold Stone style and a long counter with almost 20 kinds of dessert mousse in little glass cups and macaroons. The rows and rows of chocolate mousse and raspberry pudding were quite overwhelming and I was torn in between which cups to choose from. If I only had more room in my already full stomach, I would have tasted all the desserts on display.

Overall, the service was commendable. Even though all the tables were full and the restaurant floor was filled with customers, my old plate was removed every time I returned to my table and the chefs were eager to explain the dishes with a smile. But I wasn’t too impressed with the expensive looking paper napkin and place mat table setting. After all, it was a first class hotel and you would expect something on the lines of fine dining from the 150,000 won meal.

The dinner promotion was called Sakura Gala Dinner Buffet so I was expecting something interesting in the night’s meal related with cherry blossoms. But all I could see was the cherry blossom decoration next to the appetizers. It would have nice to see dishes or desserts with cherry blossom as an ingredient.

As for overeating, I’m afraid it was unavoidable.

La Seine
Lotte Hotel Myeongdong 1st Floor
Ph# 02-317-7171~2
Price: 150,000 KRW per person for gala dinner
77,000 ~ 82,000 KRW for everyday lunch and dinner buffet

*Seoul Eats was invited by Lotte Hotel to come write a guest post. We would like to thank them for their generosity.*











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Photographs, Southeastern Seoul

Photoblog: Jungsikdang Revisited

I revisited Jungsikdang today with an out of town guest. Overall everything was delicious and they even tested a few new items on us such as a tomato salad and a 6 hour braised octopus.

The highlights of the meal were the sous vide chicken that was wrapped in its own crispy skin, the bibimbap, the pork belly with bleu cheese foam, and the chocolate chestnut mousse in the shape of an O’nngi.

Now I have been to this place several times so you can read other reviews and see other menu items here: http://www.seouleats.com/?s=jungsikdang

649-7 SINSADONG
GANGNAMGU SEOUL
+82 2 517 4654

Dan

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Photographs, Snack Food/ Desserts, Southeastern Seoul

Enigmatic Frenchman sends Pictures of his Just Desserts

Enigmatic Frenchman sends pictures of his desserts with a description of what they are. There was no review made, just pictures sent so…I feel like I should share them with you since they look utterly scrumptious.

They are from Cafe Nest
Seoul Gangnam-gu Nonhyeon-dong 218-19
서울시 강남구 논현동218-19 1층 카페네스트

Sortilege de fruits rouges...

Parfait glace au chocolat.

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Non-Korean Eats, Restaurant Reviews, Southeastern Seoul

Review: Masterful French Cuisine at Bien-être

Review: Masterful French Cuisine at Bien-être

by DuckConfetti

“If you’re looking for a taste of French haute cuisine at a cheaper price than you might find elsewhere, keep looking. Because… Bien-être is a bit hard to find. But once you make your way up the narrow streets and alleys, look no further! This intimate establishment has only eight seats so it’s best for 2-4 people and you will probably have the most luck by making reservations two weeks in advance.

The evening’s menu was written on a board at the front of the restaurant. The names of the dishes were in French and the details were in Korean. The only choices we had to make were between steak and fish, tart and souffle, and cheese (+5000 won) or no cheese. Wine range from about 70,000 to 700,000 a bottle.

My favorite way to eat is when course after course of fantastic variety and flavor get placed in front of you for hours on end. And this is just what I got. The evening starts with a variety of amuse bouche, and more delicious and intriguing morsels are paired other courses throughout. With its excellent flavors, beautiful presentation, and world class ingredients, 67,000 won per person (+10% VAT) is a reasonable price such a classy meal.  I took plenty of pictures, so you can judge for yourself.”

**** 4 Stars: One of the finest eats in the city of Seoul (and possibly the world) Bien-être (비앙 에트르) “

$$$ 20-80 USD

When did you go: January 2012

With Whom: Wife/Partner

Address: 130 Cheongdam-dong Gangnam-gu Seoul

Phone: 02-543-3288

 

 


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