Having grown up in Montreal and doing some extensive travelling around the world (plus having a chef for a father), I've done my fair share of food tasting. Nothing, however, compares to The Beastro, an American style bistro in the Hongdae district of Seoul. The food was so good that I couldn't even muster the energy to blog about this slice of heaven last night.
This post is image heavy, so click below to see more; it's worth it!
The Beastro is a really lovely place. Located on the second floor, the restaurant is complete with a bar, open kitchen, and lovely wood furniture and flooring. It's a classy place without being stuck up. Marta and I seated ourselves, but as you can see, no one was here this late. In the afternoon around lunchtime however, it's a different story. Not sure if they take reservations for lunch, but for dinner it'd probably wise, plus you'll be able to make use of their rooftop which overlooks the park.
Marta, the lovely and amazing person who brought me to this great restaurant so neatly tucked away off of the main road, had the 220g hangar steak with roast potatoes and a shredded kale and homemade ricotta cheese salad. How many places do you know that slow cook their steaks for a day and still manage to have the juicy and tender? Yeah, thought so. Note also the generous amounts of chicken on her salad, accompanied by a tangy vinaigrette drizzling. Speaking of drizzling, there is nothing I love more than watching chefs, like the awesome Matthew J Chung, drizzle and arrange meals. While I wouldn't label this place as expensive (we spent a total of 66,000₩
≈ 64$USD), you still get the service as if you were paying hundreds more.
Now this masterpiece, the Southern style fried chicken and mashed potatoes with a biscuit literally sent me to heaven. Do you know what heaven tastes like? It tastes like this. Every happy moment in my life will now taste like this. This fried chicken is better than any fried chicken I've ever tasted and having family and friends from the South...this says a lot. The skin is crunchy and savoury while the meat (such huge portions! How big are Korean chickens!?) was juicy and full of flavour. The biscuit...I could have eaten an entire tray of those. So soft and flaky and the best part, sweet! People forget to put a little extra sugar in their biscuits (not putting sugar is not going to cancel out the diabetes you probably will already have or get if you're eating Southern food regularly), but at The Beastro they do not! The two sauces, sour honey and bagna cauda literally made me want to lick my plate clean. The bagna cauda, made with garlic and anchovies, the latter which I usually detest, was perfect. These are definitely not typical sauces I would put together with a Southern meal (but then again I'm not a chef), but it works.
This masterpiece is the best damm lemon meringue I've ever had in my life. It's better than mine, and mine is pretty swell.
Unfortunately you can't completely see the crust, but it's made out of gingersnap cookies
. They make their own gingersnap cookies, and then crumble them to make the crust of their meringue. Can we have a moment for that alone? I can't handle it.
Everything at The Beastro is bought and made fresh, and it makes a difference. The flavours come alive and even though they seem so peculiar in theory on paper, they work magic in your mouth. Not to mention the staff is great. The manager came and spoke with everyone to make sure everything was going smoothly. Not once did I see Chung treat his staff unkindly, and I know the cooking business is not always a friendly one. In my books, this place is all around awesome. To think that this restaurant only opened up a few months ago is mind-boggling.
Last, but definitely not least, The Rumchata. So, I basically don't trust horchata from anyone that isn't from the Caribbean nor Mexico, so I was quite apprehensive when I first ordered it. But when it came, pictured below, I tried it. And almost cried. One, they make their own horchata. Two, they make their own horchata by soaking their rice for twenty-four hours before preparation. Three, yes that is dehydrated mandarin you see there alongside a dash of cinnamon and loads of ice. Their signature drinks are potentially all quite fabulous, but first and foremost I definitely suggest this one.
Everyone meet George, the house hippo. Years ago in Canada there was this commercial about not believing everything you see on TV, a commercial I have no recollection of seeing, and when it came up on a "How Canadian are You?" quiz I obviously lost points there. So, here's George, the house hippo, which I randomly stumbled upon at work and couldn't bear to leave behind.
Labels: asia 2014, food, seoul, south korea, travel