Name: MoonJar (달빛 술담)
Reviewed by:Mamas ‘& Papas on: 11th August, 2012
Thoughts: MoonJar is one of the most famous places to go for an upmarket makgeolli experience, though a little difficult to find for some of us. It’s always busy (especially on weekends) and despite the spacious interior, reservations are a must if you want in. The service was prompt, though a little abrupt, and the atmosphere was young and trendy. We chose MoonJar in particular to check out their makgeolli cocktail range, so our Mamas & Papas focused their reviewing taste buds on a selection of three different cocktails.
Service: *** Haemul Pajeon (해물파전) : ***1/2
Style: *** Bossam (보쌈): ****
Citrus Cocktail (유자): **1/2 (sweet, silky, appley, earthy)
Honey Cocktail (꿀): ** (sweet, thick, simple)
Plum wine Cocktail (복분자): ***1/2 (sweet, bit tart, yoghurt-like)
Baedari sal Makgeolli (배다리쌀): **** (dry, light, fresh)
MoonJar is a large, two story establishment in the upmarket lanes of trendy Sinsa-dong, with a unique country-like interior. There are a number of different levels and sections for large groups or small, giving off the feeling of privacy without actually being in a private room. The white walls and wooden furniture are offset by low mood lighting, but the whole place is buzzing with customers and loud music. The atmosphere is one of liveliness and movement, with one Mama commenting ‘I feel like I’m at a club, not in a makgeolli bar.’
What Mamas & Papas liked : The food. There is no mistaking the Sinsa-dong quality of what comes out of the MoonJar kitchen. The Bossam was a particular hit (one Papa describing it as ‘Top Drawer’) as it comes with not only pork but also duck, and excellent kimchi as an accompaniment. Bear in mind that this place is on the expensive side of town, so expect the expensive price tag of 29,000won for one serving.
The Pajeon was also well received, thick and crispy on the outside, soft in the middle. Although the cocktails were not generally raved about by our Mamas & Papas, we did also try some regular makgeolli, which was crisp and refreshing. One Mama said the regular makgeolli was ‘dry and enjoyable, tastes like what I would expect the drink to be like.’
What Mamas & Papas didn’t like: The sweet cocktails. All three selections from the cocktail menu were heavily sweetened, which didn’t suit most Mamas & Papa’s palates. One Mama described the Honey cocktail as ‘not like makgeolli, more like a unique, new kind of latte’. We enjoyed sampling them, though most people would not order them again. The Bokbunja (plum wine) makgeolli cocktail was the least sweet of the three, and was liked better by our reviewers.
Mamas & Papas also felt the music was a little too loud for our table to have comfortable conversation. We were, however, seated right under the Bose speakers, so be sure to mention it to your servers if that’s where you are seated!
MoonJar is certainly a beautiful place, and the quality of food and makgeolli is undeniable. It is a good place if you’re looking for a special occasion…or maybe even a hot date…but it’s perhaps not ideal for a relaxed, more laid-back makgeolli experience.
How to get there:
Head to Apgujeong Station on Line 3 and come out of exit 2. Take a U-Turn and follow the main street down for about 10 minutes until you see a large crosswalk with a Gas Station on the opposite side of the road. Cross the road and turn right, follow the street until you see the Shinhan Personal Finance Centre on the opposite side of the main street. That’s when you should turn left down a small street, and walk for a few blocks. Moon Jar is the large white building on the left, opposite Aland.
강남구 644-19 신사동
MoonJar has received a number of other reviews, so if you’d like to check out what other people thought of it, here are some links.
Seoul Grid has a good review here with a lot of interior pictures.
CNNGo’s Elizabeth Eun wrote up MoonJar as one of the 5 best makgeolli bars here.
Their own website is here.
Have you been to MoonJar before? Tried more dishes or have more opinions? More questions? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!