Name: Ipari (이파리)
Reviewed by: Mamas&Papas on July 11th.
Thoughts: Ipari is tucked away neatly up on the second floor of a rather unassuming building by the main road that runs through the up and coming Yeonnam neighbourhood about 15 mins walk from Hongdae station. Upon entering the establishment one of the first things you will notice is the modern square bar in the middle of the main room, which itself is outlined in clean yet traditional wooden decor; adorned with ornate soju bottles.
The bar is usually spotted with couples and individuals enjoying Makgeolli and Soju, while in the back there is more typical restaurant seating and private rooms for groups to have more secluded dinner meetings. The layout of the bar allows one to come alone and enjoy a drink of Korean liquor and not feel awkward by taking up a whole table. Something is quite hard to come by in Korean bars and restaurants, where most meals and drinks are consumed by groups.
The food and drinks menus here are very good, with a wide variety of well made, tasty Korean dishes and plenty of good makgeolli to pair with them.
Service: **** 4 Stars
Style: *** 3.5 Stars
Ambience: *** 3 Stars
Overall: *** 3.5 Stars
Fish Jeon: (soft, light, juicy, delicious)**** 4 stars
Bulgogi Pork: (tender, well seasoned, mild spice, rich) **** 4 stars
Rice Porridge (side dish): (savoury, thick, hearty) **** 4 stars
Marinated eggs (side dish):(morish, smokey, delicious)**** 4stars
Recommended Korean Liquor:
Geumjeong San Makgeolli:(Sweet & Sour, tangy, nuruky,thick) *** 3 stars
Neurinmaul:(Smooth, Sweet, Light, Clean) *** 3.5stars
Songmyungseop: (Hardcore, Yoghurty , sour, dry) *** 3.5 stars
Sam Yang Choon: (Light, strong, tart, dry) **** 4 stars
Ah Hwang Ju: (Very dry, yeasty, strong, bold) **** 4 stars
What we liked: The Service. The staff at Ipari are incredibly friendly, polite and helpful. One of our guests stated: “The service was fantastic. Respectful to all regardless of language ability”. They have a solid knowledge of their food and a passion for the makgeolli they serve. They are happy to make recommendations based on palate or food pairings.
What we disliked: The Price. The food menu is a little higher than you would find in your average bar, however you do get what you pay for. Ipari is “stylish in a cool yet unpretentious way” and the quality of the Korean dishes that they serve is undoubtedly very good. It is a rare place in which you find side dishes that are as good as main courses, and our guests were extremely satisfied with the marinated eggs and the rice porridge that was served as an entree. The portions are not very large however and if you are hungry you may want to order several dishes.
Recommendation: Come here with a larger group or on your own, take a table or a seat at the bar and ask the knowledgeable staff for their recommendation. They have plenty of standard makgeolli and a growing number of premium bottles too. They also stock quality sojus like the aged Ilpoom from HiteJinro, among various others.
How to get there: This place is a good 15 minute walk from Hongdae station through to a somewhat suburban part of the neighborhood. Come out of Hongdae Station exit 3 and walk straight. When you come to the main intersection, turn right and follow the road as it curves up into the suburban part of Yeonnam-dong. You will pass numerous Chinese restaurants along this road, and you will come to a big intersection, but keep walking straight through it. When you come to the overhead bridges, keep walking and just after you pass the second bridge, the bar is on your right. There is a Hyundai Motor dealers directly across the road. The bar has very little signage, and is on the second floor.
Address: Seoul, Seodaemun-gu, Yeonhuidong 193-16 2nd floor (서울특별시 서대문구 연희동 193-16 2층)
Have you visited Ipari? Why not tell us about your experience in the comments, or post in our Facebook community!