It’s hot. Really, really hot. So hot that we lost our focus and the weeks rolled by without us realizing this Saturday is our favorite day of the month…MMPK meeting day!! So we thought long and hard about what kind of booze and food would match with this weather, and we thought now is a perfect time to hone our appreciation of the clear liquors Korea has to offer! That’s right, we are talking cheongju & soju paired with some of the best looking food we have seen in quite a while!
The next place we will explore doesn’t necessarily have the widest selection, but stocks a delicious cross section of takju, cheongju and soju. But what we are really looking forward to is how it all comes together with these good lookin’ dishes!
The location is in Hapjeong, just a hop skip and a jump from Hongdae, and is some seriously fine dining. We are always on the lookout for places that are experimenting with food pairing with top shelf Korean alcohol, and this place looks like just the ticket!
If you would like to join us, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your seat at the table 🙂
Thoughts: After taking a stroll through the traditional streets of Unni dong, one can stumble upon this recently renovated hanok that has been transformed into a home for Korean traditional alcohol. With a fridge that boasts some of the best makgeolli available on the market, and an inspired menu of delicate flavors, Unni Sarang Bang can be a quiet place to dine and enjoy.
Service: **** 4 Stars
Style: ***** 4 Stars
Ambience: **** 4 Stars
Overall: **** 4 Stars
Bossam 보쌈 4.5 **** (Juicy, tender, deep flavoured)
What we liked: The Food. We couldn’t stop raving about the food. The flavors were so delicate and complex, and despite the traditional atmosphere, the dishes were updated and modern takes on classic Korean pairings. It was a first time for any of our Mamas & Papas to have the opportunity to match makgeolli with guacamole, and it was a happy experience. We were also very pleased with the extensive selection of top-shelf brews to choose from. Two of our guests visiting from overseas exclaimed ‘Beats the pants off anything you can get in Thailand’.
Note: We have received word that the chef has since changed since our visit, so there may be some food menu changes.
What we disliked: The limited range of regular makgeolli. No denying the fridge was truly a sight to behold, however many of our Mamas & Papas expressed an interest in trying some lower alcohol content makgeolli. One Papa commented ‘This would be a sit and sip kind of place, rather than a drink with friends place.’
Recommendation: If you find yourself in the Anguk / Insadong area and would like a peaceful respite with excellent food and Korean alcohol, this is your place. The hanok location also makes it great for taking visitors to Korea to experience quality makgeolli in a beautiful setting.
Directions: Come out of Anguk Station (line 3) exit 4 and follow the main road as you pass a palace grounds on the left hand side. When you reach Deoksung Women’s University on the corner, turn left. Follow this street down until your third left, which will be a small narrow alley. The restaurant is an old Hanok on the left about halfway down the alley with the doors wide open for you to come in.
Thoughts: Tucked away in one of the small alleys of the super trendy area of Yeonnam-dong, this is a makgeolli bar with a certain kind of style. The owner is passionate about carrying a variety of makgeolli that don’t contain any artificial sweetners, and his menu has a distinct seafood theme. A cosy, no-frills interior with dark lighting makes for a great shelter from the ever-popular streets of Yeonnam.
Service: **** 4 Stars
Style: **** 3 Stars
Ambience: **** 3 Stars
Overall: **** 3.5 Stars
Kimchi Jeon 묵은 김치전 4 stars (clean, well seasoned, balanced)
What we liked: The Service. The owner of this bar is very much a makgeolli lover himself, and he takes pride in his stock of sweetener free makgeolli. Upon arrival, we were served a special sample of brew he sourced directly from the brewery, and our Mamas & Papas were all impressed right off the bat. After sharing our own thoughts on sweeteners, he gave us a tasting of a brew that he specifically asked the brewery to give him without sweeteners (see the above Cheong Yangju). The favorite food of the evening was the Deonjang Buchoo Jeon, with one Mama exclaiming ‘It’s a completely new flavor for me!’
What we disliked: The food variety. Whilst all the food we had was well received and enjoyed, some commented on the lack of options for those not wanting seafood. Most of the options on the menu are seafood based, so if you are not a fan or are looking for other meats you may be left a little peckish.
Recommendation: In a neighborhood fast becoming one of the trendiest hot-spots in Seoul, this bar offers something straight up and casual. It’s a great place for people who enjoy unsweetened makgeolli and some hearty seafood fare at good prices.
Directions: Come out of Hongik University Station exit 3 and walk straight. As you hit a small intersecting street, turn right and follow the road. Take the third alley on your right and you will see a Chinese restaurant up top, and the makgeolli bar is in the basement 서울 마포구 동교로34길 12.