Name: Nu Look Plus (누룩 프러스).
Location: Myeong Dong
Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on 8th February, 2014.
Thoughts: Located in the internationally renowned, bustling commercial district of Myeongdong. This bar echos it’s surroundings with its upmarket feel, slick interior and international clientele. A bit of an anomaly among makgeolli houses it’s vibe positions itself somewhere between a wine bar and a cocktail lounge. The ambiance and location of this cleverly titled establishment (Nu Look sounds like the Korean Nuruk (누룩) the defining ingredient used in makgeolli production) is smooth, modern and atmospherically lit.
The price range is, however, predictable for a bar in the foreign tourist hub of Seoul, and seems to market itself to visiting Japanese customers. Expect to pay a significant mark-up on the few bottles of your favourites that may be in stock here. The makgeolli selection was unexpected: there was premium bottles and lower end, supermarket bottles and a surprising number pasteurized makgeollies, which may reflect what may be known to overseas makgeolli drinkers who may only have access to the exportable pasteurized varieties. The food on offer is very nice, and well presented, although don’t bank on having dinner here, as their portions are small and the price is not.
Overall: *** (3 stars)
Tofu Kimchi (with pork) 두부김치: *** 3.5 stars (Well seasoned, spicy, fishy kick, nice sauce)
Pan Fried Pork: **** 4 stars (Succulent, well marinated, perfectly grilled, moreish)
Tuna o’dourves: **** 4 Stars(bite-size, succulent, highly munch-able)
Daechu (Korean Date) Makgeolli (대추막걸리) : *** 3.5 Stars (Balanced, bittersweet, dry, subtly fruity)
Sweet Potato (고구마막걸리): ** 2.5 stars (Sweet, thin, flat on the tongue,“Halloween Candy”)
Song Myeong Seop (송명섭): **** 4 Stars (Complex, dry, affably sour, full palate)
GeumJeong San (금정산): **** 4 Stars (Nice bite, orange rind notes, pleasantly pungent)
Teok Seoneun (톡쏘는막걸리): ** 2 Stars (medium light, dry,chalky finish.)
Eol Geum ginger/ginseng makgeolli (올금): ** 2 Stars (watery, characterless, sweet)
What M&P Liked: The food. They offer a variety of tasty treats, with both Western and Korean cuisine represented. M&P didn’t stay too far into the western side of the menu, but we were satisfied with the presentation and preparation of the dishes we tried despite the cost. The menu’s variety does extent to the Makgeolli selection too, with some good premium bottles available. They also stock MoJu (모주) which is a low alcohol, sweet and spiced Makgeolli derivative similar to Mulled wine. Yum!
What M&P Disliked: The angle. It is good to see progress, with old traditions being filled with new life. Having makgeolli presented in a modern and upscale environment is certainly alluring. Yet, despite the intention there is a lack of focus with what this bar aims to do. Resulting in a variety of wines, beers and makgeolli being on sale, albeit at wine bar prices and without the staff having any detailed knowledge or passion for the products. A good spot for the casual Makgeolli drinker who would like to experiment with some familiar and unfamiliar drinks in a comfortable setting. Not so compelling for the die-hard makgeolli enthusiast.
Recommendations: Being located in Myeongdong, amid the shops, hotels,bars and restaurants of the area, it is the kind of place that will appeal to tourists and avid shoppers. If you are looking for some pre/post dinner drinks in the area, and a comfortable seat to get you off your feet, then it’s certainly a reasonable option. Also a place to go if you are just visiting Seoul on a loose budget, and aren’t looking for the traditional Makgeolli house experience.
How do I get there? Take Line 2 and get off at Euljiro 1 ga. Come out exit 5 and walk to the main street and turn right. Walk a block and take your second right. Follow this road for 3 blocks, and New Look Plus will be on the top floor of the 포커스빌딩.
Address: 서울 중구 명동1가 38-1
Phone Number: 02-772-9555