Midam (미담) CLOSED DOWN

This location is now CLOSED as at January 2016

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Name: Midam (미담)

Location: Sadang

Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on February 28th 2015

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Thoughts: Midam is an established Makgeolli brewery, that produces a decent premium makgeolli we have known about for a while now. Imagine our surprise when we found out that they have their own bar!? We couldn’t believe it had slipped under our radar, and we had absolutely no choice but to check it out. It’s very close to exit 14 of Sadang station but is a little tricky to find as it is (as a lot of the bars we review are) hidden away in an alley. The beautiful and distinctive font of the the signage is also a little bit tricky to read from afar ~ so be aware, if you’re looking for it, you may have missed it!

“Prompt service, bright and airy, the free flowing layout (with open sliding doors) made actually quite small space feel much larger”

~ A Happy Mama

IMG_0333 LOCATION                                   

Service:      * * * * *

Style:          * * * *

Ambience:  * * * *

OVERALL: **** 4 Stars

FOOD

Selected Pancakes (모든 전)                  * * *  (Light, greasy)

Bossam Pork and Octopus (보쌈숙회)  * * * *  (Fresh, Sweet, flavorful)

Fried Oysters (굴전)                                * * * * * (Fresh, Large, Light, Succulent) IMG_0318 IMG_0313 MAKGEOLLI: Song Myeong Sub(송명섭): * * * * (sour, dry, good accompaniment to savory foods)

Note:  Song Myeong Sub reflects the individual spirit of the brewer, and can be quite varied in it’s character depending on the season.   A great brew that can vary between sweet and thick, to thin and sour. As one regular makgeolli mama said at this meeting, “The taste seems to have changed from it’s usual palate… a bit watery, a bit bitter a bit dull”

Don’t let this put you off though ~ despite it’s changes, this is one of our absolute favorite, easily accessible makgeolli bottles.

Jeonju Makgeolli (전주막걸리) * * (Vanilla, saccharine, mild, light)

White Lotus: Snowy Makgeolli (하얀연꽃 막걸리) * * * (Sparkling, Sweet, Light, Medium Bodied)

Midam Takju (미담 탁주) * * * * (Earthy notes, chalky,sweet sticky rice taste)

Chapssal Saeng Ju (찹쌀생주) * * * * (Grassy, part dry, part sweet, boozy)

 Potato Cheongju (감자술) * * * (Strong potato taste, artificial cheese notes)

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A clear makgeolli? a cheongju? opinion is split.

Note: The Chapssal Saengju (pictured above) has been advertised as a clear makgeolli. However due to its lack of sediment, and it’s high alcohol percentage we suggest that it is actually a cheong-ju (a clear sake-like rice wine). Unfortunately, the terms makgeolli and/or Cheong-ju/Yak-ju are nowhere to be found on the bottle.

 

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The undeniable taste of potato… hmmmm

  What Mamas and Papas liked: The Service. The staff at Midam are lovely, helpful and very generous. We were waited on hand and foot by our waitress and the chef, who provided us with ample extra dishes at no extra charge. The makgeolli selection wasn’t terrific, however they were happy to find us some things that were not on the menu specifically, which turned out to be something rather tasty too! Seriously excellent staff. It had been a long time since we felt so welcomed during a meeting by our hosts.  Mamas & Papas also enjoyed the food, commenting “I felt like I was eating home food!”, and “I really liked this food, clean and neat!”. 

What Mamas and Papas disliked: The Selection. Most of the Makgeolli on offer here is aspartame sweetened, entry level tak-ju, again with one of the only dry options being Song Myeong Sub. There were a number of Cheongju bottles available for sale (Clear, sediment free rice wine) and they obviously provided their own Midam brand premium bottle, although there no other representatives from the top shelf makgeolli camp.  From the selection of cheongjus we tried, the least favorite was the potato liquor, with one mama not quite knowing how to put it into words commenting “strange…but interesting”.  

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To the last drop…

Recommendation: This is a good place to come and enjoy their rather tasty food alongside a fairly varied palate of drinks options. It seems to cater well to larger group sizes, and offer relatively private sections for your group to eat and drink in. The majority of their seating is floor based, especially at the large tables. If you don’t like to sit on the floor or are unable to for whatever reason, you should be alright at a seated table if your group is between 2 and 4, but more than that is not possible.

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Papa Dan’s comment:  For those customers willing to spend a larger amount of money, there are some excellent premium Soju bottles on offer. Including SeongMyungSeop’s Juk Lyeok Go (죽력고), which is a highly renowned drink in Korea, brewed by 4 generations of the master brewers family! It will set you back 120,000 at Midam.  They also serve Gam Hong Ro (감홍로) which is a strong soju infused with Asian medicinal herbs, and yields a cinnamon taste and aroma ~ this is one of MMPK’s favorites, however it is quite pricey at around 80,000 per bottle!

How to get there:  Come out of Sadang Station exit 14 and take your first left.  At the next street turn right, and then left again at the next street.  The bar should be on the corner just near then next street on your left.

Phone: 02-3474-0006

Address: 서울특별시 서초구 방배천로 10 동화빌딩

Map:  here

Have you been to Midam in Sadang? Was your experience comparable to ours? Tell us your loves and hates in the comments or post on our facebook page!

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New York Makgeolli (뉴욕막걸리)

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Name: New York Makgeolli (뉴욕막걸리)

Location: Hapjeong

Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on January 31st 1015.

 
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THOUGHTS: Just a short walk from the subway station towards a street sprawling with nice restaurants and fancy cafes, a turn into could be mistaken for an alley or car park entrance lands you at New York Makgeolli. It’s unassuming location and signage make it an easy spot to miss. It’s tented front section (in winter) shelters red tables that would not be out of place in a street food vendor’s stall (포장마차). Beyond the threshold thought there is a tightly packed, bustling restaurant with a couple of rooms and ample seating. A popular location with locals getting their makgeolli buzz either after dinner, or before hitting the town.

 LOCATION                                    FOOD

 Service:   * * * *                                   Stuffed Squid (오징어 순대) * * * * (Chewy, tender, filling, delicious)

 Style:       * * *                                     Grilled Pork (오겹살) * * *  (Tender, mild, a little sweet)

 Ambience:  * * * *                                Kimchi Jeon (김치전) * * * (Soft, tangy, average )

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OVERALL:  * * *  3 stars

MAKGEOLLI

Song Myeong Sub (송명섭) * * * * 4 stars (Nicely sour, dry, medium body, Chalky)

Shindong Makgeolli (신동 막걸리) * * * 3 stars (Aromatic, Vanilla, Sweet, Watery)

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Note: This bar actually sells two variants of Shindong: a 9% and a 12%. They also do a half and half, mixing the two together.

Gyeongju Bopju (경주법주) * * * 3 stars (Yeasty, light, carbonated, dry)

Beoldeok Ju (벌떡주) * * * 3 stars (Sweet, sharp, “Korean pumpkin candy”)

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Note: Beoldeok is a spirit and not a Makgeolli ~ You’ll recognize the bottle by the extremely phallic bottle top:)

What Mamas & Papas liked: The Service. The staff were generally very attentive, despite the place being very busy when we visited. Our night started in the tented outdoor front section, however as space cleared up inside we were promptly moved inside to more comfortable seating. The owner seems to know about makgeolli, which is always good. He explained a little about the types he had on offer, and also revealed that he is studying makgeolli brewing himself. This is the kind of passion we like to see from makgeolli bar owners, and a knowledge of brewing skills will perhaps lead to a more varied selection of brews available at the bar.  Mamas & Papas were also quite satisfied with the food, with one mama commenting ‘feels like a fusion dish’.

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What Mamas & Papas Disliked: The Selection. Despite having several makgeolli types to choose from, almost everything on the menu was sweetened with the exception of Song Myeong Sub (송명섭). This is quite a common finding in the nightlife/술집 type makgeolli bars, which don’t tend to curate a wide palate of brews.  One papa commented on the Sindong Makgeolli combo as “This is a 750ml aspartame hand grenade, and there’s no expiration date”. Also the lack of any premium brews was a little disappointing as well. This place is a popular location on the local Korean nightlife scene and as such it seems to be catering to the preference for sweet makgeolli, which has been the trend here for some time.

Serious makgeolli decisions....
Serious makgeolli decisions….
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…made in the cold…
...but totally worth it
…but totally worth it

Recommendation: This is a great place to come for some light food and some drinks before heading out into the Hapjeong/Hongdae area for your night of fun. It’s usually busy on the weekends and that can either be great or not depending on your style. This isn’t really a good place for quiet drinks and conversation, however if you are on a night out it is certainly a good place to soak up the rowdy atmosphere. The prices are reasonable and won’t break the bank, however there is nothing on the drinks menu that is above entry level table makgeolli, so the caveat is the selelection. All in all it’s an enjoyable place to start your evening.

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How to get there:  Come out of Hapjeong station exit 4 and walk straight briefly before taking the first left before the main road. After a couple of moments walkding down the hill you will see a carpark on your left, and just beyond that you will find New York Makgeolli tucked away down a little alley way.

Address: 010-3130-4532 서울 마포구 서교동 394-20

Map: Here

Have you ever visited New York Makgeolli? Share your experience with the community by posting a comment here, or leave a message on our facebook page!

Korea Bistro Makgeolli Pub (코리아식당)

Name: Korea Bistro Makgeolli Pub (코리아식당)

Reviewed by: Mama Julia & Papa Dan

Location: Yeonnamdong (연남동)

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Thoughts: Like many of the Makgeolli bars dotted around Seoul this one finds itself in an inconspicuous, treasure trove of an alleyway between donggyodong junction and Yeonsei University. If you weren’t looking for anything specific you would be forgiven for walking past the alley and missing out on a microcosm of wonderful little cafes and restaurants, including Korea Bistro. It has a fair selection of lower and mid priced Makgeolli, and seems to fit itself snugly in the alcove between Makgeolli bar and cafeteria diner with groups of revelers drinking and laughing as common as individuals having dinner and a few cups of Makgeolli to themselves.

LOCATION

Service: **** 4 stars

Style: ** 2 stars

Ambience: *** 3 stars

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FOOD

Gopchang Jeongol (pig intestine soup) 곱창전골 *** 3 stars

Fried Pork (재육복음) *** 3 Stars

MAKGEOLLI

DaeDaePo 대대포 (Sweet, Smooth, Honey, Light) *** 3.5 Stars

SongMyungSeop 송명섭 (Dry, Pungent, Complex, crisp) **** 4 Stars

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It seems as though the have potential to stock a lot of Makgeolli however at the time we visited they didn’t have too many non-aspartame selections. The staff were passionate however and it seems as though they were tasting a lot of interesting varieties with a view to add to the menu…. watch this space!

What We Liked: The Style. This is a cozy little place with low lighting and plenty of space. The staff were very friendly and willing to help and offer suggestions from the Makgeolli and food menus. This is a place that isn’t prohibitive to individuals coming in on their own to enjoy a meal for one with a nice refreshing cup of Makgeolli as an accompaniment. Many restaurants in Korea only provide menu items to be shared among groups, however this little place caters for all possibilities: with large items for groups and smaller, very reasonably priced individual meals available too. The best part: the food is actually very good, with lots of side dishes to boot! yummy!

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What We Disliked: The Selection. Unfortunately as mentioned before there are not many options for additive free or premium Makgeolli. For non aspertame it was Dae Dae Po or SongmyeongSeop. If you don’t mind aspertame then there is quite a variety of bottles available. It does seem like a newer place and as such may be still finding it’s feet regarding its drinks menu – we hope it will branch out a little more and offer some bottles from the upper end of the market makgeolli selection.

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Recommendation. Come on your own and have a couple of cheeky bottles with dinner or bring your friends and have dinner and a chat in what is a popular but not rowdy establishment. Either way you approach it – as a diner or as a bar – I am sure you will find something for your taste on the cheap and extensive food menu and you enjoy your time in this comfortable and friendly venue.

How to get there: Come out of Hongdae Station Exit 3 and double back to the main road and turn left towards dongyodong junction. Walk straight for about 6 mins and you will pass a Gimbap restaurant with a craft beer pub on the second floor. Turn left, go down the alley and it will be the first store on the left.

Address: 서울특별시 마포구 연남동 227-1

map: Here

Have you been to Korea Bistro before? Tried more dishes or have any opinions or experience to share? More questions? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think! 

Mat Gori 맛거리

Name: Mat Gori (맛거리)

Location: Hwagok

Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on 27th September

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Thoughts:  This is a spot for Makgeolli lovers and a great place to discover the variety of different beverages which belong to this fantastically diverse category of alcohol. The pun of their name sounds like Makgeolli but means Tasty Street in Korean. It is indeed a flavour filled location here as the fridges at Mat Gori are stocked full of most things from basic table makgeolli right up to some of the best premium non-aspertame bottles. They even on occasion have their home brewed magkeolli.

LOCATION

Service: **** 4 Stars

Style: *** 3 Stars

Ambience: *** 3 Stars

OVERALL: *** 3,5 Stars

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Food

Salad (Fresh, Nice dressing. “Just perfect” said one Makgeolli Mama) **** 4 Stars

Potato Based Pizza (Soft, Hash Brown Based, Little Soggy) *** 3 Stars

Recommended Makgeolli:

GeumJeong San 금정산성: (Tangy, Thick, Med/Full Body) *** 3.5 Stars

I-Sang-Hyung 이상현: (Dry Strong “Sophisticated”, Rich) ***** 4.5 Stars

Cheon Bi Hyang 천비향: (Creamy, Sweet, Floral, Boozy) **** 4 Stars

Moon Hui  문희: (Sweet, Fruity Citrus notes) *** 3.5 Stars

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What We liked : The Makgeolli.

A bit of an obvious thing to say we liked, however this place keeps a full fridge of possibilities, and you can guarantee with the selection that available that there will be something to everyone’s taste. So if you prefer something light, fleeting and sweet and your companion is more of a full bodied, spirit loving, top shelf alcohol connoisseur then you can bet you will both leave satisfied with full bellies.  The prices at Mat Gori are also very reasonable so you can sample as much as you like without breaking the bank.

What we didn’t like: The Location.

The venue itself is a nice no thrills restaurant which is in equal measures comfortable and rowdy depending on your timing. However it’s location in Hwagok is a little bit awkward to find. While it is only a few minutes walking distance from the subway it is located on a little side street which may make it a little tough to find for first timers. Although really as far as makgeolli houses go this place is a solid contributor and it is hard to pick fault with anything that they do.

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Recommendation: We would insist that you visit this place with a few of your friends, and soak up the lively atmosphere. It is a bustling, exciting place with the laughs and shouts of people having a good time over drinks. The staff their are willing to offer advice, so if you are looking to try new things or to find something that suits your taste, then feel free to ask and they will use the best of their knowledge and experience to appease your curious palate.

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How to get there: Come out of Hwagok Station (화곡) line 5 exit 7.  Walk down the street and take your first right and follow this street a little way and you will see Mat Gori (맛거리) on the right hand side.

Address: 서울특별시 강서구 화곡3동 1065

Map: Here

Have you been to Mat Gori before? Tried more dishes or have more opinions? More questions? Leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!