Name: Helen’s Kitchen (헬렌스 키친)
Location: Samseong Dong
Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on August 16th, 2014 Thoughts: Helens kitchen is a genuine gem among the facades of glitz and money that are abound in Samseong dong. With many of Seoul high end hotels, the casino and the fantastic COEX center a stones throw away from Helen’s place you would be forgiven for missing it. However, it is absolutely worth taking the time to find! Helen’s fluent English articulates her passion for makgeolli,and her constantly changing drinks menu is indicative of a restaurant owner who lovingly curates the drinks she serves.
Location: Overall **** 4.5 Stars
Potato Jeon 감자전 ** 2.5 stars (Soft, gooey, bland)
Tofu Steak 두부스테이크 ***** 5 Stars (Succulent, Sauted Veggies, Herbs!! (in Korean food!?),Aromatic)
Squid 오징어 *** 3.5 Stars (Fresh, Clean, Juicey, vibrant) Makgeolli Mamas & Papas Highly recommend the Tofu Steak. It is unusual to have herbs included in Korean cooking, however this dish is a unique fusion of east and west and an attractive alternative to Tofu and Kimchi (두부킴치). Makgeolli: Deoksan 덕산 *** 3 Stars – Pungent aroma, balance of dry/sweet, vanilla notes
GeumJeongSan 금정산 **** 4 stars – sherbet tang, complex, thick,
Jahui Hyang 자희향 **** 4.5 stars – Floral, creamy, smooth, liqueur-like
Milyang Makgeolli 밀양막걸리 *** 3stars – (personally sourced by Helen in Milyang, Gyeongsangnamdo) tart, light, clean, balanced
We were also lucky enough to be presented with a variety of Cheongju (청주), which is the clear sweet wine drink, which remains suspended when the sediment of freshly brewed makgeolli has settled to the bottom of the vessel. Helen presented us with some experimental cheongu from 복순도가 and from 밀양막걸리 which are currently not available for sale~~ delicious!! ~~ Don’t worry we will be providing more varied information about cheongju soon!
What M&P Liked: Helen. She has a very clear and vibrant passion for her line of work: personally travelling around the country to visit breweries and villages that sell bottles which are generally unavailable in Seoul. Whether she hears about them through word of mouth, or if they are just her personal favorites is something you can chat about when you meet her ~ She will tirelessly explain each of the brews she provides, their origins and will answer any questions you care to ask her. Her Makgeolli list is always changing, and she guarantees that everything she has in stock is freshly delivered and at it’s best.
What M&P Disliked: Aspartame. As you may know we do our best to steer away from makgeollies which contain Aspartame as an artificial sweetener. However, the majority of varieties on the market in general do contain it. Helen’s selection is fantastic, however a lot of what she has are Aspartame brews. However, Helen is considering moving to a larger location in the same area and mentioned she will be stocking a lot more premium bottles in future (Most of which are Aspartame free!). We will keep in touch with Helen and will inform our jolly makgeolli loving friends when and to where she moves!
Address: 149-31 Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, 135-878