Unni Sarang Bang (운니 사랑방)

Name: Unni Sarang Bang (운니 사랑방)

Location: Unni dong (Anguk Station) (운니동 )

Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on May 28th 2016

Interior shot
The Traditional Hanok interior


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.

Location

Service:         **** 4 Stars

Style:            ***** 4 Stars

Ambience:   **** 4 Stars

Overall:         **** 4 Stars

Yongha explaingin
Detailed explanations of the menu are available

Food

Bossam 보쌈                            4.5 **** (Juicy, tender, deep flavoured)

Deodeok Duck 더덕덕            5 ***** (delicate, complex, surprising)

Guacamole & Nachos            5 ***** (perfect)

Spring leaf Jeon 봄나물 전    4 **** (earthy, green, light)

deodeok duck
The Deodeok Duck was a favorite of the evening

                                          

Makgeolli

Jahuihyang Nabi 자희향 나바                       4**** (refreshing, light, floral)

Cheonbihyang 천비향 탁주                            4**** (citrus, tart, tangy)

Samyangchoon 삼양춘                                   4*** (milky, buttery, creamy)

Hansan Sogokju 한산 소곡주                        3*** (smokey, earthy, sherry)

Sool-ah  술아                                                    3.5*** (Strong, sweet, syrupy)

Solseongju  솔성주                                          3*** (Pine, crisp, bitter)

guacamole and chips
Few can resist Guacamole!



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.

Group shot
A satisfied group of MMPK Tasters

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.

Outside sign
The Outdoor Signage



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.

Phone Number: 02-742-3633

Map: Here

Have you visited Unni Sarang Bang? Is there anything we could have mentioned? What were your likes and dislikes? Tell us your story by commenting here or on our facebook page

Registration for May 28th Meeting Open!!

Soooo…..Spring sprung and sprang it’s way out of here, as it appears we are straight into the hot months of summer.  But that doesn’t stop the tasting exploration, as this Saturday is April’s MMPK regular meeting!  Usually we would entice you with pictures of food and fridges taken from the many internet people who have checked out the location before us, but this place is so new there aren’t any yet.

Big question mark

The place we are visiting is a brand new remodeled hanok in a quiet back alley of the Insadong neighborhood, that features one of the most impressively stocked fridges of top shelf makgeolli we have seen.  And yes, full disclosure, this location has been previewed in person due to the lack of online information, and the snippet of what we saw was enough for us to commit!  What was it that sealed the deal you might ask?  Guacamole.  Yes you heard us, top shelf makgeolli paired with tortilla chips and guacamole.  Done deal.

So if you want to join us on the front lines of exploring this fresh off the press location, send and email to mmpkorea@gmail.com to sign up 🙂

Registration for April 30th Meeting Open!!

Phew, where did that month go?! It’s already the very end of April and that means our monthly tasting meeting is happening this Saturday the 30th! For this meeting we are going casual neighborhood style in the super trendy Yeonnam dong area (close to Hongdae).  This recently opened place was recommended to us from one of our regular meeting goers, with the word being the owner also studied brewing (our favourite kind of people 🙂 )

Hidden alley squid

The bar itself looks like it has some homey, rustic style foods with a fairly large selection of quaff-able brews.  It’s not a huge space, so we will be keeping numbers to a minimum at this meeting so if you would like to come, sign up swiftly!

Hidden Alley brew

As always, email mmpkorea@gmail.com to get your spot 🙂

Ipari (이파리)

Name: Ipari (이파리)

Location: Hongdae/Yeonhuidong

Reviewed by: Mamas&Papas on July 11th.

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The long bar allows for individual seating and conversation with the knowledgable  staff.

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.

Location

Service: **** 4 Stars

Style: *** 3.5 Stars

Ambience:  *** 3 Stars

Overall: *** 3.5 Stars

Recommended Food:

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

IMG_2014
The wonderfully dry Ah Hwang Ju from Mi-in Brewery.

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

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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.

Iparipeople
Happy Mamas & Papas not posing for the camera at all…

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.

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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)

Map: Here

Contact: 010-5188-7766

Have you visited Ipari? Why not tell us about your experience in the comments, or post in our Facebook community!

Booze Frog (술 개구리)

Name: Booze Frog (술 개구리)

Location: Hapjeong / Sangsu

Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on May 23rd 2015

Booze Frog Interior
The light in the late afternoon gives a nice vibe


Thoughts: Located on the trendy street of Sangsu which is lined with cafes, brunch restaurants and cool bars, Booze Frog (our own affectionate translation of the name 술 개구리) is a recent addition to the scene of makgeolli bars.  While some places offer a menu of ten or so brews, this place has a most impressive four page menu and scores of options to choose from.  The atmosphere is intimate and lively, and if you’re lucky enough to get the one table by the terrace, you can people watch the trendsters below with your makgeolli cup in hand.

Booze frog sampler
There are a number of paddle samplers to try the extensive range

 

Location

Service: *** 3 Stars

Style: **** 4 Stars

Ambiance: **** 4 Stars

Overall: **** 4 Stars

Booze Frog Selection
The house herb makgeolli (left) is a mixture of different makgeollis with peppermint herbs and edible flowers

 

Recommended Food

Bacon Cheese Jeon 베이컨치즈전 2.5 stars (spongy, lacking in bacon, soft)

Booze Frog 3 Color Jeon 술개구리 삼색전 3 stars (greasy, overloaded, spicy)

Pork Stir-Fry 돼지볶음 3.5 stars (Textured, slightly spice, soy sauce, tasty)

special jeon
The three color Jeon (pork, radish, squid)

 

Recommended Makgeolli

Neurin Maeul 느린마을                              5 ***** (balanced, pleasant, drinkable, banana)

Gotaek Sticky Rice 고택찹쌀 막걸리         4**** (plum, pear, dry sherry, boozy)

Tiger Makgeolli 호랑이 막걸리                  4**** (pear, smooth, balanced, thick)

Songmyeongsub 성명섭                           3.5 ****1/2 (dry, thin, watery, a bit acidic)

Sa Mi Inju 사미인주                                    3*** (very sweet, fragrant, thin, apple essence)

Dae Dae Po 대대포                                     3*** (sparkling, banana, astringent, fragrant)

Herb Makgeolli 허브 막걸리                      3*** (minty, toothpaste, flavorful, weird)

Geumjeongsanseong 금정산성               2.5**1/2 (tangy, dry, light)

Ha Nam 하남                                              2.5**1/2 (melon, fruity, sweet)

Cheongsul 청슬                                         2.5**1/2 (milky, nutty, bubbly)

 

Herb mak

What we liked: The atmosphere.  The interior has been designed like a Spanish villa, and it is a very popular place filled with imbibers.  The menu being so extensive, they offer samplers which come out not in small shot glasses, but tall water glasses.  If you’re not sure what you like, this is a good way to try different types without having to buy a full bottle.  It’s also a great visual to come to the table, though we found it a little difficult to pour without spilling for each person.  Mamas & Papas also liked a somewhat unusual aspect, the prawn crackers.  It may just come out as free anjou, but multiple Mamas & Papas raved about them saying ‘I would come back just for these’. 

Booze Frog terrace
The terrace table overlooks the trendy Sangsu street

 

What we disliked: The slow service.  Taking into account they are a relatively new establishment, so keeping up with its popularity might mean still working out the kinks.  We ordered makgeolli and the order was forgotten until they were reminded 15 minutes later.  However the owner was apologetic and compensated with free bottles, and his efforts definitely made up for the service lapse.  Mamas & Papas were also a little disappointed with the lack of craft makgeolli, as the only bottles listed on the menu were out of stock.  The house three color jeon was a bit spicy to go well with the makgeolli, with one Mama commenting ‘It blows out the taste buds so you can’t taste the makgeolli’.

Mamas&Papas before ordering
Some of our eager Mamas & Papas awaiting our first order

 

Recommendation: This is a good place for a casual makgeolli experience with a relaxed atmosphere and extensive selection.  If you’re in the Hapjeong/Sangsu area and want a late afternoon brew, the open terrace and windows let in some nice light and open air.  It’s also good if you want to sample a whole selection of makgeolli you perhaps have never tried before, the owner also speaks some English and can recommend you to order.

 

 

Booze Frog OutisdieDirections: From Sangsu Station come out exit #1 and walk down the hill on the main road towards Hapjeong station.  When you reach the carpark at the bottom entrance to hongdae area turn right, and at the next left you should see a CU on the corner.  Turn left here and follow the street for about 3 blocks and then you should cross a 4 way street.  The bar should be just on the right on the 2nd floor and it’s called Sool Frog (술 개구리)

Note:  It’s also accessible from Hapjeong station at about the same distance

Address: 서울 마포구 서교동 400-12

Phone Number: 02-322-1101

Map: Here

 

Have you visited Booze Frog? Is there anything we could have mentioned? What where your likes and dislikes? Tell us your story by commenting here or on our facebook page

Olsoo (얼쑤)

Name: Olsoo (얼쑤)

Location: Hongdae

Reviewed by: Mamas and Papas on January 10th 2015

Olsoo shelf
The artful interior design of Olsoo


Thoughts: Right in the middle of Hongdae: the thriving, bustling beating heart of Seoul’s nightlife, where students, tourists, party lovers, musicians and artists all collide in a seemingly endless network of streets crammed with bars, restaurants, clubs and cafes, you will find this diamond in the rough. Olsoo, with it’s attention to quality and careful selection of Korean traditional alcohol feels somewhat out of place among the cheap barbeque restaurants, soju bars, and rowdy old fashioned makgeolli bars that fill the neighboring area right next to the Hongdae subway station.

The word Olsoo (얼쑤) is the one of the calls of encouragement and emphasis commonly given by the percussionist to solo singer during Korea’s ancient Pansori musicals and translates, perhaps somewhat crudely as “Yah Hoo”. Olsoo is owned and managed by the bar’s chef, who’s passion is not only in modern reflections of Korea’s cuisine, but also in it’s wide offerings in the field of traditional liquor. His staff also share his enthusiasm for makgeolli, cheongju and well crafted soju and are more than happy to offer recommendations and suggestions on what you may like to drink.

Olsoo Interiero
Customers enjoying the atmosphere

 

Location

Service: **** 4 Stars

Style: **** 4 Stars

Ambience: **** 4 Stars

Overall: **** 4 Stars

Olsoo soju
Plenty of exciting things on offer to try

 

Recommended Food

Fried Oysters 굴전 (Succulent, Fresh, Silky, Lightly battered)

Steamed Pork 오겹살찜 (Tender, beautifully cooked, light, well presented)

DSC_2908
Also worth trying, the Yukhye! (Raw beef with pear slices)

 

Recommended Makgeolli

Saminju 사미인주 (very sweet, bee’s honey, watery, crowd pleaser)

JahuiHyang Nabi 자희향 나비 (chalky, mild, floral, aromatic,silky)

Do Mun Daejak 도문대작 (Pungent, nice finish, mild/pleasant bitterness,slightly higher alcohol content)

Olsoo bottles
One papa commented on Domun Daejak ” good amount of fizz!” ~ some nice carbonation!

 

What we liked: The Menu. A bit of a cop out to mention the menu, however it has such a delicious selection of food on offer that it wouldn’t be fair to leave it off the recommendation.  The selection of makgeolli and cheongju on offer here is also very good, with a large number of premium bottles as well as some more interesting and less common varieties of takju/table makgeolli, the selection deserves an honorable mention.  We were very happy with the direction this bar has taken in terms of its well chosen, predominantly non-aspartame bottle choices. Mamas & Papas also were quite satisfied with the quality of food, the fried oysters being a particular hit with the general comment being simply ‘Yummy!!’ (Note:  Oysters are a seasonal menu found mostly from September to December/January)

Olsoo bottles
As well as a great selection of makgeolli, Olsoo also offers a number of top quality sojus.

 

What we disliked: The Price. Well, in hongdae, you would be forgiven for thinking that most places in this area offer cheap and cheerful drinks, with the target demographic being students and party goers. However if that is what you are looking for then this place is perhaps not for you. Although nothing on the menu is unreasonable, it is certainly more expensive than other makgeolli bars that are in the vicinity of Olsoo. You are certainly paying for the quality of the produce and drinks you are receiving here though, and we are more than happy to recommend it.

Recommendation: A great place for a nice meal and a chat with a few friends who either are makgeolli lovers, or who want to get into the world of premium makgeolli. If you have the budget, you will be able to sample and compare most of the higher end makgeolli that is available in Seoul; paired with some very tasty dishes as well. It can sometimes get a little rowdy, as it does appear that the also sell common soju as well which is still popular with the local clientele and the company dinner customers as well. However, the atmosphere is fun and it is certainly a good place to start you night in the most happening place in the city.


Olsoo outside

Directions: Come out exit 8 of Hongdae Station and walk straight.  You will reach a roundabout, and Olsoo is on the opposite side of the street, on the second floor.  Look for a staircase and a white sign with black writing that says 얼쑤.

Address: 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 331-18

Phone Number: 02-333-8897

Map: Here

 

Have you visited Olsoo? Is there anything we could have mentioned? What where your likes and dislikes? Tell us your story by commenting here or on our facebook page

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!

Wolhyang – Itaewon (월향 3호점)

Name: Wolhyang (월향)

Location: Itaewon

Reviewed by: Mama Julia

Thoughts: Wolhyang is one of the largest and most reputable chains for makgeolli.  They carry an extensive range of makgeolli from all over the peninsula, as well as their own brewed makgeolli. The Itaewon location is the last of three, the others being in Seogyo dong and Hongdae (Scroll to the bottom for links to reviews of other locations). The Itaewon location carries a similar feel to the Seogyo-dong location, though it is even more hidden in the back alleys of Itaewon.  In addition to carrying an extensive makgeolli range, it is also open from midday for those who are looking for a makgeolli lunchtime option.

Wolhyang Itaewon Inside

Photo Source

LOCATION

Service: ****

Style: **

Ambience: ***

OVERALL: ***

Food

Stuffed Peppers (고추튀김): ****

Recommended Makgeolli

Wolhyang Level 1 (월향 1단계): *** (sweet, medium bodied, clean, light)

Wolhyang Wonju 15% (월향 원주)) **** (strong, thick, dusty, alcoholic)

 

Wolhyang Itaewon Stuffed Peppers

 

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The Itaewon location of Wolhyang is the most recent of the three bars, the first being Hongdae followed by Seogyo dong.  This bar is situated far from the busy end of Itaewon and down a winding alley, ensuring that you feel far enough from the Itaewon hype.  Inside is the signature sparse Wolhyang decor with open tables and big windows, though it is a little darker than the Seogyo dong location.  It is consistent with the other locations in terms of menu and food, and you can always guarantee you will eat and drink well.

What We liked : The Service. Wolhyang Itaewon Jar  All three Wolhyang locations offer just about the same food and makgeolli, but the staff at the Itaewon location are just that little bit more attentive and personable.  If you come here more than once, the staff will be sure to remember you and recommend new things to try.  We also love their daytime drinking policies, as this location in particular is popular for some afternoon makgeolli specials.

What we didn’t like: The price. As with the other Wolhyang reviews, we still struggle with the high prices.  Even though Wolhyang has some excellent makgeolli from a range of reasonable to expensive prices, it’s the food costs that will hurt the wallet.  If you are frequently ordering to replenish the food, the final bill can definitely get out of hand.

Recommendation: Wolhyang Itaewon is a great place for an afternoon hangout with friends.  The distance from the main drag of Itaewon means it is quieter and more comfortable for a longer visit without, getting too over crowded.

Wolhyang Itaewon OutsideHow to get there: Come out of Hangangjin Station (Line 6) exit 3 and walk straight.  Take your third left and walk all the way down the hill until you see a bar on the corner called Moonshine (this is the wine bar connected to Wolhyang), the front entrance to Wolhyang will be just around the corner.

Address:서울 용산구 한남동 682-13  Ph: 02 794 9202

Map:  Here

Read our reviews of the other locations:

Wolhyang – Hongdae

Wolhyang – Seogyo-dong

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

Wolhyang – Seogyo dong (월향 2호점) CLOSED DOWN

NOTE:  This location is now CLOSED as at December 2015

Name: Wolhyang (월향)

Location: Seogyo-dong

Reviewed by: Mama Julia &  Papa Dan

Thoughts: Wolhyang is one of the largest and most reputable chains for makgeolli.  They carry an extensive range of makgeolli from all over the peninsula, as well as their own brewed makgeolli. The Seogyo dong location is the second of three, the others being in Hongdae and Itaewon (Scroll to the bottom for links to reviews of other locations). The Seogyo-dong location is in a large white house with two floors and a balcony, and the sparse decor makes it feel light and roomy.   It is probably the brightest and most upbeat of the three, and it lends itself to some cheerful dining and makgeolli tasting.

Wolhyang Seogyo inside

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LOCATION

Service: ***

Style: **

Ambience: ***

OVERALL: ***

Food

Modum Jeon (모듬전): ***

Fried Eggplant (가지 튀김): ****

Recommended Makgeolli

Wolhyang Level 1 (월향 1단계): *** (sweet, medium bodied, clean, light)

Wolhyang Wonju 15% (월향 원주)) **** (strong, thick, dusty, alcoholic)

Wolhyang Seogyo Eggplant

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The Seogyo-dong location of Wolhyang has a very different atmosphere to the Hongdae location.  As it is nestled in the backpacker side-streets of the neighborhood across from Hongdae, it has a slower and more relaxed feel.  However, as with all Wolhyang bars, you can expect the same standard of menu and makgeolli on offer.  It has large rooms for bigger groups which are not so easily accommodated  in Hongdae, and there is no rush to leave to make room for other customers.

What We liked : The Selection. Wolhyang Seogyo Jars
The biggest draw for Wolhyang is the sheer selection and choice on the menu.
You can choose from the usual suspects which are common in many bars, or you can sample from a range of premium makgeolli, cheongju, and their very own wonju.   The food is also of very good quality, though the serving portions can leave a hungry group wanting more.

What we didn’t like: The price. Even though Wolhyang has some excellent makgeolli from a range of reasonable to expensive prices, it’s the food costs that will hurt the wallet.  If you are frequently ordering to replenish the food, the final bill can definitely get out of hand.  The decor is also quite sparse, so it can feel like it is lacking in a bit of character.

Recommendation: Wolhyang Seogyo-dong is a great place for groups who are looking for a quality makgeolli and dining experience.  If you have people visiting or would like to experience a wide range of traditional Korean liquors in a bright, open atmosphere, this is the place.


Wolhyang Seogyo outside

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How to get there: Come out of Hongdae Station (Line 2) exit 1 and walk straight for two blocks.  Turn at your second right and then right again.  Take your first left and you will see a big white building which will be Wolhyang Seogyo-dong.

Address:서울 마포구 서교동 352-23  (02 336 9202)

Map:  Here

Read our reviews of the other locations:

Wolhyang – Hongdae

Wolhyang – Itaewon

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

Damotori ‘H’ – (다모토리 ‘ㅎ’) (Haebangcheon)

Name:  Damotori H (다모토리 ‘ㅎ’)

Location:  Haebangcheon

Reviewed by:  Mama Julia

Thoughts:  Damotori is the staple makgeolli bar for the Haebangcheon and surrounding neighborhood.  It has a cozy and dark atmosphere, regularly filled with a mix of customers who both know their favorite and those that are looking to find a favorite.

damotori bottles

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Food:  

Haemul Pajeon (해물 파전):  *** 1/2

Dubu Kimchi (두부 김치):  ***

 

Recommended Makgeolli:

Geumjeong Sanseong (금정 산성):  (tart, sour, unique)

Songmyeong Sub (성명섭):   (dry, sour, chalky)   *no aspartame

Neurin Maeul (느린 마을):  (thick, sweet, balanced)  *no aspartame

 

What We Liked:  The food.  We have visited Damotori on a variety of occasions, and have ordered different dishes each time.  The food rarely disappoints and is a solid accompaniment to the makgeolli.  We also enjoyed being able to discuss makgeolli with the manager, so if you have any questions or need advice, he is an approachable person.

Damotori food

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What We Didn’t Like:  The Premium is hidden.  Like most makgeolli bars that have extensive menus, Damotori does carry some premium makgeolli.  However this is not advertised in the main menu.   The menu itself has great information, including maps and tidbits of information about where it comes from, but if you are hankering for a bit of Jahuihyang, make sure you ask if he has some behind the counter.

damotori inside

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Recommendation:  If you find yourself in the Haebangcheon neighbourhood and want makgeolli, this is the best place you can go to get it.  It is a good place for some casual conversation or small groups of friends that want some decent Korean food and drinks.

 

damotori outsideHow to Get There:  Come out of the Noksapyeong Station Haebangcheon Exit and walk down the hill parallel to the US Army base.  Once you reach the kimchi pots, turn left and walk up the hill towards Haebangcheon.  You will see a street veer off on your left and on the corner is Bonny’s Pizza, Damotori is just next door.

Address:  서울 용산구 신흥로 31

Ph:  010 8950 8362

 

Map: Here

 

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