Tried & Tested

Congdu

28 Feb 2011

HOUSE SPECIALITIES This fine-dining establishment is located on the first floor of the Seoul Museum of History, this 100-seater gem is one of the Korean capital’s must-visit gastronomic destinations. The subdued lighting gives the minimalist yet stylish, beige and brown interiors a cosy feel.  Flashes of colour are provided by strategically placed décor and floral table pieces. During the day, the best seats in the house are in the glass-covered terrace that overlooks the museum’s courtyard and is flooded with natural light. There are also private dining rooms for groups of up to 40 people.

THE FOOD Congdu serves fusion cuisine, putting a fresh twist on traditional Korean fare to entice modern palates. One theme that runs all the way from the salads to the desserts is the use of soy beans and soy-based sauces, in line with the restaurant’s goal of promoting healthy eating. For first timers, the set menu is the best bet. When I was there for a media dinner hosted by the Seoul Tourism Organization, the set menu was customised for the group. The salad was shared, with diners selecting their own soup and main course. I started with pine mushroom and taro ball in clear broth, and then for mains opted for the pork shoulder cooked over 48 hours, which was melt-in-your-mouth tender. The menu is changed every season – so there is an excuse to visit regularly. DRINKS There is an extensive wine list and a variety of native teas including red ginseng honey tea, roasted buckwheat tea, jaksul green tea and mugwort tea.

SERVICE Efficient and discreet. The wait staff were nonplussed by last-minute changes to the order, but still managed to serve everyone the right dish.

Gigi Onag

 

Fact File

PRICES A lunch set menu inclusive of salad, soup, main course, dessert and tea starts from KRW25,000 (US$22), while a dinner set costs from KRW45,000 (US$39.71). Drinks are priced from KRW4,000 (US$3.59) to KRW9,000 (US$7.94).

LOCATION Seoul Museum of History, 50 Saemunangil, Jongno-Gu, Seoul 110-062. For reservations, call +82 2 722 7002; www.congdu.com

OPENING HOURS Daily, 1200 to 1500 for lunch and 1800 to 2200 for dinner

 

Verdict

Fresh and innovative. A place to go to when looking for Korean cuisine with a contemporary twist.

 

 

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