Korea: ELBON the Table

The best advice Mother gave me that trip (and trust me there were many to choose from, oh so many) was to do your best to get lost in a country. Within reason obviously, please don’t wander into the backyard of a human traffickers hideout in South America. It’s to try and physically facilitate an immersion into a culture, to keep walking until you can’t walk anymore.

The neighbourhood of Garosu-gil was our wildcard. Just a little bit fancier than Myeong Dong and away from the bustling crowds, the air just seemed to breathe a little easier giving it a feel that we weren’t really in Seoul anymore. I say wildcard because we didn’t have much information on it yet it turned out to be one of our best destinations in Seoul.

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ELBON stands for ‘EverLasting Beauty Of your Nature’. Terrible acronym aside, it represents a high end fashion clothing store on the first floor while the restaurant ‘ELBON the table’ resides on the second. A strained conversation (due to language barriers) with the store attendant reveals another floor located either above or below meant for functions and parties. The head chef is “crazy” chef Hyun Suk Choi who had been previously featured on ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants”. He calls himself crazy because he interprets the meaning as to being something different. Incidentally, based on the article I managed to pick him out at the restaurant itself because he was wearing his signature chef uniform that he designed himself but by the time I made doubly sure of it, he was gone.

If you have me on Instagram you might’ve seen some of these already. Mother makes a beeline for the ELBON lunch set menu while I jump in headfirst for the a la carte selection.

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Basil Mojito, was a special that day. Tasted like any other mojito but it was the perfect swig of alcohol for a sleek lunch.

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Appetite killers that I can never refuse, warm fluffy bread.

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Mother’s starter, tuna sashimi with cucumber and caviar. Tuna is one of the easiest fish to tell if it’s a good and fresh piece or not. Despite my anti-cucumber tendencies I really like how light it really is, something I attribute to the tuna for being of a non-oily fish species.

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Risotto with cream sauce and deep fried shrimp. An interesting play on east meets west with the inclusion of the shrimp (basically har mai for those who know). Again I’m not usually a risotto person but Mother adored it, lapping up all the softness of the rice with the indulgent sauce.

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I guess I sneakily forgot to mention that the lunch set aside, Mother also ordered this Angelhair with pesto and caviar. Not gonna lie, best pesto I have ever had. I usually finish a pesto based pasta feeling uncomfortably explodey particularly when thick pastas are used. The balance of the stringy angelhair countered this usual sentiment, plus it wasn’t dripping with sauce so much as infused with it. My pasta camp is happy.

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One of ELBON’s signature dishes is the Rose lobster done four ways; caviar, rose foam, rose cream and rose infused jelly. The lobster itself was perfectly cooked, I would’ve popped slices in my mouth by the dozen had Mother and our wallets let me. Rose was definitely an interesting combination, a taste I am not often fond of because I feel like I’m drinking perfume but this time the juxaposition of the flavours felt more complementing than perversely opposing. Best in my opinion is the caviar while the cream had a face made at it before being pushed off the glorious crustacean flesh.

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The mains are out and this is my deceivingly large looking seafood platter. Considering shells make up so much of the volume of this platter I easily finish most (having snuck a few pieces Mother’s way) without feeling too full from the whole meal. There’s a sauce by the side but it didn’t do much for me, what with the natural flavours of the prawns, lobster, fish, abalone, scallop, and crayfish already being so delicious. What was a fantastic addition to the platter though were the grilled pieces of garlic cloves at the bottom right. Perfect when sliced thinly and eaten with your choice of Little Mermaid’s friends.

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Sometimes what you need is a big slab of part of an animal on your plate, garnished with green and red things that grow out from the ground. Mother thoroughly enjoyed her filet mignon, if not for its tender marbled-ness then

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– the army of salt soldiers at her disposal. The Korean blend mix in the middle (with something I’ve forgotten) was the most flavoursome while you definitely can’t go wrong with a bit of pink Himalayan rock salt. Unfortunately I’ve forgotten what most of the rest are but they will forever have a special place in my stomach.

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A forgettable Daily Dessert. I don’t think it was really bad but we didn’t give it much of a chance after already being so content from the courses before it. And Mother and I are largely savoury people anyway.

samanthawxlow

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