Happy Sunday gentle readers! I hope your enjoying your weekend and getting some much deserved rest! Today, the old lady and I decided to head to Hyehwa and Hansang University to check out some of our favorite spots. First, we decided to grab some brunch, so we whipped out the old Lonely Planet and looked up some places in Hyehwa, or as they called “Northern Seoul”. There isn’t much to choose from, but Le Gourmet seemed to be the cure for what ailed us.
LP‘s Description: Sandwiches, bakery and deli items can be taken to go. There are brunch items including a full American breakfast, but if you want something fancier you should head upstairs to the European restaurant Pavillion.
How to get there: If you have read my review of Serious Deli, all you have to do is follow the same directions because Wood and Brick is right across the street from Serious Deli! However, if you too lazy to click that link, or have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, I’ll post the directions again.
Subway: Go to Hansung University (Line 4) and depart from Exit 6. You will see bus station about 10-15 meters in front of you. Walk to it and wait for bus 1111 or 2112. It is five stops until you reach Wood and Brick/ Serious Deli. Get off the bus and Wood and Brick will be staring at your in the face. You can’t miss it.
Bus: There are several buses you can take to get to Hansung University. We usually take the 100 which cuts through the city, but you can also take the 172 which also drives through the city. Once you get to the bus stop, cross the street to your right side of the street. You will walk for about 5 minutes and Exit 6 will be on the corner. Make a right and the other bus stop will be a few meters ahead. Wait for bus 1111 or 2112. 5 Stops. Boom! You’re there.
Atmosphere and Service: As you walked into Wood and Brick, the smells of the bakery tickle your senses. The restaurant is combined with a bakery and a store, and both add to the comforting atmosphere. It’s quite dazzling (and tempting) to the eyes, looking at the array of colors from various baked treats, meats, cheeses and carbohydrate delectables. There is also a wide selection of spices, jams and every white person’s favorite spread Nutella! The tables and chairs are simple and cozy, and the large window is great for people watching, with a focus on the lineup outside of Serious Deli.
The service is very mundane and dull. The servers didn’t crack a smile, and went about on their daily business. Now I’ve come to learn this is probably the Korean way, a country not known for its customer service, but would it kill you to crack a smile. We received our menus, and after decided what we wanted to order, we went up and ordered the food. This is another one of my qualms. There are five people standing behind a counter, and not one of them came over to check on us. Okay, fine, I get up and head to the counter. The server takes our order, and then he speaks the words I’ve come to loath in Korea, “You have to pay now.” I respond, “Why?”. He says, suddenly with a look of concern in his eye “Uhh rule.” Fine.. sigh… I grudgingly pay. Breakfast was served all at once about fifteen minutes later, including the complementary bread with oil and vinegar.
Food and Drink: I ordered the American Breakfast which included bacon, two eggs, sausage, salad and mashed potatoes. Jill ordered Banana Pancakes and we both ordered two orange juices. Bread with oil and vinegar came out as a starter.
The American Breakfast was a little smaller than what I was expecting. Naturally when I think of America, I think of big. The servings were a little small, but they were still filling. You could eat the American Breakfast and still have room for some goodies later. The bacon was cooked nicely without burn marks or a lot of grease. The sausages were a little underwhelming. There wasn’t any type of seasoning, and it was a little too bland for my liking. The eggs were cooked sunny side up and were fantastic. The egg was fresh and well cooked. No seasoning though, which is okay because I like a little pepper on my eggs for flavor. Finally, there was minuscule portion of mashed potatoes. I don’t even know what to tell you because it was so small, it was only about a bite. I guess they were fine. Meh. Finally, the salad which consisted of many lettuce with a sun-dried tomato. I took the tomato off, but there was still remnants of tomato, as the dressing was a tomato herb salad dressing. I wish they would have specified that on the menu. Overall, it was a good meal. There were some great portions (bacon, eggs) and some portions that left the palate crying (potatoes, salad, sausage).
The Banana Pancakes were satisfactory. Now, it is tough to go back to banana pancakes anywhere else after you have tasted the banana pancakes at The Honey Bowl, and Wood and Brick couldn’t match up. The pancakes light, but a little on the dry side. The maple syrup was helpful giving the pancakes a little moisture and some sweetness. One positive was that the maple syrup was real, and not that cake mix syrup you can find at Home Plus. The banana was frozen. Yeah, it was frozen. It looked like a frozen penis on top of the pancakes. Jill decided to forgo the banana penis and just eat the pancakes. Honestly, I don’t understand why Wood and Brick couldn’t use fresh bananas? They are everywhere in Korea, and to me, not having a fresh banana on BANANA PANCAKES is just lazy.
Drinks: We ordered two orange juices and much to our surprise and delight they were freshly squeezed orange juices. Once you go to orange juice that is freshly squeezed you can never go back to concentrate. It was awesome! I think if I was going to go back, I would just order a couple of orange juices and grab something from the bakery and sit out on the front terrace of the cafe.
Value: The American Breakfast was 16000KRW, the Penis .. uhh Banana Pancakes were 9000KRW, and the two orange juices were 14000KRW together. Now, there are other places to go to get brunch, including just down the street at Slow Garden. However, since I’ve not been there, I can’t really make a comparison. That said, breakfast was okay, and I would probably go back and feast on the pastries instead of ordering breakfast. This is restaurant is a prefect candidate for a revisit because I want to explore the menu more before making a final verdict.
Who Should go to Wood and Brick (Le Gourmet): If you are looking for a brunch in the Hyehwa area and have a little extra money in the pocket, this place would suffice. Also, if you are looking to chill outside while the weather is still nice over a pastry and have a nice conversation, then Wood and Brick would be a great place to go.
Who Should Avoid Wood and Brick (Le Gourmet): This is a tough place to justify if you are on a budget. The food is good, but it’s not exceptional. There are other breakfast options including multiple Paris Baguettes and Tous Le Jours that are cheaper and have some of the same items available. Also, this place is out of the way, so if you are a tourist or new to Seoul you might have a difficult time finding the place. Just a heads up.