Hello gentle reader, it’s been awhile since my last post. Pending fatherhood, crunch time at graduate school and working full time has left me little time for blogging. However, this Saturday, I finally got some free time to pursue some great eats and explore some sites in Seoul. After a presentation and my wife’s massage, we decided to stay in Itaewon and check out The Flying Pan Blue. I’ve heard some good reviews about the place over the years and was excited to give it a try. I wish I hadn’t.
How to get there: Take the subway to Itaewon Station (Line 6) and depart from Exit 2. Turn at the first left. It’s on your right hand side beside the HO BAR.
In The Beginning: In the beginning, God created brunch, but he forgot to pass his divine wisdom on to the chefs at The Flying Pan Blue. Well, to be fair, it wasn’t all that bad. We sat down, and by sat down, we were squished into a table next to the door and behind the sofa. Beside us was another table, only about 12 inches away. I could smell the guy’s cologne. Behind us, there was a delightful conversation going on in French. I imagined this as some type of variant of seating Tetris. Fine, my wife and I had some time to kill anyway, we were just going to wait until people left to move out.
The atmosphere was calming, and the decor had a hint of French cafe ambiance, with its wooden tables, soft music playing in the background and candle lights hanging from the ceiling. Lively conversation at the tables filled the veins of the cafe with life, but did not take away from the relaxing atmosphere.
Drinks: Jill ordered the Sicilian Blood Orange juice and I ordered the Mixed Fruit Smoothie. The juice came out in a timely manner, about 5 – 10 minutes. We weren’t disappointed. The Sicilian Blood Orange was freshly squeezed and was poured into a large glass, so we didn’t need a refill. The smoothie was also great. The mixed berries included blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. The smoothie was thick and a little creamy. For the price, the quantity was sufficient.
Tasty Pancakes: We finished our drinks and out comes the main course. I ordered the Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict and Jill ordered the Fig Tree Pancakes. The pancakes came out first. Visually, it looked stunning. The cinnamon figs were scattered on a sprinkling of white powdered sugar. The pancakes were drizzled with maple syrup, with a scoop of ricotta cheese on top. The pancakes were good, fluffy and the flavors played off each other, specifically the figs, pancake and ricotta. The ricotta tasted a bit like cream cheese, but it actually added to the flavor.
Eggs Benedict When Things Started to go South: Now, I don’t really consider myself an expert on food. I enjoy food, and I like to think my palate has grown over the course of the years. So when they brought out these fucking eggs benedict that look like something my dog would have shat out, I was left less than impressed. First, and foremost, eggs benedict is one of my favorite brunch items, and I’m familiar with what constitutes a good benedict. If you want to see a great eggs benedict, my suggestion would be to check out my review of The Honey Bowl. The hollandaise sauce is key. Fucking key to the benedict. A good hollandaise sauce should be a smooth sauce, with a nice combination of butter and eggs, with a hint of flavoring, usually pepper or a little salt. What I got was a huge fucking chunk of butter. Like, take the butter out of your fridge, cut it in half and dump it on an egg.
It was terrible. I couldn’t eat it. I picked away at my spinach which apparently had been salted and cured, and my bland lifeless potatoes with a spatter of tasteless yogurt. Terrible. Now shit gets real. I call the server over. The conversation below is what took place.
Derek: Hi, this is butter.
Server: No it’s not.
Derek: Yes, it is. Taste it.
Server: No, but that is hollandaise sauce.
Derek: Trust me it’s not. *gets out Iphone and shows him picture of hollandaise sauce*. Can you see the difference?
*Server walks away*
*Chef comes out 5 minutes later*
Chef: What’s wrong?
Derek: This isn’t hollandaise sauce, it’s butter.
Chef: No, that’s hollandaise sauce, we made it this morning.
Derek: I’m going to show you hollandaise sauce on my phone. *shows picture* Does that look the same as what is on my plate?
*Chef says nothing*
Chef: We made the hollandaise sauce this morning.
Derek: That’s not what I’m saying.
*Chef walks away*
Well… fuck you very much.
Saving Graces: The people next to me order the same thing. Their eggs benedict also had butter mountain. The woman next to Jill spoke to them in Korean, and in Korean, they were adamant that what was on the plate was indeed hollandaise sauce. Needless to say, I didn’t finish the meal. At the end, I was fuming. Jill went out to the washroom, which is apparently on the other side of the city. Speaking of which, when you need to have a map to show your patrons where the washroom is, it’s time to find some space to build one. I walked up to the counter. I tell the guy I’m not going to pay for the eggs benedict. He agreed. I explain to him how the server and chef were rude and really weren’t helpful nor did they offer to get me something else. He decided to comp the meal. For that I was grateful, but for now, I can’t really recommend this place, especially at those prices.
If you want to check out the menu, see below. But you have been warned.