Happy Lunar New Year to you fine readers. This last week has been extremely busy with work, my parents visiting and of course, little Logan deciding he wants to party in the middle of the night. Thus, I apologize for not blogging, even though I have a couple of posts I’m really excited about. Jill, Logan and I had a three day weekend and decided to head into the heart of the city. I personally love the Gyeongbokgung/Gwanghwamun area, so we decided to check out a few places to eat. After a long look around, and consulting the Lonely Planet map, we finally found Euro Gourmet.
LP’s Description: LP recommends to go here if Gastrotong is full, and they remark about their quality deli meats, pastas and sandwiches. They also mention that they make pizza. What they don’t mention is the amazing Foie Gras.
How to get to Euro Gourmet: Take the subway to Gyeongbokgung station and depart from Exit 3. Then you will walk straight for about 250 – 300 meters. The key to finding the place is to look for the post office. The post office will be on your right. After that, you need to need to make a right and walk down an alley. You will see parking signs for Euro Gourmet and Gastrotong.
Service and Atmosphere: The atmosphere reminded me a lot of Le Gourmet aka Wood and Brick near Hansung University, in that it has a distinctly European deli atmosphere. Jars of preserves and a deli counter of fine cheeses add to the European ambience. Also, the soothing sounds of French jazz that omits from the stereo takes the diner back to Hemingway’s 1920’s Paris. Despite the weather being cold, they still had the patio open and heaters blazing, so we decided to sit out there and envision what the restaurant mightt look like when all the leaves and flowers are in bloom. Also, we didn’t want to piss off the other patrons with our sometimes noisy son.
The service was okay. You order at the counter and they will eventually bring the food out to your table. We order the foie gras baguette, a lasagna and a bottle of lemonade. We sat at our table for about 15 minutes without any food or beverages. So I decided to check on them. Turns out the server just forget we were there… that’s nice. However, he was truly apologetic and offered free candy for Logan, which was a nice gesture.
Food and Drink: We ordered a pan of lasagna, a foie gras baguette and a bottle of carbonated lemonade.
Pan of Lasagna (15,000KRW): We had to wait 30 minutes for the lasagna and normally I wouldn’t wait that long, but it was a cold winter afternoon and it was exactly what I was craving. The lasagna was a little disappointing when it arrived at the table. First, it was very greasy. Normally that doesn’t bother me, but this was actually too much grease for my stomach. Also, it was rather small. I wasn’t expecting much, now that I am used to Korean portions, but for 15000KRW I was expecting a little more than a plate of lasagna the size of my hand. That said, the lasagna was pipping hot and also very cheesy. They didn’t overdo the sauce, which is common in these parts. The side salad was nice and fresh, and the salsa dressing gave it a little zest. Overall, it was okay, but I doubt I would order the lasagna again, especially if the wait is going to be 30 minutes.
Foie Gras Baguette (35,000KRW): I nearly jumped for joy in the line when I saw this on their blackboard menu. One of my guilty pleasures is foie gras, and since it was the holidays, while the hell not splurge on the finer tastes in life. The foie gras came to the table first, and it didn’t disappoint. The foie gras’ fat is key to the dish and its flavors are the things that make heart disease oh so appealing. There was a little seasoning on the foie gras which complimented the fat from the liver. The baguette was toasted and dry. This made it a little difficult to eat. Personally, I thought the foie gras would go better with a fresh, soft baguette from the oven. That said, it was an excellent dish. No complaints.
Carbonated lemonade (6000KRW): Nothing fancy here, just a carbonated lemonade. I closed my eyes, curled up beside the portable heater, asked Jill to make wave noises and for a brief moment, envisioned that I was on the shores of southern France.
Value: The whole bill came to 62000KRW. Not bad, considering the foie gras took up half the bill. Normally, you could make this place pretty cheap and since it does have fresh ingredients it would make for a good value meal. They had pizzas there that ranged from 12000 – 19000 KRW. If you need a place to grab a bite while visiting Gyeongbokgung, and you are sick of fast food or Korean, this would be a nice spot to check out.
Who should visit Euro Gourmet: People looking for a change from Korean or fast food near Gyeongbokgung. Also, there are some really nice selections of imported cheese, meats and preserves.
Who should avoid Euro Gourmet: Euro Gourmet does not exactly the biggest portions in the world. If you are hungry, you might want to bring the gold card, because this could be a few courses.