Let’s write two today. First a little shoutout to the love of my life Jill. She has recently been promoted at work and has signed a three year contract at her school! I am so proud of her, so why not celebrate with a little Western comfort food and cocktails in Hyehwa?
Choo Choo! All Aboard the Hype Train!: If you are a frequent visitor of the Restaurant Buzz Seoul Facebook Group, odds are strong that you have probably read one or two reviews on Mix and Malt. Although the Restaurant Buzz Group is great for finding various dining establishments around this great city, there are a few cases when restaurants get an absurd amount of hype. In the last month or so, Mix and Malt has been that restaurant. Needless to say, expectations were high when we visited and for the most part, they were met.
How to get there: Nestled away behind a Starbucks in a side alley, it took a little while to find. The easiest way to get to Mix and Malt is to take the subway to Hyehwa Station (Line 4) or the 100 BUS to Hyehwa Station. You need to find Exit 4 if you take the bus route. When you step out of Exit 4, make a left down the main alley leading into the crazy Hyehwa nightlife. You are going to walk about 250 meters until you come to another street. You will see an intersection with a Starbucks and an Olleh Store. Cross the intersection and make a left and then an immediate right at the first alley. Mix and Malt is on your left. The giant two story building behind Dos Tacos.
Atmosphere and Service: So our journey begins in our apartment. Jill just took the kids out and I decided to make the reservation. I call up and no answer. Okay, no problem its 5:30pm on a Saturday. So I was mulling other dining options in my head. About 45 minutes later, I get a call from Mix and Malt returning my call. Well done! Classy move. I asked if I could get a table for two for 8:30. They said no problem and asked for inside or outside. There was a little rain, so I decided to go inside. Great service.
When we actually arrived, I immediately regretted not choosing the outside option, as the night was perfect for it, and the atmosphere was much more lively outside. That said, inside Mix and Malt had a certain charm. If I had to describe it in one sentence; I would say it’s a mix of quirky, contemporary restaurant with a hint of hipster. Abstract art on the walls and Leprechaun 3 playing via projector on the wall confirms this description.
However, it wasn’t perfect. I found as the night got longer, the louder the music got. Maybe I’m getting old. But I had to yell at my wife across the table a few times. Also, it was a dismal 20 minute wait for a cocktail. I understand it’s Saturday night and in fairness the server did warn us it was going to be a wait, but you need to step up the staff if that is the case.
Food and Drink: Promotions deserve a celebration. Tonight we ordered a Caesar Salad, Asparagus and Long Bean Salad, Authentic Meatloaf, Sous Vide Steak, two Sangrias, and a Lime Mojito.
Caesar Salad (15,900KRW): I am going to get a few things out of the way here. Everything we ordered was insanely huge. We needed to-go bags at the end of the night. One could easily share the salads and the mains, so keep that in mind when ordering. A classic chicken Caesar salad was everything you would expect it to be; the lettuce was crisp and the dressing was tangy. The chicken was tender and the croutons were homemade, which was a nice touch.
Asparagus and Long Bean Salad (16,900KRW): Hands down one of the best salads I’ve ever eaten. Mix and Malt hit the ball out of the park and on to Lansdowne. The whole-seed mustard gave the salad a nice bite. A little heat and a little tanginess. I really enjoyed it. The asparagus was fresh and crunchy with a generous portion of grated parmesan cheese to top it off. A generous portion of boiled shrimp complimented the asparagus. I would highly recommend this salad, especially in the hot, humid summer of Seoul.
Authentic Meatloaf (17,900KRW): Now personally, nothing can beat my mom’s meatloaf, but since Jill has never had the pleasure, the current champion is Mix and Malt. The meatloaf itself was baked nicely, with a layer of ketchup on the top. The sides were decent as well. The mashed potatoes were chunky and the green beans were topped with butter, cracked pepper, and silvered almonds. A piece of middle America on a weekday night in the winter. It really hit the spot.
Sous Vide Steak (25,000KRW): For 25,000KRW this is probably the best value for a steak in Seoul. The Sous Vide Steak was tender and juicy. There were a few slivers of fat and gristle, but not enough to complain about. Red and bloody, it was a cooked perfectly for me. Like the meatloaf it came with a green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy. There was a little pile of sauteed onions which was a nice touch.
Lime Mojito (11,000KRW): So this was the lime mojito that took 20 minutes to make. It was solid, but I wouldn’t wait another 20 minutes for one more. A cool and refreshing drink on a hot night. The rum was a little lacking, I couldn’t taste it. There as plenty of mint which is a plus. I don’t get the dehydrated lime though.
Sangria (11,000KRW x 2): This review is by Jill. Fruity, light and delicious. Loved the garnishes. Enough booze to feel a buzz, but not enough to feel irresponsible and hungover the next morning. Take that as you will gentle reader.
THESE PRETZELS ARE MAKING ME THIRSTY!
Value: The whole bill came out to 108,700KRW! Thank God that promotion comes with a pay raise. I’ll be honest, this was money well spent. The only complaint I had was with the time it took to get my drink. But I can safely say, that Mix and Malt is absolutely lives up to the hype and I’m glad its relatively close to my home. Will be back to sample more comfort food goodness.
Who Should Go to Mix and Malt: Craving some comfort food from home and some cocktails in a quirky atmosphere? Check out Mix and Malt!
Who Should Avoid Mix and Malt: Get out the gold card if you are going to hit up the cocktail bar. Lots of cheap drinking options in Hyewha like the ever popular “Barket!” Get it?