Seoul Food: Guilty Pleasure

Where I come from, brunch isn’t so much a meal as it is an event. When you go to brunch, you’re not grabbing a quick bite because you woke up too late to have breakfast, but can’t quite wait for lunch. Brunch is an affair enjoyed at leisure with rich food and great company. In fact, one might say that Brunch is my favourite guilty pleasure. https://torontoseoulcialite.com/2016/08/01/seoul-food-guilty-pleasure-itaewon/

Where I come from, brunch isn’t so much a meal as it is an event.  When you go to brunch, you’re not grabbing a quick bite because you woke up too late to have breakfast, but can’t quite wait for lunch.  Brunch is an affair enjoyed at leisure with rich food and great company.  In fact, one might say that Brunch is my favourite guilty pleasure.

Over the weekend I knew there was the possibility of my friend S coming up from Busan.  I was supposed to have had a pool party at the Hamilton Hotel on the Saturday, but because of inclement weather one day in June everything got moved around and the promotions company with which I was partnering got bumped.  Since I’ll be going to Thailand on my actual birthday, S decided to jump on the KTX (bullet train) anyway with another one of our friends as a surprise.  I was shocked to see S standing around with A at Seoul Station, and couldn’t have been more thrilled!  We all went into Itaewon to meet up with a larger group.  We had planned on going to Guilty Pleasure on Saturday, but not knowing exactly who would be showing up, and not having a reservation, we ended up going on Sunday right at 12 PM Noon when they open.

Where I come from, brunch isn’t so much a meal as it is an event. When you go to brunch, you’re not grabbing a quick bite because you woke up too late to have breakfast, but can’t quite wait for lunch. Brunch is an affair enjoyed at leisure with rich food and great company. In fact, one might say that Brunch is my favourite guilty pleasure. https://torontoseoulcialite.com/2016/08/01/seoul-food-guilty-pleasure-itaewon/

We arrived right at 12 and were ushered right in.  The first thing that struck me was the decor.  This restaurant reminded me a lot of the graffiti chic that was popular in Vancouver in 2010-2011.  It’s bold, fun and a little witty (notice the 3 images of the crying woman?  They say “…It’s…All…Over!  I…ate…too much!”).  The dark colours and chandeliers struck me as being rich without trying too hard – just how I would describe the food.

Where I come from, brunch isn’t so much a meal as it is an event. When you go to brunch, you’re not grabbing a quick bite because you woke up too late to have breakfast, but can’t quite wait for lunch. Brunch is an affair enjoyed at leisure with rich food and great company. In fact, one might say that Brunch is my favourite guilty pleasure. https://torontoseoulcialite.com/2016/08/01/seoul-food-guilty-pleasure-itaewon/
The Menu at Guilty Pleasure in Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

While the menu isn’t overwhelming in size, the number of options I wanted to try made it a tough choice.  We decided to take a cue from the side plates and share a couple of items, and as it was the Sunday morning after a big Saturday night out we nixed the thought of brunch bevvies (I’m spoiled in Korea and the wine, bubbly, and cocktail menu is priced with a more global perspective [read: splurge]).  Our eyes were much bigger than our stomachs.  We wanted to order the Duck Prosciutto & Scrambled Eggs, the Mac n’ Cheese with Pulled Pork, and the Spinach dip (to share just between two of us).  We opted for the first two seeing as each dish sounded pretty heavy.  I’m glad we did!

Food at Guilty Pleasure Seoul (Itaewon)
From top left clockwise around to centre: Mac n’ Cheese w/ Pulled Pork – ₩ 12, 000 (cauliflower and cheddar base, bacon, lardons, pulled pork, and truffle oil), Side of Bacon – ₩ 4,000, “Sharing is Caring” Plate, Side of Eggs ₩2,000 Bananas Foster with vanilla ice cream (service – birthday treat!), Grandma’s Meatball ₩ 15,000 (sans hoagie or ricotta – we had someone in our group who can’t eat bread or dairy, but normally: Grandma’s special recipe pork and beef meatballs braised in San Marzano tomato sauce with homemade fresh ricotta and basil. Served in an Italian roll), Smoked Ham (service), French Fries ₩4,000, Duck Prosciutto & Scrambled Eggs ₩ 14,000 (Soft scrambled truffle eggs with house made duck prosciutto, served with toasted baguette and grana padano cheese).

The Mac n’ Cheese came out first.  The presentation of this dish is deceptive.  Served in a small cast iron pot, I cut into the middle of the melted cheese to divvy up the servings.  Slicing through the top layer was like cutting cake – I felt like there were two even pieces.  Once I went to separate the two, the ooey-gooey shells fell all over the place.  The sauce was thick, but it still had that smooth, Béchamel sauce feel.  I hate when mac n’ cheese is too runny or thick like glue.  This was neither – it was perfect.  The combination of the cheese and truffle oil was magic.  My only thoughts were that the aromatic truffle oil overpowered the bacon and lardons, and there wasn’t enough pulled pork to make an impression.  I would gladly have had a meatless version of this dish –  it was incredibly rich and flavourful!

The Duck Prosciutto & Scrambled Eggs came out second.  I have never had such light and fluffy scrambled eggs, nor have I ever had them with truffle oil.  I’m pretty particular about flavours when it comes to egg-based dishes.  I had some concerns about adding such rich ingredients to what I prefer to be a light and healthy breakfast (I usually just pop fresh ground pepper on mine).  I would go back again and again for this dish.  The grana padano packed a punch, the fragrance of the truffle oil was mesmerizing, and the texture of the scrambled eggs was unparalleled.  The duck prosciutto worked well, too, as it was melt in your mouth.  I think bacon would have overwhelmed the dish.

#Birthday #dessert!

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The Bananas Foster wasn’t on the menu as a standalone (it’s part of the bourbon French toast).  It was a small, bright dish complimented by fresh mint which cut the taste of the bourbon well.  It was a really nice flavour profile, but next time I’ll definitely be going for the brownie (likely in a to-go box for later).

The smoked ham was quickly enjoyed by my dining companions, and at the end of our meal we were presented with complimentary shooters.  Guys – you went all out.  Thank you for such a wonderful experience and for treating brunch as the event it should be!

Guilty Pleasure Restaurant Seoul
Take Exit 4 of Itaewon Subway Station. Walk straight until you’re across the street from Canucks, then hang a left. Go down to the first main street and turn left. You’ll find a sign pointing you into Guilty Pleasure.

Guilty Pleasure is located at 서울특별시 용산구 이태원로20길 2-10, Seoul, South Korea 140-863 (copy and paste this into Daum Maps for directions to Guilty Pleasure Restaurant in Itaewon, Seoul).  Their hours are:

Tue-Thu: 6:00 pm – 12:00 am

Fri: 6:00 pm – 1:00 am

Sat: 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm, 6:00 pm – 1:00 am

Sun: 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm, 6:00 pm – 12:00 am

Have you had any standout brunches in Seoul (or even in Korea)?  Have any of you been to Guilty Pleasure yet?  Let us know in the comments!

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Where I come from, brunch isn’t so much a meal as it is an event. When you go to brunch, you’re not grabbing a quick bite because you woke up too late to have breakfast, but can’t quite wait for lunch. Brunch is an affair enjoyed at leisure with rich food and great company. In fact, one might say that Brunch is my favourite guilty pleasure. https://torontoseoulcialite.com/2016/08/01/seoul-food-guilty-pleasure-itaewon/

 


36 Comments Add yours

  1. Samantha says:

    Mmmm sounds delish! I’ve been to Craftworks and Suji’s Deli and they were both divine (although pretty expensive…. 17,000₩ for smoked salmon eggs benny). Sigh… the things I do for brunch!

    1. I still haven’t made it to either of those! We will have to come here when you’re in Seoul next. The food is divine and the atmosphere is super chill.

  2. Star Lengas says:

    I’ve yet to have brunch in Seoul but I have a list of places I want to try! Now I can add Guilty Pleasures to my list because that duck prosciutto sounds like heaven! I’m not huge on dairy but your description of the mac/cheese sounds nom-ilicious! I’m definitely going to make it my mission to brunch in Seoul soon!

    1. I will go back with you any time I’m in the country! We definitely need more Margarita time, too. Saturday was such a blast!!

  3. Brunches changed my life forever since I am an expat haha, I think Canada is adopting this lifestyle slowly more since it has become quite a trend! Your brunch seemed great, I mean with Mac and cheese life is always good haha

    1. Lol I’m Canadian and I don’t at all think Canada is a slow adopter (as evidenced by my first paragraph). Where are you from that Brunch isn’t an important event, fellow Canuck?

      1. I am from montreal, one of the fastest adopting cities of Can and still believe it is a slow market. I work in marketing and have worked for 4 international markets ..sadly Canada isn’t reflecting what we thought, but again this varies for different industries we are talking about as well 🙂 !

        1. Yeah totally different markets! I was the Director of Sales and Marketing for a group of food and bev companies before coming here. Montréal and Toronto must be more different than I thought.

  4. Megan Indoe says:

    This all sounds so delicious! Although, those prices seem a big hefty! I may have to hold off on dishes like this until we are home 🙁

    1. I only thought the prices were high for the drinks – the food prices were more than reasonable especially now that I’ve tried their yummy food! Think about the quality of ingredients that went into it all…it was truly a bargain!

  5. Amandas_Wanderlust says:

    I love brunch – so much better than either breakfast or lunch in my book! And Mac N Cheese is one of my favourite things. You have made me hungry reading this.

    1. You’ll have to come enjoy brunch in Seoul!

  6. erikastravels says:

    DIdn’t realize brunch was much of a thing outside the US. I often have a hard time with brunch since I don’t like eggs, but the Mac and Cheese you got sounds perfect!

  7. thewordhermit says:

    I love brunch too! And that mac and cheese sounds divine!

  8. Zascha says:

    Well, my mistake was to read this when I was incredibly hungry. Not smart!
    It looks really good 🙂

  9. Yum! Will have to plan to go here when I’m Seoul sometime. Brunch and breakfast foods are my favoriteeee, and there’s sadly not much around Korea unless I make it myself! Happy (almost) birthday!

    1. Thanks!! Let me know when you’re here!

  10. Joanna says:

    You’ve made me hungry. I never went for a proper brunch but I would love to, especially in Korea, where the food is so amazing!

  11. aberkholtz says:

    Wowsers, between the food and the quirky atmosphere, sounds like I’ll have to check that out some time! And I’m with you on brunch and being able to eat multiple times a day lol….theres always room for more food!

  12. Lance Kerwin says:

    I’m drooling over those food photos. They all look delicious. Guilty Pleasure is definitely on my list for dining out if I get the opportunity to visit Seoul soon. Thanks for sharing this post.

  13. Andrea says:

    Definitely try The Beastro across from Hongik Uni! The eggs benedict, Southern style biscuits and gravy, and mac n cheese are all tasty! The decor and view transport you to another place so that you don’t feel like you’re in Hongdae, and if you feel like a cocktail before noon, they have won awards for their drink recipes.

    1. I’ve heard that place is amazing! I live so far from Hongdae so I will definitely have to make a special trip soon!

  14. Shirgie Scf says:

    what could be more awesome than to spend one hot summer day food tripping in Itaewon. Nothing right? Now go on with your guilty pleasure, you deserve it, and yes, your post even made me hungry. Might as well visit this place sometime soon.

    1. How poetic! You definitely should!

  15. Laura says:

    The brunch game in Korea wasn’t too strong (save for a few places which were overpriced for the quality IMO), so it’s good to see there are places like this popping up. Loved the pic of the mac ‘n cheese, but I’ll admit my favorite spot to get that was The Beastro. If you haven’t been, check it out! Best western food and drink spot in town.

    1. Everyone is all about the beastro! I’ve gotta check it out.

  16. Looks very delicious. When I get the chance I’m totally heading for that mac and cheese!

  17. Yumm, living in Seoul definitely has its tasty perks! I’d probably be so broke and many-many pounds heavier if I didn’t live in Daejeon. Happy late birthday and thank for sharing!

  18. Nicole says:

    This all looks amazing! I love going out for some brunch- my absolute favourite part of it is the bloody mary though! Hahaha actually I prefer just going out for bloody marys to going out for brunch lol. Yuuuummmm. But man, you guys are so spoiled up in Seoul! So much good food!

    1. We totally are spoiled! Busan was never this good!

  19. Jackie says:

    I love love love the unique designs! Love your photos! Haha if I ever get to Busan I just HAVE to try this place, even if it’s just to take photos haha! Thanks for sharing!

    1. It’s in Seoul, not Busan!

  20. Wendy Flor says:

    How could have I not known about Guilty Pleasures??? Your photos want me to check this out. I like Itaewon’s Flying Pan’s sinful waffles and Suji’s big servings. And Garusu-gil’s Original Pancake House. I saw one in Itaewon but I haven’t eaten there yet.

    1. I think I’m organising a meet-up there mid September!

  21. Wow! My mouth is watering from all of this food…that mac & cheese seemed incredible. I definitely miss proper breakfast food from back home, so it was interesting to read about this. I enjoyed reading!

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