This summer is, without a doubt, the hottest I can remember in all my years in Korea. The nights are sleepless, the cicadas are painstakingly loud and the air is immediately sweat-inducing upon contact. What better excuse to find a cool spot to eat, drink and chill while you wait for the dog days of summer to pass?
And, if you’re in Hongdae, there’s no better place to do so than The Beastro. Serving up inventive cocktails and contemporary American dishes with a twist since May 2014, The Beastro has long been on the radar of Seoul’s foodies and a personal favorite of mine. (I have literally dreamed of their Roast Beef And Brie Sandwich in the past.)
But this past month, The Beastro’s Executive Chef Matthew Chung and General Manager Catherine Chung really upped the ante with a new Summer/Autumn 2016 menu which features seasonal ingredients and flavors that are sure to satisfy just about every palate.
I recently dropped in with a friend to sample the new dishes and was, to put it simply, blown away.
Food aside, it’s hard to find a restaurant in Seoul with such great service. From the get-go, our server, Angela, went above and beyond to make our dining experience exceptional. I really grilled her about the various ingredients and drinks; not only did she know the menu like the back of her hand, but she was extremely friendly and helpful.
Based on her recommendations, my friend and I started off our dinner with a few cocktails, which is a must-do at The Beastro. Not only do the drinks here incorporate a playful mix of quality ingredients, but their bartenders really know their stuff. In fact, bar manager Taeeun Yoon recently took home first prize for his cocktail at the Jameson Bartenders’ Ball Korea.
As a fan of gin, I opted for the The Birds and the Bees (₩14,000), which is made with The Beastro’s own basil-infused gin, lemon, pineapple and honey syrup and is topped with a soft rose and elderflower foam. It was fruity and floral and everything I wanted and then some. The flower garnish was also a nice, dainty touch.
My friend went for the Del Boca Vista (₩13,000), which combined the Beastro basil gin with strawberry shrubs, Aperol, pineapple and grapefruit. Served in an inflatable flamingo, this cocktail was summer in liquid form.
After nibbling on cornbread and yuja jam which were brought out with our drinks, we moved on to the Salmon Rillettes (₩11,000), a beautiful gourmet salmon spread of lemon curd, olives and preserved lemon. Light and citrusy, it was the perfect start. I could’ve easily eaten this stuff with a spoon, but the crunchy croutons it was served with made for a nice play on texture.
The Fried Brie (₩8,000) was just as delightful. I mean, give me a wheel of Brie any day and I’m a happy camper, but deep fry it to perfection and I’m in heaven. And perfection it was! Soft and gooey on the inside, crispy on the outside without being too oily. The sweet and acidic flavors of the orange tomato jam only made it that much better.
Like cheese, I also have a special spot for pasta, and the Farro Tagliatelle with Basil Pesto (₩18,000) didn’t disappoint. Seasonal veggies, fresh Parmesan and an incredibly aromatic basil pesto topped a bed of whole wheat pasta, which I talked myself into thinking made this gluttonous feast a bit healthier.
But the dish that really caused our jaws to drop was the 24 Hour Hanger Steak for two (₩50,000). Bits of this ginormous slab of ultra-tender meat (600 grams of it!) melted in my mouth the second they left my fork. I really and truly can’t remember the last time I had steak cooked so perfectly.
And, with a wide selection of sauces (onion mustard gravy, chimichurri, béarnaise, or tomato onion salsa), it can be customized to fit your taste. The steak and sauces paired perfectly with the Herbed Mashed Potatoes (₩7,000) that were full of flavor. (Should you opt for something a bit less American sized, there’s also a 300g option for ₩27,000.)
Although we were more than full at this point, we couldn’t walk away without dessert. Obviously.
Fortunately the Whiskey Pudding (₩13,000), as rich as it was, was small enough to have just a few bites and have my sweet tooth satisfied. Smoky Laphroaig caramel was topped with a salted pretzel crumble, creating the can’t-go-wrong combination of sweet and salty.
To top off the great service and excellent meal, the atmosphere of The Beastro is really superb. Classic, elegant, intimate. There’s also a beautiful rooftop terrace which makes for a nice spot for brunch or a pre-dinner drink. Which, I have plans of returning to very, very soon to sample the rest of the new cocktail menu.
More Information: The Beastro
Address: 358-32 Seogyo-dong 2F, Mapo-gu, Seoul 121-838 (서울시 마포구 서교동 358-32 2층 121-838)
Phone: (02) 334-2500
Hours: Mon – Thurs & Sun Lunch: 11:30am–3:00pm Break time : 3:30pm–5:30pm Dinner: 5:30pm–10:00pm; Fri & Sat Lunch: 11:30am–3:00pm Break time: 3:30pm–5:30pm Dinner: 5:30pm–10:30pm
Website: Click Here (Make reservations here)
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*Disclaimer: The meal described above was provided in exchange for an honest review. All of the options stated above are my own.
Words and photos by Mimsie Ladner of Seoul Searching. Content may not be reproduced unless authorized.