Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gorilla in the Kitchen

As mentioned down there we had brunch in Gorilla in the Kitchen on Saturday. It is a stylish Agpujeong establishment owned by some K-drama celeb. We went there because it was next to Dosan park, and so were we, and you can't argue with the name. There was a depressing lack of Gorilla emblazoned furniture though. It was all very minimalist as you can see in the picture.

This is a healthy eating type of restaurant, all juices and smoothies and calorie counts on the menu. The sort of thing that can put you right off your food. The prices could worry you as well with most dishes starting around 20,000w which might seem a bit steep for a salad. The Japanese tourists and the leggy, short short wearing Agpujeongites aren't too worried though and nor was I. We are like birds of a feather.

You get complimentary bread, which was nice, seedy and some of it still warm. Two types of jam came, apricot and apple with the ubiquitous olive oil and balsamic ponce-fest. Completely pointless as far as I am concerned give me salted butter and I will be happy, I do not want to suck on soggy,vinegary, oily bread. Naff.

We then got a shot of something milk coloured. It was slightly bitty but tasty and felt like it was doing me good so I one shotted it like I never do with Soju. I ordered Eggs Florentine and a seasonal juice, which was strawberry. Strawberries are everywhere here at this time of year. It tasted exactly like strawberries and so was a great success as far as I was concerned.

The eggs did everything they would need to in order to convince you that 20,000w was not a rip off. 2 big poached eggs on top of 2 slices of grilled gammon on top of 2 fat slices of tomatoes on top of a big pile of wilted spinach on top of some seedy, brown bread. This came with a salad and was doused liberally with a mustardy hollondaise sauce. It was huge and I refuse to believe it was actually healthy. I didn't think I liked gammon but this tasted of animal and the grill and so was a winner. The SO had a grilled chicken pasta which was less of a success, tasty but over-peppered.

The brunch came with complimentary desserts of some super sweet espresso banana thing which was pretty good and a brilliant frozen persimmon that was a mushy, sorbet with liberal texture givers of rice cake, pistachio and best of all fig. Superb.

It isn't the cheapest, but then it is never going to be here is it, and I have only seen the brunch menu so cannot comment in great detail but I thought it worked really well. It was modern and bright with outdoor seating and views of the park upstairs. The staff are worth mentioning as well, very friendly and our guy was switching perfectly between Korean, English and Japanese. I bet they don't pay him enough.

Now if they would only work on their Gorilla theme....


I have been lax.

Not a great deal to report on wine wise. We had the above Chateau de Tertre 2000 vintage a week or so ago. I decided to utilise the decanter but I have no idea how this affected the flavours. It was good though and if you can find decent Chateau's 2000 vintages at a reasonable price I would say snap them up. This was very Margaux. Leathery with great depth of fruit with a really distinctive spice element, cloves were prominent. It went very well with the goulash I made.

Had a trip to Apgujeong this weekend, a very pleasant spring day in Dosan park. I found a Champagne bar! Didn't venture in due to the time. I bet it is expensive though. I'll have a look soon. 2 new wine shops to report on as well. One is on the main road that runs parallel with the Galleria road. If Once in a Blue Moon is on your left keep walking down to the main road and then turn right. Was a pretty grotty shop with some pretty good wines. Cloudy Bay was only 44,000w which is stupid cheap compared to the rest of the shops and would almost be worth buying up to sell on. I didn't get any.

The second shop is part of the 'Podo Plaza', yes grape plaza. In it is housed a wine bar, closed before 6pm, a wine shop and the WSET offices. The wine shop had a little more diversity, including Chinese wines, as you might expect from a WSET affiliated store. I got a Yalumba Riesling, petrol, tropical fruit nose with a lemon peel finish, and a Yalumba Shiraz Viognier that the Wine Spectator have rated. 25,000 and 22,000w respectively. They had some S.African wines that bore my name as well. So that was nice. I can't give directions back to it yet because Agpujeong still feels like a rabbit warren to me but I will be going back and I will update.

I had brunch at Gorilla in the Kitchen which I will talk about up there ^.

Sunday, March 09, 2008



Good day yesterday. Started with news of Thatcher and dreams of Ding Dong the witch is dead, mean spirited and possibly bad taste yes but we're not keen on her here, then Utd get dumped out of the cup excellent style by Pompey then Wales win the triple crown and England lose to Scotland and then Barnsley go and flipping beat Chelsea in the cup. Chelsea!!!

So semi finals, Wembley and all that with none of the big four there. We could do it you know. Got a stinking hangover here which is to be expected I suppose. I'll need to get another bottle of Champagne if Tarn carry on like this.

Going to make a goulash for the 5th growth I bought in Hong Kong today. A very civilised way to celebrate a completely uncivilised evening.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Cotton Pickin' Pocket Picker

So, Hong Kong has decided to abolish duty on wine and beer. This could be serious news for the fine wine drinkers out there with Hong Kong and mainland China already being a substantial market for the worlds top wines. It will have little impact on me I am sure, my money doesn't stretch that far. It would be nice to see a similar move here though eh.? With a 15% import tariff a 30% liquour tax and a 10% education(!) tax before we get to VAT and the extremely greedy mark-ups the wine industry is up against it here. Yet it still shows fantastic growth. With a reduction in these costs perhaps we could see a real explosion in wine consumption in Korea. Perhaps someone would like to set up a nationwide wine distribution company with access to all the supermarkets, convenience stores, department stores etc without the sort of price protectionism that I suspect is going on now.

Had a Cono Sur Pinot Noir from Hynudai for 20,000w last week. Fruity and fragrant it wasn't too bad at all. If you like the lighter bodied reds you could do a lot worse.
Also, Sileni Semillon for 28,000w, a bit pricey yes, but a really delicious white that I will give a proper write up soon.