[Seoul] Ilhochic 일호식

Having read about this new restaurant that serves healthy and hearty meals, I definitely had to check it out so made a reservation for dinner one evening with friends (I recommend to make a reservation beforehand especially during dinner time).

Ilhochic is located in tucked behind a main street in Hannam-dong and the nearest metro station is Hannam Station. The restaurant is on the ground floor of a four storey building and the entrance is very simplistic with just its sign on a square wood block.

We were ushered to our table which was facing the bar table so you could see the kitchen area. The atmosphere was relaxing and all the tables by the windows were already taken up by mature men and women. This is definitely not a place for the young and hip but rather for those who are into their healthy food from time to time (me!).

The menu was simple and consisted of single dishes and the Prix Fixe – the fixed price set meals which is inclusive of the side dishes. The five of us went for a set meal each and our choices included brown rice with beef and soft boiled egg, grilled mackerel with brown rice and a Korean style omelette to share.

The food was fresh and hearty and I thoroughly enjoyed every dish laid out in front of me! The price is probably a bit overpriced compared to similar restaurants but it was comfortable and cosy. Next time I would come back here and try the dinner menu and other delicacies on the menu such as the braised kimchi with pork belly and the fish cake stew. If you are looking for something healthy and hearty and tasty then give Ilhochic a try.

For those of you who don’t know, Ilhochic actually means 一好食 in Chinese. This loosely translates to Number One Tasty and the way its pronounced in Cantonese is very similar to the Korean pronunciation. Coincidence? I think not.

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[Seoul] Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

When walking past bakery shops, I always have to stop and peep inside for any pastries, buns or cakes to satisfy my sweet cravings. I passed by Mr. Holmes Bakehouse and was immediately drawn to the baby pink neon signs (especially the cute peace sign) outside the shop and OMG cruffin alert!

We opted for the chocolate brioche donut and the famous cruffin! Two of these should be enough to share between the three of us! We found the donut was a little bit sweet but the cruffin was really moreish. The pastry was crispy but flaky at the same time and the chocolate creme really complimented it well. But definitely these delights are to be had once a few months! I really recommend the cruffin which is great for sharing. I have also heard that there is now a concession in Shinsegae department store in Gangnam so there is now another place to go to if you want to avoid the crowded Garosugil.

[Seoul] Café Dior by Pierre Hermé

So as you casually stroll along the streets of Seoul, specifically in Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam, you may come across Dior’s largest boutique in the world – House of Dior. This six floor flagship store opened in June last year and after getting word of it, we decided to plan a visit to check it out. I was even more intrigued when I heard that there is a Café Dior by Pierre Hermé on the top floor and they do the best macarons in the world (it’s true, trust me).

The best part of visiting during the weekdays is that there is absolutely no one in the entire shop that you need to squeeze past or maybe that normally occurs during the weekends which is why we avoid visiting at that time. Of these six floors, the first four floors consists of Dior’s collections – bags, clothes and shoes for men and women, the fifth floor is definitely worth a tour as it is the museum where you do surprisingly learn a lot about the Lady Dior bag. We then made our way to the top floor – the café!

The colour theme was a lovely inviting pale grey with mint and cream hints around. The café itself was not huge but they also had a seating area outside but since it was cold, we chose to sit inside for our little coffee and pastry break!

The mono chronic plates and cups gave a vintage French café feel and along with our order of macarons, this was a perfect break!

The seats were simple but stylish and they gave off a very chic and understated atmosphere. I do recommend a visit if you are interested in fashion or architecture or interior design (I’m into all three) as it is quite a building and to end it on a high note, it’s currently the largest Dior store in the world. Welcome to Seoul!

[London] Afternoon Tea at Ham Yard Hotel

As I have had my fair share of afternoon teas in London, it is a wonderful way to catch up with friends especially if tea, cakes and savoury bites are involved. I have wanted to try the afternoon tea at the new Ham Yard Hotel nestled behind Piccadilly Circus since it opened and being the latest edition to the Firmdale Hotels group, I was even more intrigued to go. Having had the afternoon tea at the Charlotte Street Hotel, the Haymarket Hotel and the Covent Garden Hotel (all part of Firmdale Hotels and the latter being the better one of the three), I was curious as to what Ham Yard would offer as their menu changes weekly and it is priced very reasonably at £19.50 per person.

Their afternoon tea can be served in either the main restaurant area or the orangery. If you prefer a quieter environment, then request to be seated in the orangery area otherwise they will by default seat you in the restaurant where the bar is. I requested to be seated in the orangery area and we had a table outside in the lovely garden.

The savouries were spot on and my favourite was the salmon bites. There were 4 plain and sultana scones hiding underneath the canvas bag which were both warm and crumbly to enjoy with the clotted cream, raspberry and strawberry jams. The sizes of the scones were perfect, not too big or small to devour at once.

The selection of cakes and desserts went down nicely as neither of them were overly sweet. Overall I was very pleased with the afternoon tea at the Ham Yard Hotel, it is closely tied with the Covent Garden Hotel, the only difference being that there is more than one choice of menu for the afternoon tea at the Covent Garden Hotel. However given the location of the hotel, the stylish decor, the lovely scones and the very reasonable price tag, what more can you ask for?

 

 

[London] Fabrique Bakery

Swedish bakeries have been making their mark across London and the latest addition comes from Fabrique who has just opened their second branch in Covent Garden. They open from 7:30am on weekdays and are famous for their cinnamon buns. I happened to be around the area around 8am so decided to make my first visit as I was very eager to try their buns after having read so many good reviews about them.

As I entered the cafe, I realised I was the only person there at that time which was great! The decor is bright and cosy with a hint of a middle eastern flair with their flooring but very much a Swedish affair all around. Most of the buns and bread were laid out behind the counter and I was greeted by two friendly staff. I opted for a cinnamon bun along with a latte to start my day.

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This was the first time I had sampled a Swedish cinnamon bun and it was soft and not too sweet. The flavour was neither too strong or weak and the slight stickiness of the bun made it a joy to devour. I was amazed by how large one bun is and took my time to finish it with my latte. I do recommend a trip to Fabrique and bring along a friend so you can share the bun between the two of you as one is definitely more than enough to keep you full for the next few hours. A delightful way to start your Monday or any other day of the week.

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[London] The Princess of Shoreditch

Having brushed past this place several times while working in the City, this is actually the first time I’ve stepped in and had a meal in this lovely home feel pub called The Princess of Shoreditch. The exterior is a mix of cream and grey lined with hanging street lights outside the ground floor windows. It is in a quiet but convenient location, just a 10 minute walk from Liverpool Street Station.

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We were a party of four and I had previously made a reservation the day before so as to not avoid disappointment! The ground floor consisted of a bar and a bubble of chatter lingered over the dining area where most of the tables were full. We were seated upstairs on the first floor where it was their dining room. It was a Sunday when we met and my intention was to try their Sunday Roast. The choices were the chicken leg, the pork ribeye, the lamb shoulder and the beef sirloin steak. The three of us opted for the beef sirloin steak and one went for the lamb shoulder. As we waited patiently and excitedly for our food to come, we dived into our drinks. We ordered a bottle of the Camden Pale Ale and three bottles of Aspall Cider Isabel’s Berry. As a group of girls, I can say that we all thoroughly enjoyed our drinks! I especially liked the cider as it had a refreshing but not a very strong berry taste.

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Our food came all at the same time. The staff were all very friendly and attentive when serving us our food. When I laid eyes on my plate, I could not believe how big the Yorkshire pudding was. Everything including the roast potatoes, the carrots, the greens and the Yorkshire pudding was perfect and complimented the sirloin steak. We dug in to our food straight away. The roast potatoes were very crispy on the outside but just slightly undercooked on the inside but that did not stop me from enjoying my sirloin which was perfectly cooked to a medium. The carrots and greens were sweet and juicy and the Yorkshire pudding was a joy to break into.

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Only two of us managed to clear our plates. Since we were quite full at this point, we just ordered one dessert to share amongst the four of us. We opted for the traditional sticky toffee pudding with bourbon sauce and milk ice cream. I can say that this is one of the best sticky toffee puddings I have ever tried in my life. The sponge was soft and moist while the toffee sauce was just divine and pairing a serving with the milk ice cream was pure heaven.

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I have a few other places to try the Sunday Roast but given that this is my first visit, I can honestly say it was a very good experience. The staff are friendly and the food was good and at very reasonable prices. Also because the location is near the City, during the weekends it is quiet so if you want to spend your Sundays away from the crowd then this would be a great place to do it in.