Chang Jinwoo’s Foodie Wonderland

Gyeongnidan’s Chang Jinwoo Alley is a foodie Instagrammer’s dream with its veritable kaleidoscope of stylish bistros, cafés and bars. Here’s a sampling to perk your interest and appetite.

 

%ec%b9%bc%eb%a1%9c%ec%95%a4%eb%94%94%ec%97%90%ea%b3%a0_dsf6023 %ec%b9%bc%eb%a1%9c%ec%95%a4%eb%94%94%ec%97%90%ea%b3%a0_dsf5986

Kahlo & Diego 칼로 & 디에고

25 Hoenamu-ro 13ga-gil, Yongsan-gu
1670-0872

An homage to Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Kahlo & Diego is a two-floor café and bar. Diego is the first-floor café and on the second floor is the bar Kahlo. At the entrance, there’s a mysterious garden guests pass by on the way to the café. Vivid patterns of blue, yellow and red cover the walls of the café, and the second-floor bar features a large skylight lined with greenery. The menu features light tapas and creative cocktails designed by a top bartender, Roy Kim.

Until December, there’s a Brooklyn Brewery pop-up at the first-floor café, Diego, and the plan is to continue with such collaborative projects.

%eb%ac%b8%ec%98%a4%eb%a6%ac_dsf6109 %eb%ac%b8%ec%98%a4%eb%a6%ac_dsf6086

Munori 문오리

13 Hoenamu-ro 13ga-gil, Yongsan-gu
070-8153-5252

Munori came out of Chang Jinwoo’s craving for Jeju food here in Seoul. Chang constantly travels the country learning about regional cuisine. He said he got tired of pasta one day and wanted to open a restaurant with hearty Jeju-style dishes and Jeju soju. And that was how Munori was born.

The signature dish is the Munori, a simmering duck jeongol heaped with chives and topped with slices of octopus sukhoe (aged octopus that’s been boiled). Despite the reddish hue of the broth, the dish is not spicy and boasts deep and savory flavors. The fried rice  that follows the hotpot is quite a treat as well. And don’t forget to order a bottle of Hallasan, Jeju’s signature soju.

%eb%a7%88%ed%8b%b8%eb%8b%a4_dsf5931-hdr %eb%a7%88%ed%8b%b8%eb%8b%a4_dsf5963

Mathilda 마틸다

40 Hoenamu-ro 13ga-gil, Yongsan-gu
070-4128-0872

When Mathilda opened in 2014, ladies in the know flocked to the French-style bistro. Mathilda is lovely to behold with its gold-framed interior, all lighted up in the evening. The exotic tiles and lanterns were sourced from France and remind you of the gilded age, as do the elaborate patterned walls and ceiling.

The menu at Mathilda features French and Italian tapas and wine but there are also set courses that include soup, salad, pasta and steak. Make sure to freshen up before dinner, because no doubt there will be selfies and Instagramming at the table.

%ea%b7%b8%eb%9e%91%eb%b8%94%eb%a3%a8_dsf5882%ea%b7%b8%eb%9e%91%eb%b8%94%eb%a3%a8_dsf6042-hdr

Grand Bleu 그랑 블루

40 Hoenamu-ro 13ga-gil, Yongsan-gu
070-4531-0872

Like other Chang Jinwoo eats, Grand Bleu also features a long communal table where diners gather not only to enjoy the food but also the live music. The bistro features jazz performances, so it’s worthwhile to call ahead to see if a show is scheduled for the evening. As with all of Chang’s establishments, there’s particular care in the restaurant’s style and design. The bistro’s worn-blue facade reminds passers-by of an old warehouse on the docks. Brick walls line the cavernous interior and exposed wooden beams on the ceiling further add to the atmosphere.

The menu at Grand Bleu reflects the marine motifs with seafood appetizers, pastas and mains. Chang revamped the menu recently with fresh fish and seafood sourced from Noryangjin market. The new uni pasta is sure to become a favorite, and risotto fans should try the new Sicilian-style seafood risotto.

 

Written by Cynthia Yoo
Photographed by Dylan Goldby