This is a new thing for me, since I'm no restaurant reviewer, but it's not every day that a friend opens a restaurant, and then one that is actually really good.
I'm talking about the new restaurant Mignon, which specializes in fare from Southern France and Belgium. The chef is a Belgian man of Korean descent who decided to open a restaurant in Korea with a couple Korean partners, one of whom is my friend. That chef's adoptive father just also happens to be a major restauranteur of 40 years back home in Belgium, and the story goes that he came all the way out to Korea to help get things standardized, set the menu and much of the decor, and a million other little things that an experienced restauranteur-turned-consultant in order to get the ship running just right and on course.
And it's a tight ship they run.
Combined with the owner's dedication to really making an atmosphere that's conducive to creating a great social as well as culinary space, not a detail's been left to chance, from the consistently tasteful, country kitschy posters on the walls to the candle holder in the the bathroom. The scene was nicely set, with just the right amount of dark to not see people by, patrons talking on the large, elevated patio, and – when I went – the chef and his attractive Belgian friend chatting away in fabulous French.
And the food? What can I say? I'm a philistine who frequents Sizzler and likes it, but I do know to discriminate between great, good, and "Oh, well. I guess I'm hungry enough." The lasagna that the chef whipped up for me with one hand behind his back was simply awesome and had me pooching out; I had actually eaten quite a bit before coming out to visit the restaurant, and frankly wasn't in the eating mood. But lasagna cooked by a Belgian chef? C'mon. And it knocked me down and out. Good stuff!
I'm also not a food photographer, so please excuse the bad camerawork – I was just taking a few test shots of the restaurant for the friend's web site, which is also coming soon.
FREE FOOD, FREE FOOD!
I offered to post something about this on the blog, an idea to which my friend took to quite kindly. In return, she offers my readers a free desert for those who come in from the blog – just say the word "Metropolitician" and you get a free dessert – your choice of dart chocolate mouse, flan, or ice sufflé! And let me tell ya, it's goood.
Their address is:
Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-ku 116-14,
Not that addresses mean anything in Korea in terms of being able to find the place. From Itaewon Exit #1, take a right up that first alley (towards Taj Majal and Gecko's Garden) and then turn left and walk down to the end of that alley (parallel to the big street where you came out of the subway stop), where Le Saint-Ex and Pattaya are. Mignon is right up that little hill to the right, behind Pattaya. For those who might know where this is, here's a picture to orient you:
You're looking down on the alleyway you want to walk up. If you look down through the gate, you can see the side of Le Saint-Ex.
Also, here's their number: 02-793-3070
Remember – "Metropolitician" means a free dessert! Bon appetît!