soju sunrise

B’Mucho Cantina

restaurants | March 21, 2016 | By

B’Mucho Cantina in Hongdae – more specifically, Yeonnam-dong, the new hipster hangout just to the north – has been on my radar for a while, but it took me until this month to get along there. I’m now cursing the delay, because it’s a terrific spot. 

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One of the smallest restaurants in the neighbourhood, the décor and the vibe reminded me a lot of the original Don Charly, the hole-in-the-wall taco joint in Gyeongnidan that now stretches across two branches but which started life as a tiny five-seat spot up the hill towards the Hyatt. B’Mucho is larger than that, but not much. At lunchtime on a Sunday, the 16-odd seats were filled within about ten minutes of the doors opening. I can see why.

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The menu’s quite extensive, although in Spanish and Korean only – knowing your pollo from your queso will help here.

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The guacamole, always an interesting benchmark for places like this, is on point – garlicky and served up with onion, coriander and a generous portion of chips, and a cute little miniature wooden shovel that I had half a mind to steal.

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Two types of quesadillas, next. The tinga de pollo chicken quesadilla was great, piping hot, spicy and surprisingly filling.

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The cheese quesadilla (below) was off the charts good. No idea what kind of cheese they were using, but it worked for me. Cheesier than the last 20 minutes of Titanic.

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We also ordered the carne asada burrito, which came to table in two foil-wrapped halves (our request to get it cut into quarters was denied with a sarcastic, but richly deserved, “it’s not a kimbap”). This, in my estimation, was the one flat note on the menu – tasty enough, and the meat had a decent char, but somewhat lacking in flavour compared to the other things we tried, with lots of filler. By no means bad, but I probably wouldn’t order this next time.

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The star dish is the enchiladas verdes, served under a mound of onions, sour cream and coriander and swims in a sauce of verdant green. Absolutely fantastic. In my book, this is now my second favourite Mexican dish in the city (taking second place, of course, to the carnitas taco at the mighty Villa Guerrero). The chicken is just spicy enough to keep things interesting, and with a side of toast to mop up the juices, this is filling enough for even the largest man (which I pretty much am, at this point). I have no idea if it’s authentic, but I really don’t care.

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There’s a decent range of drinks, starting from the increasingly ubiquitous Jarritos soda to the usual beers and Mexican alcohol.

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All in all, B’Mucho totally deserves the buzz it’s been getting from those in the know, and I’m glad to have finally joined their ranks. Judging by the speed with which the restaurant filled up on the dot of 1pm, the word is out among the wider community, so get here early or be prepared to wait. This is one small corner of Mexico that I’d be happy to see a wall built around, if only to stop the Hongdae hordes from getting between me and my lunch next time.

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  • Category: Mexican
  • Price: $$$$
  • Must try:  Enchiladas verdes (14,000 won)
  • Subway: Hongdae Station (홍대입구역) exit 3, though
  • Directions: From the exit of Hongdae station, walk up towards the intersection (away from Hongdae) and into Yeonnam-dong. After five minutes or so you’ll come to a little lane on your left, just before an intersection – look for the GS25. Coming from outside Hongdae, it’s much quicker by bus – the 110 or 740 from Noksapyeong both drop you just across the road – just get off at the first stop after the bus turns right at Hongdae station.
  • Hours: B’Mucho is open Tuesday – Sunday for dinner from 5:30 till late. In addition, they open for lunch on Wednesday-Friday for lunch from 12:30-2:30, and on Saturday-Sunday from 1-3pm, before taking an afternoon break. See their Facebook page for more details.

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