Taking up the funky space once occupied by the late lamented Hassdog is a new-ish venture called Head Lock Sandwich (헤드락), which has been operating for a couple of months now. The concept is simple: prawn sandwiches (or shrimp, if you prefer).
[UPDATE, JULY 2017: This location has now closed, unfortunately.]
There are four or five varieties on offer at present; the original prawn mayo, a wasabi mayo variation, cheese, a beef chili shrimp sandwich and one with pepperoni (which I was advised ‘isn’t as good’). If you’re not a fan of prawn sandwiches, well, you might want to go elsewhere. Roy Keane wouldn’t like this place, but I do.
Each one is 4,000 won which is pretty reasonable, but be advised that the sandwiches are small – one might just about be enough for a Gangnam girl but any normal person will want to order a couple at least.
The plain old prawn mayo sandwich was first up. Good sandwich. I’d personally prefer a thicker, creamier mayo, but what you get is a sandwich stuffed with plentiful juicy shrimp, with lettuce and tomato, served in a hot dog bun which is just the right side of sweet without being cloyingly so. In fact, I loved the buns. (Always a sucker for sweet buns.) A squirt of lemon juice lifts the whole and makes it a satisfying, though obviously not satiating, sandwich.
I was told the wasabi mayo (above and below) is the best seller, so that was naturally worth a try. Honestly, this was the least memorable of the three sandwiches I’ve had here. The wasabi taste was very understated – probably not a bad thing – but the whole effect was not very much different from the other one. I polished it off in record time, of course, but I wouldn’t call it anything special.
Had I just stuck at these two, I’d have come away thinking Head Lock was something different in the neighbourhood but not necessarily a keeper. However, it’s the third sandwich that puts this place firmly into my lunchtime rotation – the beef chili shrimp.
Every bit as good as it looks – the chili is spicy, the bun sweet and soft, the prawns sweet and juicy – the whole thing balanced just right. Definitely my favourite thing on the menu and the one I’ll keep coming back for.
Head Lock has a tiny amount of seating, good for about three or four people. They share the space with a butcher (really), so if you don’t like watching sides of beef being carved while you eat, you might prefer to consume your food at the counter or get the sandwiches to go. A good place to grab some lunch, or a quick bite between bars, I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with the concept in the future.
- Category: Sandwich
- Price: $$$$
- Must try: Chili shrimp (4,000 won)
- Subway: Noksapyeong Station (녹사평역) exit 2
- Directions: Head Lock is on the Gyeongnidan main street. Walk up past the row of bars and restaurants – Bao, Tucan, Monster Cupcake – and Head Lock is just after the big Cafe Pascucci, on the left.
- Hours: Unknown, so I’m going to guess at Tuesday – Sunday lunch and dinner time – but please don’t count on me for that!