I probably spend as much time drinking as I do eating, but as this blog focuses mostly on restaurants I don’t tend to blog (or Instagram) my boozy exploits very much. (Also, I have a public image to uphold!) It would be remiss of me, though, not to comment on a great little bar that opened up in the last weeks of 2016 in the back streets of Itaewon.
Note from Andy: for some time now, I’ve been interested in the idea of chatting with chefs and owners around Seoul to see what makes them tick, what their backstory is, and where they want to go with their food in the future. A recent assignment for Groove magazine on the newly-opened Morococo Café in Haebangchon gave me the impetus to do this interview, an abridged version of which will appear in the April issue. I hope to run more such interviews in the future.
Wahid Naciri was born and brought up in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. He has two restaurants in Haebangchon – the long-established Casablanca Sandwicherie and the newly opened Morococo Café – serving a mixture of spicy sandwiches, shakshukas, tagines and the like.
Last week I took advantage of the holiday to take a few days around the southern half of Korea. It was a short trip but I managed to pack some decent food into those four days.
The area around Seongsu in the east of the city is another part of town where gentrification is seeing old-fashioned neighbourhoods slowly – or not so slowly – turn into trendy and sought-after districts. As with other locales like Gyeongnidan, Yeonnam-dong and Sangsu, cafés are often at the forefront of this social change, enticing younger people into the area and driving the “regeneration” (if you want to call it that) of previously depressed or downmarket places.
Aged just six years old, the mighty Casablanca Sandwicherie is already the granddaddy of foreign-owned food places in Haebangchon, the purveyors of the best sandwiches in Korea, and one of our little favela’s best-loved institutions. (If you haven’t been there yet, stop reading this and just go; it’ll soon become one of your favourite places in the city. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.)
I recently realized that to my genuine surprise I’d never written about one of my favourite places in the city, and certainly my favourite place to get a cocktail, the mighty Mix&Malt. Anyone who follows my Instagram knows that I spend far too much time and money there, but for those who don’t and are somehow still out of the loop, here are my top five reasons to hop a bus, subway or taxi up to Hyehwa.