Review: Tonic Curry
No, not real curry, but the fluorescent yellow Japanese-inspired stuff that looks like something from Fukushima. This was one of the first things I was given to eat when I came to work in a hagwon here and it’s fair to say that I was never a big fan. However, if you harbour similar prejudices, and associate Korean “curry” with vomit-coloured packet mixtures from Family Mart, then Tonic Curry in Gyeongnidan might change your mind.
Tonic is a tiny place on Gyeongnidan-gil, a few doors down from Don Charly’s, that basically has two dishes; chicken curry and beef curry. Both are really good, a million miles away from the bland homogeneity of the usual prepared curry mixes here. Instead of tiny chunks of meat and diced carrot, the chicken here comes in large pieces, along with a boiled egg and a hearty serving of rice.
Look, it’s curry, what do you expect it to look like? Anyway, it also comes with some nice little banchan (side dishes) that really complement the curry well.
Be warned; this curry is pretty hot. Not kick-you-in-the-balls hot, but definitely on the spicy side. If you are chili-averse, or just American (kidding! kidding!), you might want to give Tonic a miss.
There are only about six seats in Tonic, but one or two are usually free. I first came in here when Don Charly’s was full (which is every day), but the restaurant is worth a trip on its own. It is reasonably priced at just 7 – 8,000 won for a meal, and makes a great little lunch spot.
At the risk of repetition, if you really don’t like Korean-style curry, then there’s no earthly point in coming here. Even if you do, or are willing to be convinced, it’s not going to change your life; it’s a curry. But give these guys some love, because God only knows how a restaurant with six seats is a viable business model. This is one place that deserves to thrive.
- Category: Korean / Japanese
- Price: $$$$
- Must try: The curry. Because that’s it.
- Subway: Noksapyeong (녹가평) exit 2
- Directions: If you’re coming from Noksapyeong, walk up towards Namsan until you see Noxa restaurant on your right, and cross over the road (this is Gyeongnidan-gil). Walk up the street for about 5 minutes, pass the Wellbeing Mart. Tonic is on your right. If you get as far as the Wellness Gym, you’ve gone too far.