Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ploi Contemporary Cuisine (Seoul, SOUTH KOREA) ★★★★☆

With City Hall and Gwanghwamun Gate all in the books, it's time for us to turn our attention to where we would have lunch this afternoon. The consensus pick is obviously Tosokchon for all the right reasons - (1) we haven't had ginseng chicken soup on this trip yet and (2) yes, it's very close to where we are the moment we speak now. But as soon as we saw the huge lineup in front of the famed samgyetang, we knew we needed a change of plan. Luckily, I know the area pretty well and it didn't take long for me to pull one out of my magic bag.



Ploi Contemporary Cuisine is about a 5-minute walk uphill from Tosokchon. For anyone familiar with Bover Lounge at State Tower Namsan, it is more or less the same thing (especially the modern chic décor) but with a little more refined food menu. 



They have a "secret" mezzanine floor with a couple of tables available, which is just as good as a private dining room. This is very tastefully designed with a mix of modern elegance and classical design.



Almost directly connected to the mezzanine dining area is a flower room with all kinds of pot plants and tools sitting around. I was told there are actually flower classes being held here periodically.



The food menu looked promising and therefore didn't take us long to decide what we wanted for lunch. As a restaurant touted for its contemporary cuisine, of course a lot of modern European flavors was expected out of the menu especially modern Italian dishes.

Lobster cream ravioli in sea bream broth (25,000) - They have a section in the menu dedicated to ravioli so presumably it's a hot item around here. And that's how we started our meal with - lobster ravioli stuffed with herbed goat cheese and cream cheese in a sea bream broth.

The ravioli was pretty nice. They have a lot of cheese in the fillings but yet didn't feel too cheesy at all. I didn't particularly like the sea bream broth though. Not a big fan of lukewarm fish soup and I didn't see it working too well with the ravioli. 



Scallop on orange carrot purée (26,000) - The scallops were a little small and they did a decent job grilling them on both sides for a nice golden brown color. The lemongrass sauce was subtle and I like the carrot purée and cuttlefish fregola risotto in their supporting role. No wonder everyone is ordering this dish.



King crab bisque linguine (33,000) - I was drawn to this dish because of the words "king crab" and that turned out to be the most disappointing part of the dish. But other than the so-so king crab meat, the rest of the dish did hold its own starting with a fairly al dente linguine and followed by the truffle oil infused tomato sauce. Not the best linguine and tomato sauce I've ever had for sure but a decent one nevertheless.



Braised pork hock (36,000) - I was a little surprised to see this on the menu. I thought of this primarily as a traditional Korean dish so where's the contemporary twist, I wonder? So I was interested to find out myself.

For a moment, I thought this could be the best dish of the afternoon for the fact that the pork hock was really really tasty. In particular, I like the house special gravy a lot although I couldn't exactly tell what's in it other than something that tasted like mustard and/or peanut butter.

Unfortunately, there was no contemporary twist in this one other than a pretty standard mash. It was no question a delicious dish but not really all that special.



This is not a bad replacement for Tosokchon at all, considering that the samgyetang restaurant is a bit overrated to begin with. Perhaps I would pay this place a visit again for afternoon tea and even better, a flower class down the stretch.

Food Rating: 5.5/10
Price: ₩₩₩
Address: 90-4 Pirun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Closest Metro Station: Gyeongbokgung
Tel: +82 2725-2900


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