I guess my memory is pretty terrible.
My friend refreshed my memory. Four years ago, Hyehwa station was my first destination in Seoul. After arriving at the airport, we were whisked away to the National Institute for International Education (NIIED) for our EPIK training. When I was not attending classes or sleeping, I wondered around Hyehwa station, not venturing too far, jet-lagged and intimidated by the vast sprawl that is Seoul. Yes, that is why I knew those streets.
After the mystery of my afternoon had been solved, my friend took me to the Italian restaurant where he worked called The Dining Lab (더다이닝랩). This restaurant is in Hongdae, which is normally the area catering to university kids looking to drink and sing in noraebangs until the sun comes up. I, however, was in Hongdae for a reason of a more delicious variety. Let me just show you what I ate.
Pork, fatty pork, is the stuff I live for. Sous-vide (sealed airtight to sit in a water bath for an insane amount of time), well, there’s not much I can say. The fat melts on your tongue and leaves you wanting more. The bursts of freshness from the ratatouille underneath is the perfect compliment.
Ever eat a dish where you just close your eyes, unresponsive to dinner conversation?
The first sign of amazing pasta is the done-ness of the pasta. This pasta was perfectly cooked, al dente. The sauce, judging by the depth of flavors present, must have been cooked for a long time and with care. The flavors of the seafood, wine, hint of spice, and I have no idea what else (couldn’t concentrate on the explanation as I ate) makes this something you want to order again and again. I believe it is called Mare Pasta on the menu. Go to Hongdae and give it a try.
Also check out The Grey Suitcase blog entry about the Dining Lab, where you’ll find excellent photos of the interior and some dishes which I haven’t tried.