Seon Caffè Ristorante Coreano
Recent opening for lovers of South Korean cuisine in Crocetta area: this is Seon Caffè Ristorante Coreano, a somewhat kitsch restaurant run by Mrs. Seon Lee, originally from Busan.
Thanks to Covid-19 and the slightly warmer evenings, I take a seat in the new terrace overlooking Corso di Porta Romana. The attention of the staff towards the customer is truly commendable: the owner explains the dishes and their complicated preparation by going into details and as regards the beverage allows you to taste the different Korean alcoholic proposals on the menu (I have opted for a delicious rice wine, baek-se ju).
When choosing the courses, Ms. Seon assures me that all the basic preparations, from kimchi to sauces, including the base of soups, are absolutely handmade and that there are off-menu dishes that are absolutely worth trying. So I let her advise you: a fresh vegetarian kimbap with beetroot and turnip marinated by cooks (all strictly Korean) and an incredible jjigae (soup) with kimchi, tofu and tuna, which can take up to six hours to prepare!
The banchan are all very delicate: chickpeas seasoned with Korean cedar, tofu with black sesame sauce and gaeran mari (rolled omelette). I am also honored with two types of kimchi, both delicious: a fresh non-spicy one and a seasoned spicy one.
The dinner proceeds with mandu (Korean dumplings) stuffed with black tiger prawns, haemul pajeon (salty pancake with spring onion and seafood), the aforementioned soup with kimchi and tuna served with separately steamed rice.
The portions are right so there is the possibility to try a little of everything on the menu, which is a synthesis of the most classic preparations of the Korean peninsula. You will find yuk hae (beef tartare), kimchi with tofu, tteokbokki (rice dumplings served both spicy, and with seafood or beef), different versions of japchae (transparent sweet potato noodles), the inevitable bulgogi, numerous dishes based on pork belly or chicken, but also cod and salmon. In short, there is really something for all tastes!
Although I had eaten to satiety, I did not want to miss the desserts (also homemade): green tea hotteok with fresh fruit and ice cream aside and patbingsu. I highly recommend the latter, a real typical Korean delight made with the infamous "snow flake" machine, rice cakes and azuki jam. Mouth-watering!
The restaurant also offers cafeteria and bar service, since it is open very early in the morning, while for lunch it is possible to choose between different doshirak (the Korean "lunch box").
A greater attention to the details of the environment and the mise en place would give an extra gear to this place which is still in the running-in phase. The bill is really honest and the property very scrupulous and attentive. The food is fresh, very nice and can be felt. The degree of spiciness is up to the customer, in the sense that if you endure little extreme spiciness your dishes will be prepared according to your taste.
I recommend this restaurant for a dinner with friends, especially those who look for Korean cuisine for the first time and want to eat authentically.