I’ve been to Second Kitchen two times so far, and I must say that the food here is GOOD. We found out about this place from Dan and Barbara, and I’m very thankful because it finally got me to visit Hannam-dong, which is one of the trendy spots in Seoul.
Upon entering Second Kitchen, you’ll notice the modern ambiance and dim lighting (at least for dinner). The interior is very well designed and comprises of two stories. We were seated at the top floor both times because we were part of a large reserved group.
The first time Junhee and I came, we weren’t that hungry because we ate beforehand. We decided to try out the Deep Fried Pork Belly with Spicy Aoli (21,000 Won) and the Stir Fried Jasmine Rice with Chicken Breast (29,000 Won).
The pork belly was perfectly crisp, and blended very nice with mango, red onions, and cilantro. Junhee absolutely loved the flavors. I preferred the chicken breast with jasmine rice. The chicken is extremely moist and the rice’s flavor really savors in your mouth. While both dishes were quite tasty, I couldn’t help but come away disappointed by the size of the dishes, especially in comparison to the price. These dishes weren’t cheap, and yes they tasted amazing, but I was left unsatisfied in terms of quantity.
Now knowing that, the second time I came, I decided to get a course meal, the Not Guilty Pleasure (55,000 Won).
I decided on the Waldorf Salad with Candied Walnut, Tuna Tartare and Rice Chips, and Pan Roasted Salmon & Potato Gnocchi (the steak would add 11,000 Won to the cost).
The first thing to come out was the Amuse Bouche. My uneducated (as Junhee would say) self had no idea what that was, and now I know it means a ‘single bite sized hors d’œuvre.’ A fancier way of saying a starting appetizer I guess. The waiter told me what it was in Korean, but I couldn’t really pick out what he said. Upon tasting, it seemed like egg mixed with butter with a crusted top. No idea what it was, but it was a butter bomb. If you don’t like butter, you probably shouldn’t eat it.
Next was the Waldorf Salad. Now my first introduction to the Waldorf salad was at California Pizza Kitchen. It would always be one of my favorite appetizers to order there. The Waldorf Salad here completely trumps it. The dressing is nice and subtle, while the apple, candied walnuts and cheese came together perfectly with the lettuce.
The tuna tartare was fresh and the rice cracker balanced out the explosion of flavor from the tuna and edamame puree at the bottom. At first I thought it was avocado in the bottom, but realized afterwards what it really was. It was a new sensation and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The salmon was incredibly moist inside with the outside nice and crisp. The gnocchi texture was just chewy enough and went very well with the mushroom velutte (gravy) and thyme foam. The presentation was excellent and I really wish there was more.
The meal ended with a cup of rooibos camomile blended tea and dessert of the day. Once again I could not understand what the waiter said, but it was somewhat along the lines of soy tofu with strawberries on top with some cookie crumbles on the bottom. The dessert was very refreshing, which I appreciated because it added a nice ending to the meal. The tea was also quite nice and it helped bring it all together.
In order to summarize how I felt about the course meal, I will say that I was very pleased with every dish. That being said, I was once again not full. I’d say I was about 80-85% full. Now I know I got the cheapest course meal there, but I’m not really that big of an eater (at least in my opinion). Now if I’m not getting full of it, I imagine that the course is meant for those with the smallest of appetites. So you are forewarned!
We then celebrated Dan’s birthday with a Bar Dan cake from their favorite bakery! (I can’t remember the name of the place). The cake was amazing, with layers of chocolate, lime, and hazelnut. Overall it was a fantastic night with good friends!
용산구 한남동 263-2, Seoul