Avant Musee, Seoul *

This is one of my favorite restaurants in Seoul and I had wanted to keep it a little secret of mine for awhile. But with my best friend from high school visiting me in Seoul and being the awesome tour guide that I am (HAHA), I decided this was the place to take her. This was my third time visiting Avant Musee and the food was as amazing as I had remembered it! I love the diversity and freshness of its ingredients and sauces and beauty in its presentation, taste and aroma. It’s located in a small alleyway near Hangangjin station (subway line 6) leading up to Leeum Art Museum (my favorite art museum in Seoul). I hope they never go out of business!

As always, I ordered the duck breast and nutrition leek pesto and crispy quinoa (mashed potatoes, dried fig, button mushrooms, radish, rosemary, 29,000won). The meat is so tender and even though I prefer chicken/beef to other meats, I LOVE love how they cook their duck. The mashed potato sauce on the bottom, as well as the sweet figs and leek pesto sauce somehow join perfectly together. If I could take cooking classes, I would want to take it from this chef. I just love how I can always get the same quality with each visit.

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Another dish that we got to share was the Truffle Oil on Mushroom Cream Tripoline (Porcini mushrooms, button mushrooms, pecorino cheese, 21,000won). The photo does not do it justice, but the truffle oil is very rich (which I LOVE) and the pasta’s creamy-ness is on point. I also like the very thin slices of mushroom that complete the full texture.

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The dish I tried for the first time was the Beef tenderloin Eggplant Parmentier Gratin (button mushrooms, shred cheese, tomato sauce, basil pesto, thyme, garlic, 27,000won). To be honest, I was too consumed with the other two dishes but I liked this dish as well. The beef meat was tender and went very well with the mushrooms and sauce. My sister mainly had this dish and she was very happily satisfied.

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The last two times I visited, I tried their various cocktails – which are all very original in presentation and tasted delicious. But because the other ladies were not drinking cocktails this afternoon, I just decided to get a glass of red wine instead. I was quite surprised with their generous pouring (by the glass, 8,000won). It really was the cherry on top.

Maybe I am being very generous with this review, but to me the food really was that good. And I think what made the meal even better was the company that I had with me! I had not seen my best friend from high school since we graduated in 2007 in Bucharest, Romania, so it’s been 9 years?! Time really flies. After 2007, we were in different continents and moving around countries, and it had been hard to keep in touch. But thanks to Facebook, we were updated from time to time. When we met this past week, it was as if we had never left one another – which was lovely and my heart was so happy.

In a world where differences in opinion and fundamental values are taking on ugly turns, I felt comforted in being able to genuinely connect and converse with her after all these years on religion, faith, career, relationships, and controversial issues. Hailing from Seoul, Korea and Lahore, Pakistan, faithful in our own walks of faith in Christianity and Islam, we know of our differences but respect one another wholeheartedly. We were amazed at the similar experiences and struggles we had been going through in the past few years. We both ended up studying Economics, Public Policy and Development studies for our BA and MAs. We are both passionate about sustainable development, good food, traveling. We both know what it’s like to be the first of three daughters in rather conservative countries such as Korea and Pakistan. We lived in two different worlds after high school, but had somehow been living very similar parallel lives. We’ve both grown and matured and I LOVED being able to openly and respectfully talk about deep issues. Thankful, grateful for relationships like this, in a world where there are more angry debates than genuine discussions in love for one another. ❤

For more information of Avant Musee: (Address) Yongsan-gu Itaewon-ro 55ga-gil 13 Skyville [서울 용산구 이태원로55가길 13 스카이빌] Near Hangangjin Station (line 6) (Hours) Every day 11:30~22:00 (Tel) 02-790-7392

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