Food + Soju + Good Times
On Saturday night I checked out this new restaurant, La Ville de Pins, means “a village with pine trees” in French. It’s located behind the CGV movie theater by Apgu-jung station, an odd location for a fine dining restaurant but a beautiful building none the less.
At 7pm on a Saturday night the place was empty, there was one other table besides us. The restaurant opened in December 2011 so it’s still new, hopefully word gets out and it starts filling up.
The interior design is a little “clubby” but modern, which I like. I wasn’t a big fan of the yellow lighting but the padded benches and the cushions were ridiculously comfortable!
The above two pics are of the a la carte menu. The entire menu is in French and Korean, where’s the English? How many fluent French speakers are in Korea? Also notice the menu pricing, 0.7 means KRW 7,000 and 4.8 means KRW 48,000, I thought that was obnoxious. But overall, the menu was well designed and done with a beautiful font.
The above two pictures are of the course/tasting menu. There are three price points, KRW 60,000, KRW 80,000, and KRW 120,000.
After 20 minutes (no exaggeration) of deciphering the French and debating between ordering a la carte or the tasting menu, we decided on both! I got the tasting menu and my foodie friend order two items from the a la carte, and the restaurant was nice enough to accommodate our unusual order.
KRW 60,000 tasting menu
The little puff pastry squares to the left had a bit of cheese inside, very good.
Coquillages au chorizo a la nage. It’s a bad picture but it was a great start to the meal. Potato puree with a perfectly cooked mussel, a couple little clams, and chorizo shavings. It warms your stomach and teases your tastes buds, leaves you wanting more and expecting more.
Salade Nicoise. Notice the plating of the salad, I have never seen anything like this. I still don’t know if I like it but it is very creative. The salad dressing was good but it was too deconstructed, it did not eat like a salad.
Veloute de potimarron aux cereales, jamon iberique. What a crazy name for a dish but it’s just butternut squash soup with creme fresh, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, and some heavenly spanish jamon shavings. I’m not a big fan of squash but you know how Koreans love that stuff, a great item to have on the menu in Korea.
Aiguillettes et foie gras de canard, sauce cassis. The duck meat was perfectly cooked and very tender. The two triangles in the middle of the plate are crisped duck skin, I wish they would have left the skin on the meat so you get contrasting textures with each bite. The corn puree underneath the duck was creamy and sweet, I wanted to like the plate. The black currant sauce was also spot on.
Terrine de fromage. Slices of toasted baguette bread with a block formed from four different cheeses. I never really understood why French people eat cheese after the main course and I’m not a big fan of those “stinky” cheeses. I’m a Cheez Whiz type of guy, Philadelphia represent!
Dessert. I know they must have another name but I missed it. This little guy was absolutely delicious and so very intricate! Let me explain the layers from the bottom up; a layer of dark chocolate, vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge, chocolate mouse, and tiny chocolate meringues sprinkled on top. Each spoonful tasted different and divine, whether you dipped your spoon all the way in, half way in, etc, there was no wrong way to eat this dessert. WOW!
Petit Fours. These little guys were very good too. From the bottom up: nuggets of toasted coconut shavings, dark chocolate disks with nuts, madeleines, chocolate truffle balls.
Lastly, you get a choice of tea of coffee but I didn’t even think to take a picture of that.
For approximately $60 that was one hell of a tasting menu! Everything tasted good, if not great. Each dish would have required so much prep time for all the ingredients and different cooking techniques involved. They also went the extra mile for plating and presentation. Very impressed!
A la carte menu items
Mini burgers au foie gras. This was the superstar of the night! The bun was soft and chewy, making it easy to squish down the burger to make it more bite size. For KRW 15,000 those are two healthy pieces of foie gras. The creaminess of the foie gras takes the place of the missing cheese. The ground beef was flamed broiled, a la Burger King, not pan-fried, a la McDonald’s. It just tasted like 100% grade A ground beef, which is hard to find in Korea. And the sweet BBQ sauce was a great balance to the rich foie gras and the smokiness of the beef patty. I can’t say enough about this dish!
Filet de dorade aux petits legumes. An absolutely perfectly cooked piece of fish, sea bream or 도미. The skin was pan-fried to a crisp but the meat was delicate and flaky, the work of a classically French trained cook or chef.
If you read all my ramblings above, then you already know I loved this place. The KRW 60,000 tasting menu is an absolute steal. I also don’t have any qualms with the pricing of the a la carte menu, because of all the work involved, the quality of the ingredients, the execution, and the presentation.
Come here for cocktails, come here for dessert, come here for the mini burgers, come here for the tasting menu, JUST come here! You will not be disappointed.
Rating: 9 out of 10.
La Ville de Pins (라빌드팡): 02-517-8400