As soon as you approach Un Deux Trois and see the little tables outside with people enjoying a glass of wine and a cigarette, it’s like being transported from Itaewon to Paris in an instant. As you walk through the doors, it just oozes the chic elegance of a French eatery. The long bar begs you to come, sit, and enjoy a cocktail, and the tables by the window invite you to have a bowl of mussels and a glass of wine. While the booths at the back offer the perfect spot for a romantic dinner for two. French cuisine is unrivalled in the field of excellence and for good reason. This brasserie offers up a plethora of French classics at extremely reasonable prices for food that is fresh, tasty, and well executed without pretension.
Our first dish to try was the escargots (16,000). Snails are one of those dishes that scare people off. But in a beautiful garlic sauce they are nothing to fear. These were such a surprise as they were so different to what we had imagined. Encased in a bread-like pastry, we had to cut it open to get the big reveal. A similar texture to mussels, they were sweet and tasty. A great start to the meal.
I couldn’t resist ordering the moules frites. These are the house speciality at Un Deux Trois. I went for the classic au vin blanc (20,000) but they offered a few other varieties too, including my favourite in a thai green style sauce. These were absolute perfection. I make mussels regularly at home when they are in season but they really aren’t a patch on these. A giant bowl of mussels, these could easily serve two as an appetiser. The creamy sauce was such simplicity itself, it was not hard to drink it like a soup at the end, long after the mussels were gone. The french fries were also perfection, crisp and perfectly cooked.
As my main I had to try the steak and frites (30,000). So many times in cuisine a steak and chips can be seen as a dish for those with an unrefined palate. Not in the French brasserie however where it’s one of the most popular dishes. A perfectly cooked piece of steak, chargrilled on the outside, medium rare in the middle. A choice of three sauces is offered and I went for the bearnaise. Served with little gem lettuce and rocket leaves, my favourite two salads, I was very happy.
My better half went for Un Deux Trois’ take on the classic duck a l’orange, Marget De Canard (32,000). It was exquisite. The plate was like piece of art. The pommes a la dauphinoise, were cooked perfectly. The duck breast was medium, but the fat was crispy. A small tower of mushrooms on the side was fantastic. There were little pieces of baby oranges and olive around the side. Not a morsel was left on the plate by the end. Well balanced, it complemented itself well.
After the copious amounts of cream and butter I really didn’t think that I could manage a dessert, but all that changed once I saw the menu and they had profiteroles (12,000). Nothing in life can make me drool like a profiterole. These were delightful. Filled with vanilla ice-cream, they had a a slightly more robust texture, cream, and chocolate sauce. A perfect way to end the meal.
On to the drinks, you know as well as I do that a good cocktail list can be hard to find, in a restaurant with great food. But here they took a list of classics and made them their own. I’m not a huge wine drinker myself so that’s why I enjoy a cocktail or 3 when I’m out drinking. A glass of rose sparkling wine that comes under the 15 dollar price bracket is always such a nice start to the evening without breaking the bank. The San Tropez cocktail I tried in particular was exceptional.
Too many restaurants in Korea offer style with no substance and it is here that the face is changing. There is no where else in this price bracket that I have been to where you could get the same quality of food for the price, before you would be venturing into fine dining or haute cuisine. A steak at the Outback steak house will set you back more than 35,000 won and its not a patch on this one. A bowl of mussels and a glass of wine also under 30,000 for those who enjoy their food but on a budget. A fine meal for two would cost between 100,000-200,000 depending how much you drink and how many courses you try. Heading up the wait staff is a French maitre-d who wears an Hermes belt, what’s more French than that?
Un Deux Trois Brasserie is located at 123-33, Itaewon dong, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon station (line 6) and walk out of exit 2. Walk straight ahead for about 100 meters and you will see Un Deux Trois Brasserie on your left. They serve food from 11am-2am (Monday – Saturday) & 10am, – 12am on Sundays. Call 02-796-1244 or check out their facebook page for more details.