Last weekend I went to try out the food at Ciuri Ciuri in Sangsu. Ciuri Ciuri, which means flower flower in the Sicilian dialect, is a brand new Italian restaurant specializing in home style Sicilian cuisine and Italian favourites.
The first thing you notice when you arrive at Ciuri Ciruri is the bright blue façade shining like a beacon and alerting you to its presence. The inside of the restaurant is festooned with a rainbow of ceramics making you instantly more cheerful. Many of the cute and quirky wall decorations have been imported from Italy and really lend themselves to making the place seem fresh, vibrant and inviting.
It was Sunday Funday, so we both ordered a glass of white wine (8,000) to get things started. The wine list is currently very small with only one white, one red and one sparkling. However owner Enrico is a sommelier by trade and has big plans to expand it soon, as well as making a list of cocktails, which of course I am very excited to try.
To start we ordered the lasagne (19,000). This lasagne had come very highly recommended by a variety of other foodies and sadly I think my expectations were just too high so it was never going to live up to them. The lasagne was the authentic Italian style, but I personally like mine to have a little more cheese and a bechamel sauce. It was certainly tasty and I particularly enjoyed the tomato sauce which almost tasted caramelized. But I probably wouldn’t order it again as this is a dish I regularly make at home, and for near on 20,000 I want my socks to be knocked off which unfortunately they weren’t.
We also ordered the Gnocchi Gorgonzola (17,000). I’m a huge fan these beautiful little potato dumplings and was eager to see how they fared again the ones at Il Gattino which I am insatiably fond of. The rich and creamy cheese sauce is flavoured with Parmigiano and Pecarino and was absolutely delicious, and long after the plump potato gnocchis were gone I was still mopping it up with the focaccia bread that we were given on arrival!
Enrico the owner came over to check on how we were enjoying our meal and mentioned that we had not tried any of the Sicilian dishes on the menu, so suggested that we try the Arancine (7,000). We got the mini ones stuffed with four different kinds of cheese. They were utterly delightful. This was the first time I had tried these yummy Italian rice balls and I loved them. They were crispy on the outside but gooey in the centre. I will definitely be ordering some more of these next time, along with a few of the other Sicilian specialities that I missed out on.
Ciuri Ciuri is already becoming very famous for it’s dessert so it would have been impossible to leave without trying a few. I was incredibly excited to try the Cannoli (7,000), as it’s about time we got these bad boys here in Korea. In fact the cannoli was half the reason I was so desperate to eat here in the first place and they didn’t disappoint. The sweet biscuit casing was stuffed with a rich creamy ricotta, chocolate chips, and pieces of candied orange peel. The candied orange was so good I even asked the pastry chef how to make it at home.
We also ordered the Granita (6,000). I couldn’t resist trying this as I practically lived on when I went to Livorno. All day long I’d be walking back and forth along the beach to get more. And it was just as good as I remember! The creamy lemony, icy treat danced upon my taste buds and was so light and refreshing. It was the perfect palate cleanser for the end of a rich meal.
When we were paying the bill we talked more with the owner Enrico. He spoke so passionately about his food that it got me really excited. He told me that they import a lot of their ingredients from Sicily to help keep the flavours as authentic as possible. They even have a range of products you can buy to take home. I will definitely be paying another visit to Ciuri Ciuri very soon, as the food is tasty and reasonably priced and the staff are all so warm and friendly. It’s impossible not to feel welcome. It’s a certainly a fabulous addition to the Hongdae area.
Ciuri Ciuri is located at 2F, 314-3 Sangsu-dong, mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Sangsu station (line 6). Come out of exit 1 and walk straight until you reach the first right turn. take that alley way and walk to the end until the road forks. Take the left hand fork and walk down that street. Ciuri Ciuri is about 3/4 of the way down on the left hand side on the second floor. For more information you can call them on 02-749-9996 or check out their facebook page.