Brunch is by far and away my favourite meal of the week. A time to catch up with friends over eggs and a few cocktails, it’s the most important event in my weekend calendar. While Itaewon may be jam packed with restaurants offering brunch and lunch, an alfresco brunch is very hard to find indeed. Last week after my brunch at The Libertine, we were walking back through Itaewon when we noticed Cote Jardin. I was immediately heart broken that we had missed out on an opportunity to dine at such a beautiful restaurant, so vowed to give it a try as soon as possible. The garden terrace is unimaginably beautiful(for Seoul at least) with the large tree overlooking the courtyard and little tables strewn throughout. It’s so French chic. The large house that looms in the background has been completely renovated, there is a balcony and long stair case, an outdoor bar and shuttered windows that are just so European, every detail has been thought of, the place is incredibly exquisite.
The brunch menu is served until 5pm which should please those who like to get up late. As well as the brunch menu there is a lunch menu which has an ample selection too. We arrived without a reservation early on a Saturday lunchtime and were told that most of the tables had already been reserved, however there were just a few going spare. Otherwise there are three floors of seating in the main house, but on such a beautiful day it really did seem churlish to sit anywhere else.
I was feeling in a light mood as the weather was so warm so opted Oeuf Poche Salade Campagnarde (14,000). Poached eggs over a rustic salad of walnut, bacon, potatoes and croutons. A beautifully presented salad, I was really looking forward to this. The dressing was excellent but after a few bites I realized that my egg was cold, ice-cold. While the yolk was still perfectly runny I realized they are more than likely pre-poaching the eggs then submerging them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. I wouldn’t have minded had it been cold as cold boiled eggs are always in salad, it was the ice-cold factor that put me off. I asked for a warm egg instead which was brought out to me, though it did mar my dining experience somewhat.
My brunching companion had the Oeuf Benedicte avec Saumon et Asperge (13,000). Again presented exquisitely and the salmon was excellent. When I asked how the dish was she replied that the eggs too were cold in her dish along with the hollandaise. For me a cold egg in a salad may be the chefs preference but certainly not for a Benedict. Cooking eggs fresh to order seems as though it should be a basic requirement for brunch especially in such a high end restaurant, so I don’t know quite why they are being sent out cold. If they could sort out the temperature then they could well be in the running for the best eggs benedict in town.
I wasn’t planning on drinking at lunch, but my friend had a glass of the House white (8,000) which she didn’t particularly care for. Then we were given some complimentary champagne after the egg debacle and my glamorous dining companion had complained in her perfect French. The champagne was a lovely demi sec which I really enjoyed and would certainly get again, there is also a pretty decent cocktail and wine list too.
While the brunch was less than perfect it was really only the egg thing that was the problem, and I’d love to come back and try the burger and the croque monsiur which I’ve heard wonderful things about. The setting is so beautiful and they are still a fairly new place so I shall definitely be visiting again, just be sure to ask for your eggs warm!
Cote Jardin is located at 131-23 Itaewon Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Itaewon Station (line 6) and come out of exit 3. Turn back on yourself and take a left at the intersection and walk down the road where Taco Bell is. Cote Jardin is a little way down on the left hand side. For more information you can call them on 02-793-5072 or check out their facebook page.