It’s not ever so often that I get to enjoy a sumptuous 5 star Italian meal here in Korea, but it is also not everyday that my parents come to visit me. For their last night I saved my trump card of a dinner at Boccalino to complete their stay. As soon as you walk into Boccalino you know you are somewhere special. Located on the second floor of the Four Seasons Hotel is the Italian eaterie that, much like the Italians themselves, just oozes style and class.
As I was invited, we were asked if we wanted to choose from the a la carte menu ourselves or let Italian head chef Loris Pistello prepare us a special menu. We are a risqué bunch so we left it up to the chef’s wisdom, which turned out to be a fabulous and delicious idea.
We kicked off the night with a glass of bubbly which we enjoyed along with our first course salad. Rucola, Pere & Parmigiano (22,000). A rocket salad topped with shaved pear, parmesan, and a balsamic and olive oil dressing. We all loved this salad. I’m a huge fan of rocket and parmesan, and the pear just added an extra sweetness. It went perfectly with the the freshly baked bread we were given.
After our salad course, it was time to move on to the seafood, and we enjoyed the Fritto Misto (36,000). A mixture of calamari, prawns, scallops, seabass, zucchini, eggplant, and asparagus, with an arrabiata dipping sauce. All of the seafood was immensely fresh and we loved having a medley of goodies to choose from. I did find the batter slightly heavy as it was made with polenta, but we all liked the slightly spicy tomato dipping sauce. Overall I loved the idea of this dish and though it was just perfect for sharing, especially over a glass of wine.
Our Pizza course was the Arriotolata (34,000). A ring shaped dough stuffed with prosciutto, mushroom pesto, mozzarella, parmesan, rucola, and black truffle. You could smell the truffle coming from half way across the restaurant. It was an intense aroma that created a heady feeling of pleasure. Honestly this was my idea of pizza heaven, I know I will never enjoy one as good as this again. The pizza was ridiculously amazing, the combination of the salty ham, peppery rocket, creamy cheeses and the aromatic truffle just indulged all of my senses. I honestly haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I jokingly asked if they would be willing to deliver it to my home, and they said yes, so I may have to test that this weekend. It is hands down one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth.
The meat course was the Grilled An Dong Hanwoo Sirloin (79,000). We had two, one nice and rare, the second less so as my papa is a bit touchy about bloody meat. I went for the rarer version which was absolutely divine. The meat had a lovely flavour and was complimented by the accompanying jus, grilled veggies and roast rosemary potatoes. There isn’t really much else to say other than that it was a bloody good steak.
We were all very full by the time we had polished off the steaks, but if I’ve learnt one lesson in life it is never to turn down dessert in an Italian restaurant. For our final course we were mesmerized as a smoking bowl of goodness made its way to our table. The Tiramisu (28,000) was brought over on a bowl of dry ice and looked very magical indeed. We were also each given a bowl of gelato and a pot of hot coffee to pour over it. A simple concept done in a very theatrical way, and the ideal way to end the meal. The coffee was just what we needed to cut through all that richness and the tiramisu itself was fabulous. My mum proclaimed it as the best one she’s ever had, and at her age she’s tried more than her fair share.
While I’m well aware that this isn’t the cheapest of meals to me the quality and flair of the dishes makes them well worth the extra expense. We all agreed that it was one of the best meals any of us had eaten, and by far away the best Italian in Seoul, but that’s not surprising when you have the head chef cooking for you personally. As well as the a la carte menu, there are also a few reasonably priced set menus available along with a buffet style brunch with prosecco on weekends. It’s the perfect restaurant for a special occasion, or Italian food lovers that really want to treat themselves. I can’t recommend this place enough.
Boccalino is located on the second floor of The Four Seasons Hotel, 97 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gwanghwamun Station (line 5) and come out of exit 7. Walk straight and cross over the street, you should see the hotel in front of you. For more information you can call them on 02-6388-5000, or check out their website.