Sometimes nothing beats a good French bistro and when I heard through the grape vine that there was a new one that had opened in a new hot little area called Yeonnam-dong, just by Hongdae it seemed like the ideal spot to go for lunch and a wander. From the outside the second floor restaurant doesn’t look all that special but once inside it is light and airy and has a very french country chic feel about it. All the furniture is vintage and imported from France. We were very lucky to be seated at the 120 year old table, and I couldn’t help but think of all the people who had enjoyed meals at it over the years.
The menu is a mix of French classics with a heavy emphasis on more obscure meats. The place has only been open for a few months but Chef Gregory told me that they are hoping to add carnivorous delights like pigeon, horse, venison, and pheasant to the menu in the near future. After glancing through the menu I was really tempted by the french onion soup and the beef bourguignon, but it being a hot Summer’s day decided to opt for something a little lighter. In the end all of us chose something from the lamb menu. Lamb is one of my favourite meats and I rarely miss a chance to get it in my mouth, so I was happy to see that they had such a large variety of lamb dishes here.
We kicked off with a complimentary basket of bread. I don’t usually mention the bread but this was fantastic. We even inquired where it was from and they told us it was from French bakery Demoiselle, which is luckily very close to my house. The olive oil it was served with was rather on the bland side so I’d advise them to change it or serve it with butter but on the whole it was great start to our meal.
For my lunch I ordered the Lamb Burger (16,000) with emmental cheese and beetroot. The burger came served with some pan fried potatoes and a rather nice garden salad. The burger itself was quite monstrous and pretty hard to eat, especially since I was experiencing some dental issues so I ended up eating it with a knife and fork. Overall it was a pretty good burger, the bread roll again was fantastic, the meat nicely seasoned and the cheese and beetroot really went with the lamb. No Mmm factor during the first bite, but I wouldn’t hesitate to order it again.
Lasagne has always been one of my favourite things to eat, so I was very excited when my dining companion opted for the Lamb Lasagne (21,000). This was on the special’s menu which change on a weekly basis. She kindly let me try some and I have to say It was very tasty. It was accompanied again by the same side salad I enjoyed. If I’m being honest I thought it was a bit on the pricey side for what it was.
The third member of our ladies who lunch trio opted for the Lamb Sausages (21,000) with wine sauce and potato gratin. He said he could have done with a little more sauce, but overall he enjoyed the meal and I also thought both the gratin and the sausages were very tasty. I also thought that the presentation was rather pretty, especially the edible flowers.
Also on the menu is a Magners Float (10,000). A cocktail and dessert all in one. I wasn’t really sold on this idea to start with, I mean cider and ice cream? But my friend wanted one so I gave it a try and it wasn’t half bad. They also have a refrigerator filled with other cakes and desserts if you are in the mood for a pudding. We didn’t partake but they looked rather good indeed.
As well as the dishes to eat in house, they have a nice selection of goodies you can buy to take home including the Waeg Farm goat cheese crotins. I bought one to go and made the most wonderful salad with mine. If you love goats cheese as much as me then be sure to order one online or in store. Overall we had a very pleasant lunch and if you are in the the area and looking for a good french meal then you will find one here.
L’Empreinte is located at 244 Donggyo-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul. (마포구 동교로 244 거구빌딩 2층 (연남동 260-15)), Seoul. To get there take a train to Hongdae Station and come out of exit 3. Walk straight until you see a large diagonal road on the right, take this road and stay on the right hand side. You will see L’Empreinte just up ahead on the second floor of a grey building. For more information you can call them on 02-3144-2501 or check out their facebook page. L’Empreinte is open Tue-Sun from 11am – 11pm.