I have been a fan of Bill’s restaurant ever since I lived above one many years ago in Sydney. I have been meaning to try the Gwanghwamun location ever since it opened but life just got in the way. I finally got around to it last weekend, and after having a fabulous brunch I honestly don’t know what took me so long. There are currently two Bills in Seoul, one in Jamsil in the Lotte Tower, and this one in the D Tower in Gwanghwamun. They are open from 9am and offer breakfast until 11am, then they move on to a brunch/lunch menu until close. Not being an early riser we arrived around 12:30, and were lucky enough to walk straight in and grab a table, though not long after at 1pm there was a huge queue so choose your time wisely as they don’t take reservations until dinner.
As I am often fond of saying, it doesn’t really count as brunch if you can’t have a cocktail and this is one area that Bill’s really doesn’t let you down. I recall from my visit to the other branch in Jamsil that I really loved the flavour of their Bloody Marys (15,000), but that they were exceedingly small. So small I in fact thought my waitress had chugged half my drink on the way over. However they have been changed and are now much larger and warrant their price tag. The tomato juice base was really good, not the slightest bit sweet so I suspect it was made in house or imported.There was also plenty of horseradish, which I believe is the secret to a good Bloody Mary. I also loved the salt rim, and the sticks of celery and cucumber. I found it perfect for my tastes but if you mike it extra spicy you should let them know.
While the majority of the brunchy dishes are served in the morning time, they still offer some of the most popular dishes later in the day. One of which being the Full Aussie (22,000), which consists of free-range scrambled eggs, organic sourdough toast, miso mushrooms, bacon and cumin roast tomatoes. This was a pretty impressive breakfast, the star being the best scrambled eggs I have ever had in my life. They were just so light, and tasty. So many places overcook them, but these were a testament to how good the dish can be when done right. Also on the plate were two slices of their house-made bacon, this was more like slices of pork than bacon in the way it was served, so if you’re looking for a traditional style you wont find it. Personally I didn’t mind it, and I’m sure Korean palates would also prefer this thicker style. Their sausages were a bit smaller than one would usually expect at breakfast, but while they were small in stature, they were quite well seasoned and tasted as a breakfast sausage should. I also loved the miso soaked mushrooms, they just popped with flavour. With lovely sourdough toast and oven roasted tomatoes it was the closest thing to a gourmet English style breakfast that I have found in Korea and I would definitely order it again.
I lived on steak sandwiches when I was in Australia and it was almost always my brunch of choice. So for nostalgia’s sake alone I had to give it a try. The Steak Sandwich (19,000) was open in style with a slice of sourdough topped with grilled oyster mushrooms, steak, onion rings, tarragon dressing and watercress. We asked for the steak medium rare, which they obliged us with. There wasn’t a huge amount of steak, but what there was very juicy and tender. The bread was slathered with plenty of the thick mayo like tarragon dressing, and topped with mushrooms and the peppery watercress. It was a real classic combo of flavours and with the lightly battered onion rings on the top it was like a fancy sandwich version of a 90s pub steak night. The sandwich didn’t come with chips, so we got a side of Herbed Fries (6,000), which we had with the most delicious lemon aioli. It was so so good, I almost dipped in my finger to eat the left over bit.
You’d have thought we would have had enough food for two people, but my bestie was feeling mighty ropey and wanted to indulge himself, and who was I to argue. So we also ordered the Corn Fritters (19,800), which came with roast tomato, watercress, bacon and avocado salsa. I have to confess I love sweetcorn, I know it is often used in strange ways in Korea, but I am more than happy to eat it on most things. So when these arrived I was pleased as punch. The fritters themselves were much lighter than i had imagined and not at all greasy in the way some fried foods can be.The avocado salsa was lovely and tangy, and paired well with house-made bacon. If you don’t like overly breakfasty type brunch dishes this would be a good call, though I think it would be even better with a poached egg or two on top.
Overall I really enjoyed my brunch at Bill’s. It is not cheap by any means, but few places are these days, and the good ones tend to be around the 15,000 won mark for a dish, so this is only a bit more. They have a really nice and well thought out Australian menu, plus an excellent range of cocktails and drinks. The setting is lovely and to me it makes it worth the extra money for a special treat now and again.
Bills is located at 4F D Tower, 17 Jong-ro 3gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Gwanghwamun station and come out of exit 3. Turn right out of the exit and you should see D Tower just up ahead. Enter using the doors on the right hand side of the building then take the escalator up to the second floor then turn left, you will see Paulie’s ahead of you. For more information including their full menu, you can call them on 02 2251 8404, or visit their website. They are open on weekdays from 9am -11pm, and 8am-10pm on weekends.