An elegant course dinner for two is not easy to find for a reasonable price in Seoul. Romantic dinner venues you’ll find a plenty, but for under 100,000 per person is more of a rarity. I love fine dining, but unfortunately my budget only stretches to it a few times a year. So any place I hear about that offers good value lunches and dinner I have to check out. So when I heard that Chez Simon offers a very reasonable 5 course lunch course for 40,000 a person, and 6 course dinner for 70,000 per person I was there in a flash.
The restaurant is located in Mangwon and is incredibly tiny, it has just 12 seats in fact, so booking is necessary. The menu changes every day so you never know what you are going to get but the price remains the same. Wanting to make our lunch tres sophisticated, we though we would order a bottle of wine. The wine list is quite varied and they have a smattering of offerings by the glass, half bottle, and full bottle starting at 8,000 for a glass of the house wine. Seeing as there were four of us, we splashed out on a 2016 Pascal Joliet Sancerre (90,000). I tend to order wine from the cheaper end of the menu but this I found to be very fresh and clean with just a hint of dryness. It went perfectly with the first three courses.
After the wine had been poured and tasted, we were presented with out our first course. The Asparagus with burrata was visually stunning. It was light and delicate and the perfect starter for a hot Summer’s day. This was soon followed by the lentil pork jowl soup. More earthy than the first course, it juxtaposed without being in the slightest bit heavy. My only disappointment was that I had already finished my freshly baked bread. So be sure to save it for the soup course! They will make you more, but it takes time and I was far too impatient to wait.
Our first main course (don’t you just love it when there is more than one) of shrimp, sea bream and scallops was another optical delight. The sea bream had a very crispy skin, but the fish itself was light and delicate. I also enjoyed the shrimps, and the scallop although I just wish there had been another. Served with the seafood were some shavings of beetroot, celeriac puree, and Korean seaweed dust, which gave further colour and flavour to the dish. I am not a big fish fan, as most of you know, but I really enjoyed this dish.
The second main course of the lunch was a good old classic steak. Mine was cooked to a very perfect medium rare. We were all presented with a new steak knife but I could have used my spoon to cut it, as it was so tender. Roasted garlic, and grilled romaine lettuce with parmesan shavings balanced out the meat. And we also adored the globs of truffle mushrooms on the side. For this price point I can’t find a single thing wrong, it was a lovely piece of meat.
To round off the lunch, we were served creme brulee for dessert. It is not a dish I often eat here in Korea so I was pleased to give a try. This one has a thin layer of caramelised sugar to break through, and the underlying soft creme was not too sweet. Along with our creme brulee we were given a choice of tea and coffee. I ended with a peppermint tea which was exactly what I needed after all those courses.
Overall we had a lovely lunch, not a morsel was left by any of us and I found it to be the perfect amount. Whilst I could have eaten more I left feeling very satisfied. The food for the set price is unbeatable (40,000 pp), making this place a real gem. The service was also wonderful, each dish was explained perfectly in English and they seemed caring and attentive without being overbearing. If you are looking to impress a friend or loved one without breaking the bank you can’t go wrong with a visit to Chez Simon.
Chez Simon is located at 478-3 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul. To get there take a train to Mangwon Station (line 6) and come out of exit one.Turn left on to the main road directly to your left. Walk along this street until you reach the first proper street on your right. Walk along this street and take the second left. You will see Chez Simon a little way along on a quiet street. Be sure not to miss it. Chez Simon is open everyday from 12pm-3pm & 6pm-10pm. Though bookings are advised. For more information or to make a reservation you can call them on 02-730-1045 or visit their facebook page.