530-5 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Tel: +82 2 547 4100
The strangely-named Elbon the Table is a modern European restaurant located in Gangnam-gu, an affluent district in Seoul, and is at the end of a very pretty shopping street which includes some recognisable international brands and several hip coffee joints. I came across it while researching the dining scene in Seoul, and several people have recommended it on the food forums. It appears on the S.Pellegrino World's Best Restaurants website but isn't in the list of top 100 restaurants. The chef, Choi Hyun Seok, is a celebrity chef in Korea and has the moniker of 'crazy chef' because of, I guess, his unique and innovative cuisine which is still quite novel in Seoul. It has been compared by some to Les Creations de Narisawa (2 Michelin stars) in Tokyo and Bo Innovations (1 Michelin star) in Hong Kong which raised expectations somewhat.
The restaurant itself is located on the second floor of a standalone building branded as 'Elbon', with a clothing retail store of the same name on the ground floor. It is a relatively large restaurant with many tables and a long bar counter behind which the kitchen operates in an open concept. Tables were well spaced and though it was a comfortable dining room, it did not pretend to be particularly upmarket (by international standards). Interestingly, from what we understood, Koreans generally dine early, and by the time we got to the restaurant (just after 8pm), most of the other diners were finishing up their meals and we were the second last table to arrive (and to leave after dinner) that evening.
Elbon had a short yet decently priced wine list, for which I was surprised, and I managed to pick up a young but pleasant Burgundy for what I thought was a very good price. The bread served was quite good and they gave us a choice between Italian or Greek olive oil.
Oyster Pudding and Mung Bean Cake with Popcorn: The oyster pudding was quite interesting but the mung bean cake was quite bland and the popcorn bewildering for me. I didn't think all three components of this dish complemented each other well at all.
Grilled Cod with Water Celery and Ganjang Butter Sauce: The sauce was good but I felt that the texture of the cod was somewhat soggy (perhaps the fish was not at its freshest).