Sunday, 23 August 2015

Seoul Food | Salon de Mon Chou Chou

TREAT YO SELF part 2 continued with a trip to Bucheon for some sweet, sweet Crycheese burgers (I'm noticing a worrying burger trend with this weekend) before nipping off to Garosugil in the Seoul district of Gangnam. You may have heard of it. <eyerollemoji.jpg>

So, we got our fancy on (or, at least, our attempt at fancy) and tried to not look TOO out of place at Salon de Mon Chou Chou, a famous brand from Osaka, Japan.

Nicolette was sat opposite me, so expect more photos of her than myself or Nick.

It was very faux-chic, almost distressingly so for a country girl like me, in all its white and gold Rococo-esque splendour, filled with painfully trendy Gangnam-ites delicately sipping unusually-named teas and eating hugely expensive desserts.

Naturally, we Instagrammed the heck out of it.

I was particularly taken with this lavish mirror positioned crown-like behind my head.
We ordered an afternoon tea, and finally seemed to fit in as we put on our pretentious faces, ready to judge whether or not it could stand up to the standards of two Brits and an ex-colonial (OHHH ;p)

It was, as expected, quite expensive, and the menu only seemed to expect one or two people to want it, not 3. They accommodated us, for an extra charge, and after a while brought over a wobbly 3-tier platter of sweets and 3 pots of herbal tea for us. It's hard to comment on service properly when you're a foreigner in Korea, because the language barrier will always stop things from being as smooth as you'd like it to be. But it definitely felt a lot more confusing and aloof than the service we've had in a multitude of other cafes and restaurants. But then, maybe that's just the Gangnam style (AHA! I SAID IT. HO HO HO)

Basically this whole thing was like my own personal aesthetic fever dream. Everything I want in life, but at a slight canted angle with slight irregularities that are bothersome enough to tug at the corners of your brain until everything feels both wonderful and weird and you're forced to wake up and try again.

The cakes were sweet and lovely but something The intangible difference between a croissant from Paris Baguette, Waitrose, and an actual French bakery. All nice, but some nicer than others for some reason. The asymmetry of it all threw me off, as well. Despite paying for 3, there was only ever 2 of each little thing, and even then sometimes the 2 would be different flavours, making it hard to share properly. Also, we were unsure of how to eat the pair of parfaits at the top of the tower, having seemingly been given nothing to eat them with other than a few spoons that were wider than the mouth of the cup. But we also didn't want to ask for help because we're English, foreign, and would rather eat something awkwardly than look foolish asking for a spoon if there's a chance the answer is right there in front of us.

Aesthetically, the place is lovely for a place found outside of Europe. If anything, it's a lot cuter than a lot of little places IN the UK. Gastronomically, it's good enough. It's certainly the nicest food of this kind that I've had in Korea, but then again I don't have a great sample size to go on. Overall, it's great for anyone whose knowledge of High/Afternoon Tea sits somewhere in the range of period dramas and high-end fashion shoots.

I sound like I didn't enjoy it. I did, very much, but how much of that is down to the company rather than the destination is another matter. From what Nicolette said, it's certainly nicer than the High Teas you can buy at the big hotels like Hyatt and Sheraton for 2-3 times the price. It's also adorable and great if, like us, you're a fan of photo-documenting every little detail, and filling in the gaps with selfies. It's also great, I suppose, if you're in the area, missing home, and a trip to Paris Baguette or Tous Les Jours just isn't filling that cream-filled choux pastry-shaped hole in your heart.

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