In Seoul, a lot of places will benchmark popular restaurants from overseas and a copycat will undoubtedly pop up. Most of the time they will fall ridiculously short and you’ll end up missing the original even more but sometimes, they will get it right and you’ll be questioning the tastes and flavours of the original spot. Case in point: Lobstar Bar and Bastille.
My first encounter with the lobster roll was at Luke’s Lobster in New York. After waiting in line in what seemed like forever, I finally got my hands on the buttery roll full of chopped up lobster bits and devoured it in three bites. I wasn’t able to eat here on my last trip to New York and had been craving it for awhile when I heard that something similar had opened up shop in Seoul.
Benchmarking New York’s Luke’s Lobster and London’s Burger and Lobster, Lobster Bar popped up in Itaewon, on top of the ridiculous stairs leading up to the Itaewon Spa. I headed over there with my friends this past week and we teetered up the steps in our four inch heels attempting not to face plant on the way up.
At W17000 a pop you would think that it is quite pricey… but that’s before you see the portions. The Connecticut is served on a soft roll, with huge chunks of buttered lobster bursting out of the bun, the Maine is lobster tossed in mayonnaise served with a dill pickle on the side and the lobster grilled cheese sandwich offers up a twist on the humbled grilled cheese with a jalapeno kick. If you choose to get all three, I would suggest eating it in that order because the Connecticut allows the texture and flavours of the lobster to come through, the Maine with its creamy sauce coats your mouth with yummy goodness and the spice from the jalapeno and the buttered toast finishes off the meal leaving you completely satisfied.
T: +82 70 8225 3963
Of course after a meal like this, you must have dessert, correct? And what can be better than a delicious cup of soft serve on a hot Summer’s day? That being said, don’t be fooled by the smoke and mirrors; this little cup of soft serve is not what it seems in both taste and presentation.
Bastille, with its black and white decor and long lines is located at the far end of Itaewon’s long strip of bars and restaurants behind the Hamilton Hotel. Benchmarking Momofuku Milk Bar in New York, it serves up cereal flavoured soft serve at W4000 a pop. You can choose from Cinnamon toast crunch, Corn Flakes and Chocolate Chex, which is poured into a smaller cup and popped on top of a bigger cup that has a layer of dry ice to prevent meltage. A little sneaky but I suppose it’s better for my hips that the portions are smaller than expected. Plus the flavours definitely make up for this little hiccup.
There are some toppings options (for an additional W1500) of Mountain Andes pink salt with nougatine chocolate for the French Breakfast, Bolivian chancaca with macarons for the Italian Breakfast, Canadian maple syrup with bacon, oddly enough for the American breakfast and Manuka honey with potato chips for the New Zealand Breakfast. I opted for the Cinnamon toast crunch with the French breakfast topping because I’m a sucker for anything that combines sweet and salty (caramel du sel anyone?) and let’s say that the dry ice was completely unnecessary, it was gone by the time we walked to the other side of the store.
T: +82 2 749 6641