Poom Seoul is a michelin star Korean restaurant that serves real authentic rustic Korean flavors in a very elegant and modern way. Each course is meticulously prepared and served with detailed explanations so that you can truly appreciate and enjoy everything to its fullest.
Review of Poom Seoul Restaurant
Poom Seoul restaurant was a place that my sister #3 has been wanting me to try for a while but every time I visited Korea I always ran out of time. Finally, in my most recent visit to Seoul (which was May – yikes!), I was able to go.
Poom Seoul is located in Namsan which means you also get a breathtaking view of Seoul. And they definitely took advantage of that by having full glass walls at the end of the restaurant, looking outward to the city. I don’t have a picture that looks out onto the cityscape but I found this one that shows the interiors.
The interior has quite a minimalistic clean and modern feel to it and the entry way is almost hidden away from the main Namsan express way. But don’t worry, their website has both English and Korean directions so you should be able to find it. When you step in, you see the open kitchen to the right, sparsely placed tables with white linen and a wall with beautiful Korean ceramic plates and bowls.
Grandeur and Pleasure of Modern Korean Cuisine
Chef Young Hee Roh has the following statment on her restaurant website –
Food is an important symbol of culture and Koreans have long valued the medicinal qualities of food….POOM is attempting to offer the world a revolutionary re-interpretation of the traditional Korean cuisine of the old royal courts.
The cuisine that Chef Roh is talking about here is Ban-ga Eumsik (반가음식 班家飮食). These are foods that were served to old Korean nobilities (양반 Yangban) long time ago.
Note that every month, POOM updates their set menu to fully reflect the changes in season which allows you to truly enjoy Korean food at their best. And I’m sure you know seasonal food is very healthy for you. 🙂
Now, shall we get started?
Come! Sit down and please enjoy!
Dignity (PoomGyuk 品格) Menu
Traditional Snacks (주전부리 Jujeonburi)
Snacks of lovely jujube dates and pine nuts were served in this beautiful rustic ceramic box! The jujube date slices were different from your regular dried jujube dates (daechu 대추) that you buy which are usually a little spongy and actually soft. These had a really crispy and crunchy texture – almost like spongy candy.
Appetizer was Korean dried beef jerky (육포 Yukpo) and raw baby radish with salt. A good start to our dinner. But…what was REALLY amazingly delicious was the Dandelion Rice wine (민들레생주 Mindeulae Saengju)! The wine was served at the start of the meal.
I have never had Dandelion wine before and it was just simply FABULOUS. It was smoooth, had a very light floral fragrance that really woke up your senses and palette to prepare for what’s to come. The wine also had the right touch of sweetness which totally stimulates your appetite.
I learned that Dandelion Wine is known to help digestion and regulate the digestive tract, so it was served to promote health among the dignities. They even talk about drinking 1-2 glasses every day for health! Hmm..I wonder but isn’t that almost at the level of being an alcoholic?? 😝😝HAHAHA..they probably didn’t even know the concept back then.
And I loved the cute glass it was served in. I want one of those please..
Sea Urchin on Poached Egg
A luxurious and decadent start to a memorable experience! When I first saw this, I wondered if maybe the two very rich ingredients could be too much but it was actually quite exquisite. And the big flake of salt on top definitely was a welcome break in between all the rich and creamy flavors of the eggs – whether they were from land or sea. 😍
Vegetable Eggplant Roll with Vinegar Soy Sauce
Eggplant is roasted until the skin blisters and then is peeled. Then, it’s sliced thin and used like a seaweed (gim) to wrap some wonderful bean sprouts, cucumbers and shitake mushrooms. After it is brought to the table, the server comes and pours a slightly sour and sweet soy sauce on top of the rolls. The soft, tender and slightly sweet eggplant and the crunchy fresh cucumbers contrasted wonderfully in texture and flavor.
The sauce and the chopped green onions brings everything together while waking up your palate with a bit of saltiness and pungent taste. YUM! And this dish definitely gives you a very pleasant and healthy kind of feel which was just wonderful.
Steamed Abalone (전복찜 Jeonbok Jjim)
I LOVE Abalone! So.. you don’t have to do much to impress me with abalone. 😉 Personally I love it raw but this was quite good too. This is abalone steamed, sliced and then dotted with seasoned ground beef and tofu. Jeonbok Jjim (steamed abalone) is a very mild and gently flavored dish but still quite delicious. Personally, I wouldn’t say it’s one of those really memorable dishes but it was still very good.
Pork Jowl BBQ with Ssam Vegetables (Hangjeonsal Gui)
Pork jowl (항정살 Hangjeongssal) to me is one of the most-if not THE- delicious part of the pig. I would say it’s like wagyu pork..if there’s such a thing.. the tender muscles of the pork neck are interlaced with fat which makes this meat naturally and perfectly tender, juicy and rich. Check out my Know your Pork Cut post if you want to know more about Korean pork cuts.
Pork jowl is first marinated in onion and fish sauce and then grilled to perfection. The ssam vegetables are served on the side with some ssamjang. One thing about the ssam vegetables – do you see the 5 leaf one in the center of the bowl? I believe that’s Ginseng leaf!
Anyway, this dish was simply fantastic! The pork just melted in my mouth but still with a bit of a chewy texture which was absolutely perfect. And the vegetable, garlic and ssamjang added just the right amount of pungent and freshness that made you want to eat just more and more.
BTW, if you want to learn about all the different ssam vegetables Koreans like to eat, read more HERE.
GangDoenjang Boribap (Reduced Doenjang with Barley Rice and Veggies)
A Korean summer meal is never complete without some rice, doenjang and banchan. And Chef Roh did not disappoint. Gang Doenjang(강된장) is a thick Doenjang sauce that you make by sauteeing vegetables like onions, zucchini and chili peppers and then adding Doenjang with some seasoning and then reducing it until it becomes thick like a sauce.
So when you add this marvelous ‘brings me back to my mom’s cooking‘ kind of Doenjang sauce to a bowl of barley rice with chopped zucchini, onions, chives, peppers and clams and… then mix it all together 😍❤️ …wow.. there are just no words to describe the taste and flavor of this incredible bowl of deliciousness.
All I can say is that you get a wonderful medley of flavors and aroma that totally brings you back home to the days when every home made their own Doenjang and Gochujang and you smelled it every time you passed by their backyard.
I used to think Doenjang was so stinky when I was little but now I just love smelling the funky smell…
This dish is the ultimate Korean comfort food that reminds me of summer. OMG – I’m getting hungry for this dish just writing and thinking about it now. I think I will be making myself some Gang Doenjang tomorrow!!
There were 3 different desserts served with a cup of cold Omija Tea. Gaeseong Juak 개성 주악 (on the left) is quite similar to yakgwa because they are both deep fried in oil and then soaked in ginger honey syrup. But instead of soju and regular flour (this is how you make Yakgwa dough), Juak dough is made with sweet rice flour and makgeolli. It is then shaped into a donut shape, deep fried and soaked in ginger honey syrup.
The white rice cake in the middle is called Jeungpyeon 증편 and is made by first letting the sweet rice flour dough rise with makgeolli. It is then steamed into this lightest of all rice cakes. It has a sponge like texture so it’s really nice and airy. I thought the tiny real gold leaf on top was a great touch.
On the bottom right, there is a small bowl of sorbet made from Yuja (유자) aka Citron/Yuzu. It was the perfect ending to an amazingly satisfying meal. Sometimes Korean restaurants sacrifice taste for the sake of pretty and that is always disappointing. Here, that did not happen. Chef did a marvelous job of balancing style and substance.
If you ever want to experience the real beauty of high quality Korean food served beautifully and with the traditional comforting flavors still in-tact, you must visit Poom. BTW, I highly recommend that you call ahead and make reservations because they fill up pretty quickly.
Hope you enjoyed visiting Poom Seoul!