Designing original pasta dishes so that each sparkles like a jewelAfter working as a jewelry designer for eight years without a break, Kwon Hea-ryoung needed a change of pace.
So, with her childhood friend, Ms. Kwon launched a second venture that’s even more stressful: a restaurant that she calls The Kitchen. It serves home-style pasta dishes in a relaxed atmosphere.
The Kitchen, tucked in the quiet residential neighborhood of Yeonhi-dong in western Seoul, has been open four months. Ms. Kwon says that she’s more interested in cooking dishes she finds appealing than than offering authentic Italian fare.
So, when she serves a bowl of sauteed mussels, squid and red peppers in a steamy tomato sauce (9,500 won or $7.90), who cares if it’s a Tuscan, Florentine or Korean hybrid? The point is, it’s delicious.
The manager recommends the Chinese-style pasta (10,500 won) with prawns, bamboo shoots, mussels and bok choy in oyster sauce. Topped with chopped fresh chives, the dish not only looks tempting, it’s a fitting tribute to the source of Italy’s favorite food.
If you’re looking for true home-style Italian pasta, then order the spaghetti puttanesca (8,900 won). It’s a hearty, healthy classic traditionally made with ingredients found in any Italian home pantry ― eggplant, zucchini, carrots, black olives, capers ― so working girls don’t have to go shopping.
Every month The Kitchen features a new dish. This month it’s spaghetti with baby octopus in a spicy tomato sauce (11,000 won).
Pickles (which you won’t find on your table in Rome) and a basket of assorted breads are served on the side with all of the pastas, but an additional order of bread costs 1,500 won.
The Kitchen’s wine list offers an assortment of French, Italian and Chilean wines, all for under 70,000 won a bottle. Most of Ms. Kwon’s favorites cost around 40,000 won. A glass of the house red, a 1999 Chateau Guibon Bordeaux from France, and the house white, a 2001 Villa Montes Chardonnay from Chile, cost 5,000 won.
The dessert menu features a different kind of cake for each day of the week for 4,500 won a slice.
Theme: Fusion pasta and imported wine
Telephone: (02) 322-8580
Address: 75-17 Yeonhi-dong near Yonsei University’s north gate
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
daily except Mondays
Credit cards: Accepted
by Ines Cho