Museum restaurants get comfortable

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Museum restaurants get comfortable

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Hyde Park Restaurant near Nam June Paik Art Center in Yongin, Gyeonggi. By Kwon Hyuk-jae

Restaurants located near museums were once luxurious and elegant, but the atmosphere these days is completely different. Many of these restaurants have relaxed and comfortable interiors and affordable prices; some even host their own exhibitions, giving them the look and feel of a gallery. The wait staff serve as impromptu museum guides and there are books and brochures about museum events.

The decor is modern to contemporary, while the foods served are delicacies. Restaurant diners are often given free entrance to the museum.


By Lee Do-eun [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]

Takeout Drawing Arko

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At this restaurant near the Arko Art Center in the theater district of Daehangno it is not uncommon to see artists from the exhibition or performance in progress mingling with friends or associates. After all, the center is home to experimental theater, avant-garde exhibitions, street dance performances and urban music events.

Sometimes audience members and gallery-goers are even given the opportunity to dine with the artists, a practice that gave the restaurant its name and allows artists and diners to talk and share ideas. Diners are also given free admission to the exhibitions at the art center.

The food here, made with organic ingredients, is reminiscent of southern Italian cuisine. A dish of black rice and risotto costs 16,000 won, and a ciabatta melanzane sandwich with ham, garlic and cheese costs 9,000 won.

The restaurant is located inside the Arko Art Center in Daehangno, central Seoul. Head to Hyehwa Station, line No. 4, exit 3. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and closed on Mondays. For more information, call (02) 3676-1130 or visit www.arkoartcenter.or.kr.


Hyde Park Restaurant

Hyde Park restaurant is located near the Nam June Paik Art Center in Yongin, Gyeonggi. The restaurant itself is inside a gallery called Zien Art Space, which also has an art shop and work space.

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The building was designed by architect Joh Sung-yong, who is famous for his design of Seonyudo Park on the Han River.

The restaurant is situated beside a small pond, making it look as if it is floating on water. The main wall is a bank of windows overlooking the pond, and sitting there feels like sitting on a terrace.

The food, whether soup or pizza, is served on ceramic dishes collected by Jee Jong-jeen, the restaurant’s owner. He traveled around the world collecting the ceramics used here and believes that the value of the dishes is appreciated more when they are used to serve food.

An a la carte and prix fixe menu are offered, with soup, salad and coffee served with every meal. A lunch course that includes a choice of garlic spaghetti or pizza margherita costs 22,000 won.

Kim Tae-ung, who used to work at the Blue House, is the main chef.

The restaurant is located in Sanggal-dong, Yongin, Gyeonggi Province. It is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call (031) 286-8584 or visit www.zienart.com.


Table 88-2

The gallery at Siuter, an art space that opened near Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul last year, is on the second floor. The restaurant is on the first.

This unusual arrangement allows visitors to take advantage of the grassy field outside as they sit dining at the tables set up on the lawn.

The restaurant’s interior also houses a small gallery with a rotating ceramics exhibit that changes monthly. Furniture and design works are also exhibited here.

But the restaurant’s centerpiece is a large tower made of colorful bottles in the middle of the restaurant that takes up so much space there are only six tables left to dine on.

The installation itself is partially a customer creation. Diners ordering a waffle set get a bottle and a blank sheet of paper where they can write their stories before sealing them away. The bottles are later added to the tower.

The restaurant’s specialty is pizza baked in an authentic, wood-burning brick oven. Gorgonzola pizza with cream cheese on top costs 16,000 won. Salad with hanwoo, or Korean beef, is 15,000 won.

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The restaurant is located in Gugi-dong, central Seoul. It is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and closed on Mondays. Head to Gyeongbokgung Station, line No. 3, exit 3. For more information, call (02) 396-5133 or visit www.siuter.co.kr.
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