I’m not a food critic or an excellent chef. But I do love food… so much. Breakfasts, curries, casseroles, pastas, fruit, pizza, rice dishes and of course desserts. I am ruled my by stomach. And since moving abroad I have had the opportunity to indulge in so many exotic cuisines; Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Chinese… and the list goes on. So when the miserable monsoon season in Korea kicks in and the rain ruins any outdoor plans, I always just head out for a restaurant to spread some light into a gloomy day. Sunday was such a day. It was pouring in Seoul so Faraaz & I skipped any ideas of sightseeing and headed to Itaewon for a late brunch.
When you think of Itaewon several images might come to mind. For instance the many pubs or clubs you can go to. Or the famed “Hooker hill” which is parallel to “Homo Hill”. But for me, I think of the great international restaurants where you can get a taste of food from around the world. Since most of Seoul had the same idea as us for Sunday brunch, the well established places were full with queues spilling onto the street. In our haste to get out of the rain, we found ourselves choosing the first restaurant we could see which didn’t have a long queue. This happened to be Kervan- a brand new Turkish restaurant.
Near the entrance they sell these pretty Turkish bracelets:
This restaurant has replaced one of my old favourites for Mexcian food- Pancho’s. Where Pancho’s was dark and sultry with salsa, sombreros and a pool table, Kervan is bright and airy with chandeliers and large windows overlooking the bustling street below. The majority of the waiters and chefs are all Turkish. We spent some time deciding what to order off the extensive menu. I decided on the Izgara Kofte (grilled beef meatballs served with rice and salad) and Faraaz had a mix grill kebab (chicken shish kebabs, beef meatballs and cubed lamb with rice and salad).
Our friendly waiter appeared with the food arrived in no time. The portions were not huge but big enough to fill you up. It smelt amazing and looked delicious. The food was well put together and presented in a stylish way. It was an effort to take photos without digging in immediately.
Taste test: The beef was succulent and tender, the chicken was full of flavor but unfortunately the lamb was slightly tough. Salads were mediocre but dipping sauces were heavenly. The main courses were pleasing and encouraged us to order dessert. With the help of the waiter we chose a rice pudding with Turkish Tea and coffee. The pudding was probably the highlight of the meal: sweet, creamy and dense and left us feeling warm and content.
Bottom line: Great date restaurant or for a girly lunch. Exceptional service and loads of menu options including a section for vegetarians.
Best tip: Leave room for dessert and go after payday. This restaurant is a little pricier than most but still worth the prices.
How to get there: Take Seoul subway line 6 to Itaewon. Go out of exit 3 and walk straight ahead for about 30 meters. The restaurant is located on the right on the second floor. A black sign in English reads “Kervan.”