As someone who is usually in bed by 9PM, I’m not much for night time mingling.
I had to make an exception when I found myself on the doorstep of Mingles in Seoul.
There was no way in Hell I was going to let Mingles pass me by during my second time in Seoul. Named one of the 50 best restaurants in the world year after year, the restaurant has now earned a spot on iFat’s 200 reviewed restaurants over the past 7 years.
I tried booking a week before my trip and they rejected me in the same manner that all those Hollywood produces did when I auditioned for the role of Captain America back in the day. Someway, somehow, I managed to create an opening in their booking schedule and snatched up a slot on a Monday night.
Let’s get mingling.
Holy mackerel, what a way to start. Mackerel was a staple in my household growing up, my mother or grandmother would simply pan fry it and soak that bad boy in some soy sauce. This welcome dish from Mingles was not that.
Fresh, clean and plump: this mackerel was unlike any other piece of mackerel I have had before. I have had mackerel sashimi previously but there was always a bit too much chew or a lingering aftertaste. Not this time.
Plenty of mackerel in the sea but I doubt they taste like this.
Oh hello congee, rice to meet you.
The second of our welcome dishes made me feel all warm and nourishing inside. I would’ve loved to have been able to put this in some tupperware for the next time I catch a cold but alas, that’s just the way it is.
Chunks of clam and crunchy asparagus served as the vessel for caviar making this one of the most decadent salads I’ve ever had.
I’m going to have to figure out how to reverse engineer this back home. Maybe minus the caviar, I’m barely making avocado money let alone caviar.
Soft and tender abalone concealed a bed of crunchy and flavourful cabbage was bound by a peppery zephi broth which bound everything together in a glorious manner. It’s the fine diving equivalent of cheese sauce binding together macaroni and bacon to form some killer mac and cheese.
Never forget that I’m somehow 8 and 80 years old at the same time.
I have mandu every other week so I thought I was ready for some Korean pork dumplings with maybe some kimchi on the side.
Once again, I was wrong. Instead of a dumpling wrapper, I was met with soft fish and a side of deep fried potato. The fish mandu was incredibly tender and flavourful, this definitely beats the microwaveable dumplings I have sitting in my freezer right now.
Ginseng chicken soup is a traditional Korean dish that you’ll see at any good Korean restaurant. It’s the ultimate broth for when you’re feeling weary and need something to warm your body.
Mingles took that concept and decided to deep fry it. Wait what?
Think juicy chicken breast wrapped in artichoke then deep fried with a touch of risotto on the side. Yeah, my imagination would not have been able to piece those concepts together if I hadn’t had the pleasure of trying this myself. What a time to be alive.
I want to write 500 words about this but to be honest I’m still a bit overwhelmed at how rich the foie gras tarts were. You can see them in the background of the photo because you would’ve been buried under mounds of $100 bills if it was in the foreground, it was THAT rich.
So rich that Warren Buffet seems poor.
So rich that Bill Gates lets the tart pay way then go out to eat.
So rich that it can afford to have full-size versions of the clam salad from earlier in this post.
I highly recommend going with at least one other person as the Mingles signature menu allows you to pick between two different mains and desserts.
The first of the mains was a beautifully cooked lobster supported by organic vegetables straight from Jun Hyuk’s farm. I don’t know who Junhyuk is but shout outs to that guy. Seasoned beautifully, the lobster was bite after bite of the pinnacle of what the ocean has to offer.
One of the best beef dishes I’ve ever had. Enough said.
…ok, I’ll say a bit more. The beef was the peak of some mad cow (no disease), melting like ice cream once it did the rounds in my mouth.
I’ll never look at an ice cream truck the same way again knowing that someone where in Seoul is beef that can give me the same feeling times a thousand.
Apple and water parsley sorbet? The chefs at Mingles borrowed some techniques really enjoy subverting expectations.
Refreshing to a tee like getting douses with a hose in a wet tee contest.
Last but not least. A dessert simply named ‘black garlic.’
Gracing the plate was a dollop of cheese mousse, makgeolli(rice wine) ice cream & black garlic meringue. I never thought of black garlic being a component of a dessert dish but I was also on record of saying Avatar would be a flop at the box office (I feel like the cinema gods were particularly mad at that prediction as I was working at the cinemas at the time and made sure to rub my face in popcorn as flocks of people watched the hell out of that movie).
Though it was a bit unconventional on paper, it was magical on my spoon and stomach.
Here’s the TL;DR for everyone who thought I’d sneak in a single and ready to mingle joke:
- Don’t need to be single to go to Mingles.
757 Seolleung-ro, Nonhyeon 2(i)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Monday – Saturday: 12 – 2PM & 6-9PM