Utter Gluttony at Pierre Gagnaire à Séoul
Here in Korea, we have a friend from France named Louis. Sometimes, Louis appears at our door with interesting surprises…mostly of the gastronomic variety. Once, it was dehydrated morels that were promptly cooked up with chicken and cream. Another time, it was a tin of decadent foie gras which we consumed tout suite.
This time around, the news was of a chance meeting with the Dessert Chef for Pierre Gagnaire à Séoul – a place I had long wanted to visit, but deemed too “expensive.” We didn’t think much of it, but Louis it seemed, had other plans.
Because a few weeks later, while we were in the Maldives on our babymoon, a message arrived out of the blue, that reservations had been made for us at the 3 Michelin chef starred restaurant. Details were a bit fuzzy, but the words discount and extra desserts still managed to break their way through my beach haze.
“Reservations have already been made for lunch…but I can cancel if you don’t want to go. Oh, and by the way, Pierre Gagnaire will be visiting, so there might be some special things…” said Louis.
Cancel? As if.
And so, not a week after we returned home, we found ourselves staring out at a view of Namsan and the Seoul Tower from the 35th floor of the Lotte Hotel, waiting for the first of what turn out to be, an afternoon of complete and utter gluttony.
Since I’m not a chef or real foodie, rather than bore you with attempts at describing food that I simply don’t have the knowledge or words to describe properly, I’ll make a few comments, but mostly just let the pictures do the talking.
Any gourmet meal starts with an Amuse Bouche, and at Pierre Gagnaire, you build each one individually. Each spoon corresponds with 2 items on the plate, and is eaten all at once. There was lobster, and truffle salt, and other things I can’t really remember, a month after our meal, but suffice it to say, that even though I didn’t love every morsel, each was unique, flavourful and an experience in itself.
And don’t even talk to me about the bread. Which was divine, varied and never-ending. I shoulda had them pack up what I didn’t eat, but somehow it didn’t seem quite appropriate to ask for a take-out bag there. 😉
Cocktail de poche / Pocket cocktail
This was the only course where I was disappointed, but only by 1 of the items. Drowning at the bottom of the martini glass was a single dumpling in some kind of strange, sour, bitter tasting liquid. Definitely the lowlight of the meal, but truly the only real disappointment.
La Mer / The Sea
For the Sea course, we received 2 different plates…an advantage of visiting when the chef is in town, I suppose. 🙂 Both dishes were delicious, but the first dish of squid ink rice, covered with big chunks of langoustine and a creamy sauce was one of my favourite parts of the entire meal.
La Terre / The Land
Perfectly cooked premium Korean beef with mortadella and spaetzle, was the absolute highlight of the meal. ‘Nuff said.
Le dessert de Pierre Gagnaire (or where the gluttony really took hold)
So, remember the Dessert Chef? Because of him, we received not the usual 2 desserts, but a grand total of 5 desserts! Each was decadent, rich and exquisite looking. Despite the fact that my stomach was already stretched beyond comfort (never mind the baby in there), I still managed to consume every last bite of these gorgeous desserts. It would’ve been a tragedy not to.
Café et petits fours
Of course, the sweets didn’t end with our 5 dessert debauchery. There was still a plate of super concentrated petits fours to finish things off. A mouthful of marshmellow, jelly and an ultra delicious taste of white chocolate and I was completely done.
All that was left to do was roll me out of the restaurant…
…but not before we got a little behind the scenes tour of the rest of the restaurant, and chatted with the Chef himself, Pierre Gagnaire.
We paid but 65,000krw (about $65) a head for our Michelin Chef approved gourmet feast, but if you’re not lucky enough to have a Louis in your foodie arsenal, lunch at Pierre Gagnaire à Séoul runs from 85,000 – 340,000krw (about $85 – $340), taxes included. For more information and to see their menus, visit their website.
Have you ever dined at the restaurant of a Michelin starred chef? Was it everything you expected and more? Tell us all about it in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
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The food looks amazing, like little pieces of art, and what a view! I didn’t even know there was a Pierre Gagnaire restaurant in Seoul,seems I’m way behind regarding the Korean dining scene:)
I’ve always wanted to go there, and was so happy to finally get the chance, AND that it lived up to expectation. 🙂 The food, service and view was exactly what you’d expect from a restaurant of that calibre.
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Oh my goodness…. so JEALOUS!!! I would love all of these things so much!
I have eaten at a restaurant with a Michelin rated chef in the past. It was a tiny place in the English countryside called The Marques de Exeter. It was amazing… and expensive. We paid about 200 pounds for a meal for 4 of us. But it was worth it I think. 🙂
That sounds fantastic!! 200 pounds doesn’t sound too bad for 4 people. Definitely expensive, but for a Michelin starred place, very reasonable I think. Glad it lived up to your expectations though and was worth the money! But have you heard of Aziamendi? It’s in Phuket and operated by some Spanish 3 Michelin starred chef. Close to you no?
I have heard of it… Phuket is where we live, but the island is pretty large. I will definitely have to check it out now though! Thanks!
We are lucky to have a Michelin-starred chef and restaurant in the small town right next to us. I’ve only eaten there once but it did indeed live up to my expectations!
Those Michelin stars really do mean something, don’t they? You are lucky to have one close by! Pierre Gagnaire, the restaurant in Seoul is not even Michelin starred, just the chef is…though I’m definitely not complaining about it. It was divine!!! 🙂
The restaurant has a private dining room! Like it very much that idea ??
In traditional Korean restaurants, there are a lot of separate dining rooms divided with rice paper walls…those ones at Pierre Gagnaire were quite a bit more opulent, but it seems like a play on the original Korean idea… 🙂
Looks amazing. Now I’m feeling rather peckish. 🙂
Really, one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I would kill for another one of those steaks!! It’s hard to find a good one in Korea without paying an arm and a leg…
A meal to remember always. Art plus gastronomy. Our evening at this restaurant is in our top two and we’ve been to a few special places around the world. I can only imagine how it must have been all the more special with your friend spoiling you. (BTW, the other one in our top 2 is The Modern, based in the MOMA in NY. Maybe you’ll have a chance to go there one day. The food there is not as refined as at Pierre Gagnaire’s restaurant in Seoul, but the atmosphere and cocktails make it a little more relaxed and fun.)
Definitely a meal worth remembering! Every dish (aside from the 1), was beautiful to look at, and so delicious. Lol…yes, we were quite spoiled…but I’m convinced all those desserts threw off my gestational diabetes test the next day. 😉 NYC is one city where I have definitely not spent enough time! Will keep the Modern in mind, for when we actually get there to explore… 🙂