A fusion cafe-restaurant has taken roots in Seongnam, Seoul!
Yeah, literally, roots of a tree. Inside the cutely bear-themed restaurant…
Papa Olleh Tonkatsu House 돈까스하우스 is a big restaurant-cafe that was especially designed for kids and the not-so-kids. It is a restaurant with a remarkable large wooden table and a full-grown tree in the middle, and teddy bear designs everywhere.
Their menu boasts of different styles and flavors of Tonkatsu (Japanese pork cutlet) and udong (Japanese-style noodles). Interestingly, they also serve pasta, rice and even cafe lattes and beer!
Well, coffee, pasta and tonkatsu aren’t exactly a good match, but knowing that this is Korea, you can be certain that it’s all good. Pretty much like all-in-one place. This is a fusion restaurant after all.
Initially, I was going to try the Heukdon Hambakkatsu 흑돈함박까스 (Black Pig pork cutlet). But my friend also wanted it so, being fond of salad, I ordered Salad Tonkatsu instead. The Salad tonkatsu is basically just full of greens more than the amount of tonkatsu and a small portion of rice. I was expecting that the tonkatsu will be in small portion, but I was wrong. It was enough and I was really full and stuffed! The salad is tangy and fresh, drizzled with sweet-sour dressing which I guess to be balsamic vinaigrette. But there was too much of small pieces of greens, as if I was eating shredded leaves, to which I think the proportion wasn’t good (the leaves aren’t really supposed to be sliced in a salad, right?). And just as expected, the tonkatsu wasn’t crispy anymore because the moist from the fresh greens made the tonkatsu soggy. This is one disadvantage.
My friend ordered the Heukdon tonkatsu 흑돈함박까스. Heukdon is from a special breed of black pig domesticated only in Jeju Island (제주흑돼지). Interesting, right? The pork was specially tasty in teriyaki sauce…well, perhaps, because of the knowledge that it is from a different breed of pig. The dishes were served with kimchi and a soup which I guess was udong.
The servings were hefty and a lot that even the guys in the group claimed it. Unfortunately we didn’t try the pasta so I couldn’t comment about it. We came in a large group (about 12 people) of internationals (American, Australian, Malaysian, Korean, Norwegian, Canadian and Philippines). It was a really nice Sunday coming after a service at church. I felt happy looking at these cuddly teddy bear family, and a surge of blissful innocence came to me. 🙂
If you’re about to leave Seoul southward, find this place in Seongnam and have a blissful taste of Tonkatsu! If you would need real amazing companions, our international group members just live nearby (around Bundang). 🙂