My time was drawing short in Seoul and I was keen to tick a few more local dish boxes but when I came across Mish Mash, a Korean fusion restaurant, I couldn’t resist giving it a look.
Itaewon is a designated tourist area and Mish Mash lies within the bounds of that, but this part, near the Hangangjin underground stop was rather more boutique and stylish than the chains and neon of Itaewon’s main drag.
Mish Mash has a simple, pared-back and very elegant interior. It has a beautifully relaxed feel to it, with a good view into the efficient and calm operations of the kitchen.
I had a bit of an ordering palaver to go through which wasn’t so much caused by language issues but by the kitchen having sold their last portions of a couple of dishes I fancied. But we got there in the end with the chef’s mish mash choice of the day menu my choice.
This opened with a little snack of pesto with gluten free bread sticks. This was a very promising opener with extremely fresh and bright pesto.
There was then a seasonal salad topped with parmigiano. The braised gem lettuce had a light nuttiness to it. I enjoyed it muchly.
Next we had a little starter platter with two excellent prawns served with a reputedly very spicy sauce. I enjoyed their sweet succulence and found the spicing very pleasing. A portion of deep fried pickles was excellent, too.
The main course was an elaborate and multi-element dish with outstanding porky pork – their name for it, not mine – at the heart. With shard-crisp crackling, this was pork belly served as well as I’ve ever had it. The accompaniments of garlic rice, kimchi marmalade, as well as an array of leaves to wrap each bite in, were splendid, too. It was a fun, inventive and deeply tasty dish.
The fermented soy broth was a complete joy and fit the Korean tradition of concluding main dishes with a scoop of soup.
Dessert was all elegant refinement with lavender gel topped with a warm brownie which in turn was topped with Earl Grey ice cream. The latter was as good as I’ve ever had as it managed to convey both tea and aromatic bergamot which is no cheap trick.
I accompanied things with a really good pale ale from local brewery 304.
So overall, Mish Mash served me a really memorable lunch. It was a near cousin to Soigné in their approach to defining and re-imagining modern Korean cuisine but with a less formal, slightly more playful edge. I’d strongly recommend you add it to your list for a visit when you come to Seoul.
Blythe scores Mish Mash
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 17/20
I ate: chef’s mish mash selection of the day
I drank: pale ale
I wore: uncharacteristic all black
Total bill: 55,000 won
Address: 739-18 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul