Groove brings you the Best of Brunch in Seoul for 2016.
Talk to anyone in the Korean craft beer business and they’ll tell you that everyone owes a debt of gratitude to Craftworks Namsan, myself included.
Back in 2012, I invited some friends to join me for brunch at a hip new Western place: Craftworks Taphouse and Bistro. I was living in Daechi and my friends were coming up from Wonju, so neither of us had access to decent beer or brunch. That might seem strange in 2016, but 2012 was a different time.
Craftworks more than impressed: it was the beginning of a love affair with craft beer. About six months later, I started writing for CraftBeerAsia.com and today I write about craft beer for Groove and edit for The Beer Post. In large part, I have Craftworks to thank for sparking this passion.
Yet, trends in Seoul evolve fast. I hadn’t gone back to Craftworks after 2014 when a new wave of craft beer joints hit the scene. However, when the idea of profiling a craft beer brunch came up, I thought it would be fitting to revisit the place where it all started for me and for many other beer lovers.
This past January Craftworks launched a Craftswork Revisited campaign. Craftworks underwent changes in management and direction. Since this renewal, the gastropub franchise has been quietly attracting new business and bringing back old regulars.
General manager Stephan Venter says that the most significant changes are apparent in the menu, emphasizing improvements in quality as well as quantity. All ingredients are made in- house to ensure quality, while the American-sized portions equate brunching to feasting. I let them pick from the menu for me and they brought me a new brunch dish they will soon be releasing, tentatively called The Anglo-American Breakfast.
They certainly weren’t kidding about the portion sizes. The dish was two full brunches in one: three Benedict-style poached eggs, three small breakfast sausages, a long slice of campagnard bread with four strips of chorizo, and a generous portion of well-crisped home fries—plus a pancake breakfast. The breakfast actually comes on two separate plates.
The crispy home fries were a highlight; the Eggs Benedict were a creamy delight; the raspberry sauce covering the pancakes: perfection. In fact, butter and syrup toppings may be superfluous.
Craftworks is playing with some brunch cocktails, including a unique selection of Bloody Marys. However, it wouldn’t be a true revisit if I didn’t order my first craft love, the Geumgang Dark Ale, to wash it all down.
Keep an eye out for drink specials, new beer production and summer seating that should make Craftworks a place to visit or revisit this summer.
Beers from KRW 8,000 – 8,500
Brunch from KRW 12,000 – 16,000
Address: 651 Itaewon 2-dong Myungsan Bldg. 1st Floor Seoul 140-861, Korea
Getting there: Noksapyeong Exit 2, walk until you get to the under pass and go through it and across the street towards Lexus dealership. Walk straight two blocks and Craftworks Namsan is on your right near Don Charly’s.
Rob Shelley blogs regularly about the Seoul craft scene for CraftBeerAsia