One of the nice things about coming into the city every Wednesday for my radio segment is that I, more often than not, get a chance to find another new restaurant for the show and learn about some amazing new dishes in Jeju. In most cases (99.9% of the time), I like to do a little research or some asking around before venturing out but this past week I dared to be different. My girlfriend and I just rode into town on our scooter in true Dumb n Dumber fashion and stumbled upon this hidden gem while circling the city hall area.
Bomsol is a new, barely-2-month-old restaurant privately owned but working in cooperation with Shilla Hotel. The owner ajumma trained under professional chefs at the hotel for 6 months to receive proper food training and education in restaurant operations. This training is clearly evident in the food and the quality of the ingredients used here, which by the way is entirely supplied by the hotel. Her restaurant is the 8th establishment to be supported by Shilla Hotel as part of their “Let’s Make Jeju Delicious” initiative.
As for the food, they have three main dishes that satisfy a wide range of palates. I was fortunate to try them all. First up, bulnak bokkeum (spicy octopus and pork stir fry). This is a popular anju dish (food paired with alcoholic drinks) consisting of chunks of octopus and pork stir fried in a fiery chili sauce (gochujang based) with a heaping mound of shaved leeks. The very friendly ajumma owner let me sample this and it was love at first bite. The spice was tolerable (8 out of 10=sip of water after each bite) and the extra greens helped balance out the spicy, savory sauce. In my opinion, definitely a go-to dish for those who enjoy having a few drinks with some spicy food. Next up, kalnak haejangguk (octopus & noodles “hangover” soup). Made using dwenjang paste (fermented beans) and other “secret” sauces, the soup had a balance of unique flavors like dwenjang, pork, crab, and chili oil to its invigorating broth. But what really stood out was the main ingredient that you would be hard pressed to find at most other restaurants: hwanggae (Jeju crab). A bigger and brawnier version of its more popular cousin kkotgae (horse crab), there was actual crab meat to be enjoyed in the body and claws. A few pieces of pork, octopus, and hand cut noodles also make its way into this dish. Although aimed at office workers looking for their hangover cure before work (haejang=hangover), the owner says it’s a popular choice for those who love hearty soups. Lastly, bomsol jeongsik (house set meal). This is hands-down my favorite because it’s all about balance, variety, and health. Dombae gogi (boiled pork belly on wooden board), gaeran jjim (steamed eggs), godeungeo gui (grilled mackerel), and complimentary banchan (side dishes) highlight this set meal for a minimum 2-person order. When you have so many delicious dishes to choose from, it feels like a mini-buffet right at the table. The perfectly grilled fish was juicy and crunchy at the same time (plus no bones to pick apart!).The pork had no funky odors as is the case sometimes with traditional dombae gogi. The gaeran jjim was soft, creamy, and smooth like a baby’s bottom (sorry, I’m thinking of my nephew at the moment?!). The banchan were also top-notch and couldn’t be any more fresh and healthy.
Final lingering thoughts….the value for your money is by far the most impressive thing about this restaurant. Sourcing all their ingredients from Shilla Hotel, you are in fact getting hotel-quality food at a fraction of the cost. Although they’re fairly new to the neighborhood, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if there was a line the next time I visit. 🙂
“The meal is not over when I’m full. The meal is over when I hate myself.” ~ Louis C.K.
Food: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Service: ★★★★½ out of 5 stars
Ambiance: ★★★★ out of 5 stars
Value: ★★★★★ out of 5 stars
364-3 Ido-2dong, Jeju City
Hours of Operation: Open from 7am ~ 10pm, closed the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month
Click here for directions: http://me2.do/G6pPwzuB