If you walk into Capital Market and notice your beloved Oriental Blues is no longer there, don't panic. They've simply moved next door, into their own space, now happily doing their own thing.
One look inside the newly opened Seoul Salon was enough to leave us impressed. Yes, Capital Market has its peculiar charm, but it can feel cramped at the best of times. On the other hand, the light, spacious interior of Seoul Salon is a statement in itself, that this is an exciting new chapter.
Clean, polished wooden surfaces are a running motif here, from the tables and chairs to the trays and the brand new cutlery. Meanwhile, spotless white tiles and walls complement the soft lighting, pot plants and oriental artwork. It's simply beautiful, and we haven't even got to the food yet.
Seoul Salon's offering is simple: classic Korean and Japanese meals (the name should give it away) with a contemporary twist. Scan through the menus and the dishes all sound familiar — kimchi stew, bibimbap, yaki udon. Yet there are also poke bowls for the more fusion inclined, as well as a selection of vegan options.
We decided to try the pork han-sang ($18), a traditional Korean meal presented on a tray and comprising a main with steamed rice and four sides: in this case, japchae (Korean glass noodles), spinach with smashed tofu, salad and kimchi. As you'd imagine, it's a delightful meal with a great mix of flavours and textures. Korean cuisine is traditionally vegetable-based and the clean, earthy tastes do a great job of complementing the pork — big, juicy slices coated in a rich marinade that isn't too spicy, but delivers a distinct smokey kick.
The Korean fried chicken ($12) is a suitable starter or side to share, available in either original or classic Korean spicy. We got the original wings and while not outstanding, they get the job done — a firm crunch on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside and served piping hot. The spicy mayonnaise-style dip on the side is a nice touch too.
Having moved out of Capital Market and firmly established their own space, Seoul Salon is about to show they mean business. They've worked extremely hard for this, and with an exciting new vision that's already being well received, it's likely it will pay off handsomely.