By Jim Boyce | Kimchi and bibimbap by day, soju and fried chicken by night: Saveurs de Coree has a new double life.
Owners King-Tai Chow and Eunjung Yoo have served quality Korean fare for a dozen-plus years, first on the Nanluguxiang strip, then in Ju’er Hutong, and now in a cozy two-floor venue on Xiang’er Hutong with just the right amount of intimacy.
As of yesterday, this place will shift from restaurant to soju bar at 9 PM each night.
Let’s do the soju first. A flight of six (rmb79) includes four from South Korea and two from North Korea, with alcohol levels from 19.5 to 30 percent. My favorites: crisp clean Classic Jinro from South Korea and Pyongyang 25% from North Korea. The latter includes corn as a base and has a slightly oily aroma, nice viscosity and light fruity sweetness. (MyeongPoom Jinro was least favorite: it smelled and tasted like banana Popsicles.)
South Korea beers Hite, Cass and Max are rmb39. North Korea ones like KyungHeung, DaeToongGang and Ssal are rmb59 to rmb69. And there are ginseng-, rice- and plum-inspired tipples. The half-dozen cocktails (rmb39-rmb49) include the cucumber soju-driven Kim and Tonic, the Jeju Island Ice Tea with three soju infusions, and the Bloody Kim-Chee that sounds like a bloody mess with chili soju, kimchi and tomato juice.
The hungry should try the six-piece fried chicken option (rmb49). This bird arrived perfectly cooked: the chili paste-coated pieces were especially delicious. The mini-seafood pancakes (five for rmb49) rival what you would find in Seoul. The house fries (rmb19) are so salty you’ll be inspired to have another beer.
Late-night favorites like tteokbokki are not listed as bar snacks but can be ordered up to 10:30 PM.
I suggest starting with the soju flight and fried chicken (add fries for rmb15) and going from there.
And check out Saveurs de Coree during the day: it has a full Korean food menu and lunch specials that start from rmb49.
Saveurs de Coree, 128-1 Xiang’er Hutong, map