Tucked away in a small alley behind Seoul National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, ‘Italyjae’ is situated in a refined side street which is reminiscent of 1960s scenes. It charms at first sight. Enter through the green sliding doors, you are immediately attracted to an enticing mix of traditional and contemporary beauties of Hanok (traditional Korean house). Chilled Aperol, an Italian apéritif is offered by the time you are engrossed into the atmosphere. As the Chef states that Cicchetti, small snacks common in Venice, are their specialty, notable in the restaurant are Carpaccio, Polpo, fairly big meatballs and golden-brown fried Arancini.
Splitting half the Arancini, saffron rice is lumped with mildly cooked crunchy squash, which taste absolutely delicious together. Veal meatballs are tender and kept moist and juicy at serving. The zesty tomato sauce adds a fantastic flavour to the meatballs. But the most notable dish creation is Tuna Carpaccio. It’s filled with the Chef’s endeavour to keep it so distinguished that other carpaccio dishes you have tasted before were not even remotely close the flavour you would have in this.
Sweet pumpkin pickles, organic olive oil served alongside the fresh tuna carpaccio make a perfect trio à la carte. How about their Rucola salad and chicken? The crispy fried chicken marinated with the Chef’s secret recipe ensembled with Rucola salad, and Prosciutto is definitely a good pick that would please your palate.
Now more curious to find out how good their main dishes taste. Squeezing a wedge of lemon into the Aperol, gently drop an olive into the mouth, glimpse of anticipation starts to draws a smile on my face. Gnocchi with truffle sauce, pasta made with Uni and dried caviar that is shipped from a master fisherman in Mokpo, and black truffle pasta topped with ample amounts of truffles, it is rather a happy predicament to choose one.
However, if I must decide one, it ought to be Uni Pasta. Butter coated pasta mixed with dried caviar seasoned in soy-sauce and fresh, melt-in-your-mouth Uni makes this dish so special and always arises atop on my choices. It is merely recommendable to everyone and no regret guaranteed. The soy-sauce adds a pleasant savory taste, and the butter brings out richer flavour. At last enriched Uni blended into the pasta opens up completely a new realm of a culinary experience.
Gnocchi made of just right amount of potato makes it perfectly Al dente; Black truffle pasta is very earthy, pungent and deliciously funky. Pasta Vongole is also their signature dish which you can’t ignore. You can only eat what your stomach can take, and it ensures you to come back here twice and more. No matter how often you would eat in Italyjae, it will most likely be your fondest culinary experience.