13 June 2008

Battle of the Brunch: Jeonja-dong

Crank up some AC/DC because it's time for Battle of the Brunch.

Koreans typically eat rice and soup for breakfast or more recently, cereal or toast. American brunch, however, seems to be an emerging trend and increasing in popularity. (By "American Brunch" I mean, super-sized portions and lots of butter and fried meats.)

There are three brunch places in Jeonja, one of the more uppity neighborhoods in Bundang. Thus, these three diners are the unwitting participants in Annalog's Inaugural Battle of the Brunch.

The three contestants are: Daily King's Diner, Butterfinger Pancakes, and Daily King's Brown Sugar.

Let's begin!

CONTESTANT #1: Daily King's Diner ("The Original American Dining & Brunch")

Hours of Operation:
Weekdays 11:00 AM - 10:30 PM
Weekends 9:00 AM - 10:30 PM

Get off at Jeongja station (Bundang Line) and take Exit 4. Walk towards the right side of KINS Tower towards the Paragon apartments. The Diner building is between Paragon and I-Park. Good luck finding it. The following picture of the building may help you find the diner (Look for that yellow billiards sign).

The Food:
Daily King's features a large menu that includes brunch items, pasta, and hamburgers. We tried the omelet, short stack, and bacon cheese fries.

The Lowdown: I was not impressed by Daily King's. It's been awhile since my visit to this "Original" American Diner, but I do remember the pancakes being dry and lacking in flavor. The omelet was a little soppy and skimpy on the cheese. The cheese fries were smothered in nacho cheese sauce. Blech. I was not impressed by Daily King's, but they do have a large menu so I think it deserves a second chance. I also heard that they serve a brunch buffet.

The "Where's the Cheese?" Omelet

The Un-stacked Short Stack

The (Nacho) Cheese Fries

CONTESTANT #2: Butterfinger Pancakes

7 AM - 3 AM


Walk towards the Sunae end of Cafe Street (카페거리). Butterfinger is located at the bottom of the Interpark Apartment building; across from the GS 칼턱스 gas station; a stone's throw from Kraze Burger.

Compared to Daily King's, Butterfinger has a more compact menu that primarily consists of breakfast platters, omelets, and dessert pancakes, waffles, and crepes (They also have salad, but you don't go to a brunch place to have salad). I should also note that they have mac + cheese and meatloaf during the week days. Mmmm...

The portions at Butterfinger are huge, even according to American standards. I usually order the "Butterfinger Favorites" set which includes a short stack, hash browns, bacon, sausage, and scrambled eggs. I am able to finish the entire plate when I'm at my hungriest, but it's also possible for two lightweight eaters to split a plate (and split a bowl of mac+ cheese!). The pancakes at Butterfinger are buttery, some may say too buttery, but I'm a fan. The omelet is savory and very cheesy; another winner. I also recommend the waffle sandwich (ham, cheese, sour cream, and chives). The only major flaw of the Butterfinger brunch is the sausages. They taste rubbery.

Butterfinger also features a tantalizing selection of dessert waffles, pancakes, sundaes, and shakes. I'm not big on the dessert waffle/pancake trend that seems to have overtaken Seoul. I especially dislike the liberal sprinkling of powdered sugar. A number of late diners, however, seem to dig the dessert waffles, especially the ones buried under chocolate syrup and ice cream. I can't speak to the quality of the dessert waffles, but I can recommend the silver dollar pancakes. They're just so darn cute.

Basic Waffle

Blueberry Pancakes with Strawberry Compote

The Butterfinger Omelet

Blueberry Silver Dollar Pancakes

CONTESTANT #3: Daily King's Brown Sugar
www.dailykingsbrownsugar.com (This is the website listed on the business card, but it does not appear to be working.)

I was unable to find this information, but you can call them at 031.711.5341

Get off at Jeongja station (Bundang Line) and take Exit 4. Turn left (past KINS Tower) towards the Samsung Adena Apartments (towards Migeum). It's about a 7-10 minute walk. It's very close to the Samsung Michelan Apartments. It's located right on a street corner.

They carry a smaller menu than its sibling, Daily King's Diner. Brown Sugar's menu basically consists of brunch platters, waffles, pancakes, and desserts. We tried the French Toast, pancakes, warm brownie, and about a kilo of powdered sugar.

We stopped at Brown Sugar after our monthly attempt at exercising. Unfortunately, we got there past 9 pm, so we were too late to try the brunch menu. I was really looking forward to trying their Eggs Benedict. The option of that dish alone warrants a second trip.

Brown Sugar is smaller than Daily King's Diner and is set up to have a more café feel, including the requisite jazz music. Brown Sugar closes later than the Diner, but I can't recall the exact hours of operation. Unfortunately, the website printed on their business card is not working. Lame.

Based on June Unnie recommendation, we ordered the French Toast. Aside from that blasted sugar cocaine, the toast was nice and fluffy. The pancakes were nothing to write on my blog about, but they were surprisingly tastier than the pancakes at Daily King's Diner.

You can't tell from the picture below, but the brownie slice was pretty huge. The brownie was almost like a chocolate lava cake, but without the fudgey center.

Overall, the dishes were good enough that I am now curious to try out the brunch menu.

Fluffy French Toast

The Ouch! the Plate is Hot Brownie

The Enough with the Sugar Pancakes


Butterfinger Pancakes!

The preferred brunch establishment for Joon, Heng, Cyndi, and Annalog.

Butterfinger Pancakes is the clear winner for multiple reasons (in no particular oder):
  • It's cool modern diner feel; good use of the color orange
  • The wait staff all have quaint English names; some of the wait staff are even fluent in English.
  • The diner has both have indoor and outdoor seating.
  • The have some cozy orange arm chairs.
  • The pancakes are yummy.
  • Macaroni and Cheese.
  • Just the use of cheese in general.
  • They have the wordiest motto I've ever seen.
  • It's relatively easy to find Butterfinger (in comparison to Daily King's Diner & Brown Sugar).
  • Opens early; closes late.
  • The brunch menu is always available.
The only drawback is that Butterfinger Pancakes can get pretty crowded during peak dining hours. It's not very large, so you may have to wait awhile.

If those of you in Seoul wish to try out Butterfinger Pancakes, I hear that there's a diner in Apkujung. Good luck finding it.

I should also note that the pricing for all three brunch places are moderate to moderately high (though no more pricey than Palo Alto Denney's). If you want to eat semi-decent pancakes in Korea, I'm afraid that you have to be willing to pay a little extra.

I've seen a couple of interesting brunch places in Itaewon, so if I decide to do another a brunch battle, I'd likely seek inspiration there. I especially want to try out a place called something like "Gorgeous Machos' American Diner."


Cheri said...

Nice blog! : )

I <3 brunch... want to try the Flying something in Itaewon next. Butterfinger Pancakes in Apgujeong is somewhat near that building with the huge gorilla on it, if that helps...? I think all the Americans should join forces, pool some money, and start a real brunch joint. It could do wonders.

I'm headed to Bundang next week... would you recommend any good lunch places?

annalog said...

Hi, Cheri! I think it's called Flying Pan. I am curious about that place as well simply because of its clever name.

As for lunch places in Bundang, what area will you be in? Seohyeon recently got a CPK if you're missing it back from home.

veronica said...

my friend and i had dinner at itaewon tonight and we were talking about brunch! she got a new job at bundang and we're thinking of having brunch at butterfinger pancakes one day. thanks for all the info!

you know what i really miss? turkey sandwiches! we found a deli in itaewon today and thought they had turkey only to find out it was ham.

okay, back to studying. i have one last final on monday and i'll be free to roam around seoul! i cant wait to explore seoul again. no more sinky study rooms at school. ew....

Anonymous said...

i recommend all-american diner in itaewon, right next to mcdonald.
they serve american style breakfast all day. their sausage is exactly same with that in the state.
burgers and bufflo wings are really good too.

smorphie said...

I just ate at Butterfinger's last week. I have to say that I was drawn back by the prices (I paid 19,000 won for a meal and coffee), but after not having a breakfast like this in over four months, it was well worth it. The food was good (almost like being at home), and the portions were large. I'd definitely go again, but I won't make a regular thing out of it. Too expensive.

Anonymous said...

This is a great post and I'm glad I stumbled across it! I'll definitely be trying Butterfinger's.

The Flying Pan in Itaewon is one of my favorite places, though it can get pricey. I love their Poached Egg and Pesto Toast dish with ham. Delicious. (Though their spinach looks nothing like the spinach I've ever seen.)