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LifestyleFood and Drink
Brunch is servedA little taste from home, with a surprising twist, just a stone's throw from Jeju City Hall
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승인 2012.05.09  14:57:08
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▲ Winnie's is one of the few non-smoking pubs on the island. Photo by The Jeju Weekly

During my years on Jeju I’ve come to learn that I feel homesick most strongly around lunchtime Sunday. Home seems farthest away when staring at another bowl of soy bean soup and plate of grilled fish, rather than an unhealthy portion of eggs and toast during the miracle known as brunch.

Now, thanks to Winnie Park and her newly opened Winnie’s Brunch/Pub, keeping homesickness at bay just got a little easier on those gloomy mornings.

▲ Winnie Park at her Brunch/Pub at City Hall. Photo by The Jeju Weekly
Located in Jeju City Hall on the second floor below The Doors bar, Winnie’s reminds me of a cottage diner. Hand painted, bright, with Pearl Jam filling the room, this eclectic restaurant is an interesting mix of Western tastes with Jeju culture.

I spoke with the affable Winnie early this May about the impetus behind her cozy non-smoking restaurant as she prepared me a plate of vegemite and toast.

Having opened on March 19, this eatery had been germinating in Winnie’s mind for years.

“Five or six years back” the idea had come to her, she said, while traveling Southeast Asia and she wanted to offer travelers a place to kick back and relax.

“I love to have parties,” she said. “I love to invite people and share some food, I think that is where the idea came from and whenever I invite people I want to have a nice atmosphere and some nice music.”

This Seogwipo girl who speaks with an Aussie accent left Jeju eight years ago for travel and to work as an English teacher in Seoul, but eventually the job became tiring and she wanted to go into business for herself.

After conducting a dry run at The Doors for several months last winter, she eventually opened her own shop just below. And ever since then, brunch has been served.

The brunch menu is deep with, among the vegemite toast (6,000 won), Winnie’s Usual Brunch which consists of baked beans, toast, scrambled eggs and salad for 12,000 won; eggs benedict with french fries and salad (10,000 won); an array of omelets (10,000 won); scrambled eggs (7,000 won); Ciabatta sandwiches (8,000 won); a gluten free meal for travelers who are allergic (9,000 won); and other enticing dishes. All meals are served with either strong or medium-strength coffee, tea, or juice.(*)

But why brunch?

“Well, brunch, because I love cooking. This whole menu I always cook at home,” she said.

I’ve now frequented the restaurant three times and the eggs benedict is easily the best I’ve had on the island, though I have only found less than a handful of places that serve it. But the hollandaise sauce is savory, the perfectly cooked eggs are placed on English muffins (other places on the island have just used bread), and it is absolutely filling, like she says of all her dishes. And though I have been there a couple times before this interview I was surprised to find that her dishes are vegetarian.

▲ Photo by The Jeju Weekly
▲ Photo by The Jeju Weekly
▲ Photo by The Jeju Weekly

She was apprehensive to tell me this from worry that customers will shy away due to the lack of meat.

“They think that vegetarian food is not filling,” she said.

I did a double take and had to rescan the menu, and she was right, no meat. But as a ravenous carnivore the sausage wasn’t missed and I always leave very full, duped by my own palate, for I really had no idea.

Since brunch only comes once a day the establishment doubles as a pub serving beers seldom seen on the island, like Victoria Bitter Beer, Tiger Beer, and others. The pub menu, though small, had another surprise for me: chip butty. If you haven’t tried one, you’ve been missing out.

Currently she said her clientele is a decent mix of expats and Koreans. In fact, an impromptu language exchange has popped up on Tuesday evenings. She says that business has been “improving” with more new faces trying her food out all the time.

“But the important thing is people who come here first they come back so that means they must like this place,” she said.

Winnie’s Brunch/Pub is open from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. daily, except for Wednesdays which are closed so she can go to the beach.

(*) This paragraph was updated to reflect the menu/pricing includes a beverage. -- Ed.

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