▲ The Plate in Shin Jeju offers Western-style brunch at weekends or lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Photos by Yasmin Aboelsaud
Back home in Canada, brunch was a weekend ritual. After a big night out, a greasy $5 brunch with mediocre coffee was the completing element.
However, after almost a year in Jeju, I had not yet experienced the satisfying sensation of brunch. That is, until a recent Saturday morning.
Being an old Jeju City girl, I rarely ever make it up to the newer Shin Jeju before noon. Usually there is no reason to. But to find a proper Western-style brunch, I was at Shin Jeju by 11 a.m. and found my way to The Plate, which calls itself a modern bistro.
Located on a stretch of road filled with traditional Korean restaurants, The Plate stands out with its English sign and a wooden patio with tables outside almost all year round _ a rare sight in Jeju. Inside, the kitchen is open to the cafeteria-like seating. Owner, Kim Tae Hee, opened the restaurant in March 2009. Since then, The Plate has been a hit with foreigners and Koreans alike. Kim said, “Many Koreans like the spaghetti, but Westerners like burgers and Thai food.” And he is right, I, for one, often visit for the tasty burgers.
Today, however, I was on a mission _ to eat brunch. The brunch menu is available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends. It features a classic breakfast of two eggs, potato, bacon or sausage for 7,000 won, a breakfast burrito, a cowboy omelet (with ground meat, cheese, onion and potato) and a California omelet made with cheese and avocado.
Joining me on my brunch mission were Jonas and Ryan, who both ordered the burrito. At 9,000 won, the burrito contained scrambled eggs, bacon and pico de gallo, with a side of potatoes. If there’s avocado on any menu, I am bound to order it, so the 10,000 won California omelet was my choice.
As we sat there discussing Canadian politics, I noticed more foreigners entering the restaurant. English teachers Ryan Jones and Ashley Sheppard are frequent diners at The Plate, with Jones visiting once or twice a week. “It has an ambient atmosphere and delicious food,” Jones said. Sheppard added, “It’s the only place that serves Western breakfast!”
When our orders arrived, I couldn’t help but notice the potatoes. They were neither fries nor home fries, but were pan fried and covered in mild spices. They were thinly sliced, yet not very soft, as if not fully cooked. The omelet was a large portion for me, with the avocados peeking out the side. The avocado was sliced in thick chunks and the texture combined with the fluffiness of the egg was strange to me at first but, after a short adjustment period, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The potatoes weren’t as salty as I had hoped, but that was easily changed with the addition of ketchup. The boys quickly consumed their burritos and potatoes, before moving on to their toast. All orders come with three slices of white toast, which we slapped butter and strawberry jam on. Unlike at home, coffee was not included with the meal.
Kim began serving brunch after requests from many foreigners, and he said it has been a success for his business. With the lack of brunch and Western lunch options in Jeju, that is no surprise. Although it was great to have brunch, the menu was limited and the food didn’t live up to my expectations.
I do, however, recommend The Plate for both lunch and dinner. It serves one of the best fish and chips dishes on the island for 9,000 won, and its tasty burger with fries is 8,000 won. The alcohol menu includes local beers as well as imports such as Tsingtao and Corona, with prices ranging from 4,000 to 6,000 won. There is Yellow Tail Cabernet or Chardonnay at 5,000 won a glass, and you can also bring your own wine bottle, for a corkage charge of 10,000 won.
The Plate is a quaint little restaurant that is worth a visit while in Jeju; after all, where else can you find decent fish & chips or Thai curry?
Next issue, we journey south to Gecko’s in Seogwipo.
The Plate Nohyeongdong 944-17 Tel. 064-746-8008 Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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