Last spring, I visited the brilliant Kyotofu (“modern Japanese dining and dessert bar”) in Manhattan and when I heard there was another location in Itaewon, I knew I had to give it a try. In Manhattan, Kyotofu had given me some of the best dessert ever, and while browsing their menu for the Seoul location, I decided that it would be the perfect place for a Sunday brunch/dessert date. My conclusion? There’s a definite reason that this small chain of restaurants is so internationally successful.
I ordered the Salmon Eggs Benedict with a mimosa—Kyotofu offers specialty cocktails, all of which are unsurprisingly pricey, but irresistible because they all sound like they’d go so perfectly with your food. The Salmon Eggs Benedict wasn’t bad—it was much better than it looked, since it rather looked like a piece of bread with some egg on it rather than Eggs Benedict—but I wouldn’t rave on about it. I felt like the plate could have been composed better, since all of the flavors and ingredients together combine to create the desired flavors, but the salmon was off to the side and it took a little maneuvering to get the runny egg yolk soaking into the brioche toast.
I also had bites of my friends’ Steak & Eggs and Banana Pancakes. I’d definitely recommend the Banana Pancakes—which are made out of house-made tofu, rather than the usual buttermilk batter. This might sound disgusting, but it’s actually great, making it taste a bit like a gluten-free dessert and providing a nuttier base that held the sweetness of the caramelized bananas and the syrup well. Otherwise, the entire dish would have definitely been too sugary.
Of course, you should never plan on visiting Kyotofu without trying their dessert. A good order is the Omakase, the “chef’s selection” of desserts—either three items for 13,000 won or seven for 20,000. Essentially, it’s a tray filled with several different house specialties, including the fantastic sweet dessert tofu, the matcha crème brulee, and an assortment of goods from the bakery. The sweet dessert tofu is definitely my favorite: it’s definitely a lot more subtle than sweet, a bit like a thinner, nuttier flan.
I would definitely recommend trying out Kyotofu if you’ve never been, but it might be a better bet to go simply for dessert rather than an entire meal. The food selection isn’t bad at all—it’s wonderfully prepared—but it’s definitely the “dessert bar” section of this establishment that stands out.
Directions: Take Exit #3 out of Han-gang-jin Subway Station (on the brown line, line number 6) and walk straight for about 100 meters. It’s on the street, on your left right after passing the first alleyway.