There are not many things that I will get up super early on a Sunday morning for. In fact, I can probably count on one hand – maybe edging to the second at a push – the number of things that will get me up and about on a day of precious, precious rest. Seoul doesn’t get moving until about 10am most days anyway, so it’s not like I’m missing much…
Pancakes, however, are something that I can deal with dragging myself out of toasty-ondol-warmed-blanket-burritoness for. The promise of food is pretty much a sure-fire way of getting me anywhere, and when you’re is as good company as I’ve been keeping recently, sacrificing a lie-in to wander down to The Pancake Epidemic in Apgujeong wasn’t much of a struggle.
Also, I am intent on living out millennial culture to it’s fullest capacity as an ‘eff you’ to all those people still intent on writing how I’m never going to own a house because of avo on toast. Brunch all the weekends.
There’s a rising army of pancake places in Seoul. I’m kind of dead set on exploring as many of them as I can, and so far I have been to The Original Pancake House that is still going strong in Sinsa – I haven’t been to the Itaewon branch – Loui Ruth’s Bakery in Itaewon for weekday pancake shenanigans, and also Cafe True Us in Insadong. This time, I ventured to The Pancake Epidemic (TPE) in Apgujeong with Hannah (as always) and Arielle from Soju4Two.
It was g l o r i o u s.
Located between Apgujeong and Cheongdam – closest station is Apgujeong Rodeo – The Pancake Epidemic is in a renovated warehouse. It sits above the Seoul branch of Stussy, and has this really chic, almost industrial feel with large wooden bench tables and chairs with wrought iron detailing. We went pretty early so it was practically deserted when we arrived, but the longer we were there, the busier it got (and the louder the music).
The draws for me are definitely the chilled out atmosphere and the interiors, something that you definitely wouldn’t get in the kiosk branches at the Hyudai Department stores.
I’ve not really been doing a lot of ‘food’ reviews this time round in Korea – partly because places open and close so goddamned fast, but also because I never really know what to say. I’m not exactly expertly trained in the world of food, so I feel a bit fake when I comment on restaurants in anything more than a superficial way. Unless it’s cake. I can make good cake, and therefore I feel I have the ability to comment. But we’ll try here anyway.
The pancakes here were pretty good for the price; you get a stack of three american style, thick pancakes with each plate, and even though the portions aren’t as massive as some here in the city, they are quite filling. I was unsure that I’d be able to finish one on my own because I didn’t know how big the portion sizes were, but when they were brought out I thought that they were fairly manageable. Pancakes are deceptively filling when they’re not crepe or British style.
TPE’s menu isn’t the most extensive, their selling point, despite the name, is actually the fact they serve Stumptown Coffee. I am not a coffee drinker, so forgive me for the fact that I have no idea what the really means, but if it is your thing and you have a hankering, then there you go. I get my caffeine from chocolate and tea, so I was pretty excited to see what teas they had on offer.
Pancake-wise, you have four to choose from. Which may seem a little odd for a place that is called the pancake epidemic, but it’s far better to have a small menu and do it well than a vast menu where everything is mediocre, in my opinion.
We ordered two of ‘The Pancakes’ – 7000W the original, no frills, gimme a stack of pancakes please that comes with lemon buttercream and blonde butter syrup – and one of the ‘Nutellagasm’ – 8500W, kind of looks like smores exploded on your plate, nutella, marshmallows, chocolate chips, and ice cream. The other options are ‘Blueberry Yum Yum’ – 10500W (berries are expensive here) for blueberries and yoghurt – and ‘Fat Boy Treats’ – 12000W, comes with sausages, dill pickles and american cheese.
Drinks are a little pricey here, the cheapest is an espresso at 4500W. Arielle got an iced milk tea at 6500W, I went for a hot Lemongrass loose leaf tea at 6500W, and Hannah went with a flat white, again priced at 6500W.
I found the pancakes to be really good, they weren’t too dry or too chewy, and I thought the presentation of them was also really fun. Having the little cups for both the buttercream and the syrup was really handy, as you could dip if you’re not a pourer which makes sharing a lot easier. There was more buttercream inside the one on top of The Original stack, too, so if you’re not the best with dairy like me, you aren’t subjected to eating all of the buttercream if you don’t want to.
As I said earlier, the portion sizes here are much more manageable than those at places like The Original Pancake House, and I didn’t immediately feel that guilt of potentially not being able to finish should that happen (spoiler alert: I finished them hah). Overall it was easily a very good pancake experience.
I’d definitely recommend if you are in the area and looking for a brunch spot with some really good music, a chilled vibe and good photo aesthetics.
Let me know what your favourite thing to eat for brunch is! And if you have any recommendations for interesting (or just good) brunch spots in Korea, leave them in the comments!