Making German gasthaus memories
When I was a kid living in Germany, my parents used to take me and my brother and sister out to the local gasthaus to have dinner with our family friends. I have happy memories of this place. Enjoying evenings in the cozy and very smoky restaurant as our parents drank beer and chatted away. This was a time before we had cell phones or even Gameboys to fill-in all the grown-up talk time. How did we manage? How did we cope with all that boredom? I’ll tell you how…
As a kid, coasters in restaurants are awesome because you can use them to build things… huge elaborate towers. They are fantastic time killers. And German restaurants never seem to be in short supply of them. And if they are, well, they really shouldn’t call themselves a German restaurant, in my opinion.
So, when my family went to the Deutsches Haus restaurant in Hannam this past weekend, it was only right to pass on the art of the coaster build to my children. Carefully, my son tackled the balancing act of the construction. And my daughter was the demolition expert. Meanwhile, my husband and I got to enjoy a couple of delicious German hefewiezens.
Across from us there was a long table of maybe a dozen Korean patrons, rosy faced and jovial, enjoying one another’s company and several huge pitchers of beer. They lent a kind of fest-like atmosphere to the place. Therefore it was somewhat surprising when they erupted with a loud “Amen!”, crossed themselves, and shouted “Amen” again before leaving! What a fun church group!
Anyway, out came our food, a huge platter of sausages and a huge plate of schnitzel. Was it authentic? Well, no. There some kind of sour cream sauce covering my schnitzel and no lemon and like, seven(!) different items on my plate. (It struck me as more of a Russian meal than a German one, to be honest.) But, who cares. It was good! The menu included your old standbys like pepper steak and cordonbleu, a number of sausage platters and some Korean fare thrown in there too running from 20,000 to about 30,000 won.
Maybe it was because it brought all that old Gasthaus with the family nostalgia, but I really liked this place. It felt satisfying to drink good beer in a Seoul restaurant, and I liked that the prices were reasonable (for Seoul) and the place was so large and unassuming that my kids could be themselves without my freaking out about them being themselves in a restaurant. Also, they had little baskets of pretzels to much on. Yay for that.
There was a big space out front with some umbrellas and tables. It looked like it could be good biergarten material in summer months.
The interior was appropriately rustic. There was another large room upstairs. If you wanted to take a large group out, this is the place to do it.
Here’s a picture of one of the waitresses. She was really embarrassed even though I asked, so I feel a little guilty throwing it in here. But, I couldn’t resist!
As you can see, they’ve got a nice selection of German draft beers, from hefeweizens to dunkels and pilsners. And if you are a Cass man or woman, there’s that too. My kids had what I think was fresh juice. It was thick…and it took a long time!
So, we’ll come back. And next time we come, we’ll have to bring some friends. I’ll ban all electronic devices from the table and hand the kids a stack of coasters.
Who knows, maybe they’ll make some of their own fond German gasthaus memories…Seoul style!
Directions: 653-68 Hannam – dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul Korea. If you are on Itaewon street going towards Hannam, turn right at the intersection after the IP boutique hotel and go under the overpass. Go down the hill. A little after a big stone church on your left, you’ll see it on the right hand side, right after the Thai Embassy. Valet parking is available at 2,000 won for 2 hours. We were lucky and parked on the street.
This is also very walkable from the Hannam back gate, but I don’t have the directions right now…do you??
Prices: Entrees ran from about 20,000-30-000 won. Most were 20-25,000. They were enormous. I could easily have shared just one with my husband.
German draft beers ran at 6-7,000 for a “small” (the size in the picture above). 11,000 for a “large”. Korean beers started at 4,000won. Pitchers were also available.