Uncover the wonders at Hu's Table
People rarely venture further than Anguk Station’s exit 6 or exit 1. One curves in towards the shops and galleries of Insa-dong and the other towards the hanok-lined streets of Samcheon-dong. So, walking out of Anguk Station, exit 2, en route to the elusive Vietnamese Embassy, I suddenly found myself in an unexplored pocket of the city. Enter the little hole-in-the-wall called Hu’s Table.
Started four years ago, Hu’s Table tapped into the exhausted market niche of Italian cafés. The original restaurant is hidden up Anguk’s side-alleys – a dark, cluttered hovel with a farmhouse feel to it. Walking through to the end, you can climb up a crooked set of stairs to an elevated area hidden in the back, the floor strewn haphazardly with bicycles and blankets.
While the original café is older, bigger and offers pizza, there’s a smaller location that has the character. This one, going by the same name and just a stone’s throw away from its older sister restaurant, is but a year old. While it offers a range of pasta dishes, the café specializes in panini, which are available in full or half portions. The most popular are the grilled chicken and the ham, basil pesto and fresh mozzarella, both of which are accompanied by a salad of greens, pickled onions, olives, and a healthy dose of balsamic vinegar.
Most of the items on the menu are either organic or homemade. The ham is from the United States, the mozzarella fresh, the pesto homemade and the range of fruit juices freshly squeezed and made from scratch in the shop. If the tasty ginger and lemon teas don’t tickle your fancy, you can indulge in a variety of wines or sangria.
Perhaps the most important feature of Hu’s Table is stacked against a wall in the corner. A bookshelf stocked with color pencils and paper provides patrons with a chance to leave a personal message on the already-adorned walls. Hu, the owner, wanted customers to have a platform to tell their stories. It’s a library of beautiful post-its; some scary, some childish, some declaring wedding dates, and some simply appreciative of the good food. Whatever your taste, or message, spending a few quiet hours at Hu’s Table allows you to revisit your childhood and leave a mark, however small, somewhere in Korea.
Small café: From Anguk Station, exit 2, follow the road for about 10 minutes (it curves to the right). Hu’s Table is across the road to your left, opposite a CU Mart. (02) 766-5061.
Restaurant: From Anguk Station, exit 2, walk straight. Turn right at the first intersection. Take the second left. Hu’s Table is on an incline to your right. (02) 742-5061.
Groove Korea website