J.Hidden House restored and opened in Dongdaemun, fashion district
The J.Hidden House, Seoul’s newest contemporary, destination cafe built into the hereditary foundations of a grand traditional Korean courtyard house (hanok) over a 100 years old (registered 1915), opened its doors in the fashion and shopping mecca of Dongdaemun this week.
The grand opening follows Seoul’s continued development as a trend-setting, global tourist destination and local aspirations to provide consumers with world-class offerings that showcase “the Best of Modern Korea.”
Situated within a spacious 300 square-meter secluded enclave housing a zen bamboo garden, the J.Hidden House is a beautiful blend of traditional and modern design which has been hand-crafted and curated in intentionally understated, contemporary minimalism. It is one of the largest hanoks open to the public today within the traditional “sadaemun” (great four gates) inner district of the Chosen dynasty’s (1392 – 1897) capital Hanseong (Seoul).
From a bespoke 8 meter wet bar set in Italian terrazzo tile, the J.Hidden House offers world-class curated coffees, teas, and refreshments, as well as a tailored menu of bakeries and spirits cultivated by Korea’s leading and most cutting-edge food and beverage companies.
The establishment is introducing exclusive bakeries made with the high-quality ingredients sourced from around the world, coupled with Korean flavors, such as the “J. Jeju Croissant, a freshly baked croissant, made with the highest-grade French butter and filled with hazelnut chocolate topped with Jeju green tea powder.
The seasonally catered coffee beans are supplied by Devastate, one of Korea’s leading coffee roasters known for bespoke tailoring to the upscale, high-end palates of hallyu movie and TV stars and Cheungdam Dong and Hannam The Hill patrons.
The craft beer selection is from The Hand and Malt Brewing Co., the first Korean craft brewery to be acquired by the world’s largest brewing Anheuser-Busch InBev earlier this year and winner of multiple awards from specialist publications like Beer Post, Korea’s leading beer & culture magazine, and Beer Master Club, the nation’s largest craft beer aficionado social media group. Among the stand-out beer selection is “Zzalmac,” an exceptionally light and tropical tasting golden ale, which goes perfectly with J.Hidden House’s signature crispy “J. Jugyeom (Korean bamboo salt) Fries.”
The visually stunning and healthy fruit and herbal teas are all special recipes made with fresh seasonal fruit of Korea reflecting the peninsula’s four distinct seasons. These include Korean persimmon, pear, melon, and Jeju hallabong. A house staple favorite is “J. Lemon Cream Latte,” a marriage of zesty lemon and whole milk cream.
For the upcoming winter season, the J. Hidden House’s signature hot menu selection is homemade “J. Daegu Apple Cider” and J. Vin Chaud,” a warm, mulled and 100 percent organic wine cocktail incorporating cinnamon, ginger, and citrus that is a staple at Christmas markets all over Europe.
Located in an exclusive “hidden,” but immediately accessible location in downtown Seoul, the destination offers a special passage back in time into a tranquil, spacious serenity despite being centrally situated in Dongdaemun, one of the city’s busiest commercial districts and a major tourist destination for shopping and historical site seeing. Outside its doors is Korea’s National Treasure #1 Heungjnjimun (the Great East Gate), Dongdaemun Market and Zaha Hadid designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization, visitors to Korea in the first half of 2018 increased by 6.9 percent year on year to 7.22 million tourists. When excluding Chinese visitors, the number of tourists increased 12.2 percent year on year to 5.05 million people, the largest-ever recorded number of inbound tourists to date.
“Seoul has become a destination for the world to visit and Korea’s rich culture has so much to offer. This establishment is a fusion of our country’s traditional heritage and dynamic modernization by coupling a cutting-edge modernity within the protected, mindful walls of a ‘hidden’ hanok that was built before the Korean War and has stood the test of time,” said Grace Jun, proprietor of the J.Hidden House. “Our aim is to provide locals and tourists from around the world with a location and a curated food and beverage offering on caliber with any destination cafe in the world while offering what is uniquely and proudly Korean.”
The gentrification of central Seoul by aspiring young, hip Korean entrepreneurs who have traveled abroad and understand what today’s well-traveled, global patrons want has boomed in recent years. The neighborhoods of Ikseon dong, Bukcheon and Seochon have seen a proliferation of specialty craft shops, bakeries, breweries and diverse restaurants over the past three years. The J. Hidden House is now bringing that gentrification trend to the heart of the historic shopping mecca that is Dongdaemun.
The J.Hidden House was designed by Design Mori, a boutique design shop credited for helping the meteoric emergence of Ikseon dong hanok village an area that has become immensely popular among global tourists and young locals for its hip shops and unique cafes built into small renovated traditional Korean houses. Prior to J.Hidden House, which is Design Mori’s most ambitious and largest project to date, the design firm built Summer, Salon de Bangkok and Simple Tokyo in Ikseon dong.