La Marmite Stirs the French Bistro Pot

by Ashley Heil
Groove Korea

Affordable French food is continuing its rise in Seoul. This time, it’s with La Marmite, a new French bistro located in the heart of Haebangchon (HBC). La Marmite, or “The Pot” in French, celebrated its grand opening on August 7th and is a great addition to the eclectic variety of restaurants already in HBC. The highlights of the menu include pan-peppered duck breast, halibut served over risotto, and beef tagliatelle Emiliano ragu.

La Marmite is located on a side street near Bonny’s Pizza in HBC. The restaurant is quaint, with a nice veranda on the outside if you’d like to relax and people watch on a cooler day. Inside, the appearance is nice but also comfortable and inviting enough to welcome you just as you are. The semi-open kitchen adds to the hominess of the restaurant. The French chefs’ passion for their cuisine becomes very apparent as the meal starts to tickle your taste buds. Each plate that was brought out was accompanied by explanations on how to maximize the taste of each dish. The chefs really want to make sure you enjoy French cuisine even if your knowledge of French food is limited.

You may want to start your meal with the duck rillette. It is served cold and is very refreshing to eat on a hot summer day. Accompanied with house-made pickles and warm, freshly baked bread, it’s the perfect starter to a great meal. To accompany your meal, La Marmite serves a great selection of French wines. If you don’t know much about wine, the servers are there again to help choose the perfect wine to go along with your meal.

Now, on to the main plates. For seafood lovers, one of the stars is the halibut served over risotto. This white, flaky, lemony fish does not have an overpowering taste and matches nicely with the prawn-head sauce and creamy risotto served. Next up for the main plates is the tagliatelle emiliano ragu served with tender pieces of beef. While the beef was great, the pasta was delicious by itself: comforting, satisfying, and sure to warm your heart and belly if you’re craving good pasta.

The star of the menu is the magret de canard or the pan-peppered duck breast. It is pan-roasted skin-side down, and served over polenta mixed with cheese and orange pieces. The sweetness of the orange is a very nice contrast to the fatty taste of the duck. Extremely tender and juicy, this duck breast dish alone is worth a trip to La Marmite.

Finally, you can’t leave La Marmite without trying one of their fabulous desserts. The deconstructed lemon pie is served over an Italian meringue, French meringue, and lemon custard. It’s light yet full of flavor, making it incredibly enjoyable for any fan of lemon dessert. Also, the crème brûlée should not be missed. The caramelized crust adds a nice, strong, crunchy contrast to the sweet custard underneath. All in all, the food served here is excellent and a great value for the quality of food. If you want to experience great French food in a comfortable setting, then visit La Marmite in Haebangchon.

Prices: Three and four course dinners KRW 30,000-50,000. Mains KRW 20-35,000.

Recommended dishes: pepper duck breast w/ polenta, halibut w/ prawn head risotto, tagliatelle emiliano

Drinks: French wine by the glass KRW 6,000. French wine by the bottle KRW 27,000-45,000

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