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[Well-curated] Matcha espresso, salad that eats like meal, Ilya Milstein’s llustration

Feb. 23, 2024 - 09:01 By Kim Da-sol By Choi Si-young By Park Yuna
Mulino's Financier, matcha espresso and tonic water. (Kim Da-sol/The Korea Herald)
Mulino's matcha espresso. (Kim Da-sol/The Korea Herald)

Try Matcha espresso with tonic water, Financier

Koreans love their Americanos, but espresso bars have become more trendy over the last few years, with more than a hundred espresso bars thriving in Seoul's cafe scene.

Mulino Espresso Bar, located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, is the rare combination of a strong espresso shot, cool-temperature whipped matcha cream, eye-pleasing pastel green matcha syrup and tonic water to refresh your mouth after your cup is finished. Try pairing it with a sweet and soft finger-sized financier, which will elevate the sweet and dry espresso.

There are many flavors to try, including citrus, lemon, chocolate and salt caramel something that will appeal to trend-conscious coffee lovers in Korea.

The price of an espresso starts at 3,000 won and goes up to 6,000 won for Bon Bon, a whiskey-inspired espresso shot.

The shop is at Hangangdaero 23 gil 55, and opens from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.

Chickpeace, a Seoul-based salad chain, at Shinsegae Department Store in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. (Choi Si-young/The Korea Herald)
The roasted chicken salad at the Seoul-based salad chain Chickpeace. (Choi Si-young/The Korea Herald)

Salad that eats like a meal

For many in South Korea, salads no longer represent a drab exercise in dieting or self-denial, as people make a conscious choice for concoctions of fresh greens to wake up their taste buds.

The roast chicken salad with pita at Chickpeace -- a Seoul-based salad chain that offers Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired recipes -- is a textbook example of the kind of surprise to expect when chefs are willing to go that extra step: salads that are also indulgent.

Red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, grated carrots, olives and feta might make for an unexciting combination, but a little richness kicks in when everything is augmented with an assortment of hummus, falafel, chickpeas and pita bread.

The nutty hummus adds new flavors at each bite, while the falafel and chickpeas add texture. And everything wrapped in pita completes a hearty meal.

The roasted chicken is tender and moist, thanks to a bit of spiced green sauce lightly spread across it.

Chickpeace operates eight stores, six of which are in Seoul with one each in Incheon and Yongin in Gyeonggi Province. The chain also offers menu options with rice that comes with beef, pork, meatballs or shrimp. Look them up on Instagram

An installation view of "Ilya Milstein : Memory Cabinet" at My Art Museum in Seoul.

Ilya Milstein's llustration

Ilya Milstein is a self-taught Australian illustrator working in New York. Employing both traditional and digital techniques, his work has appeared in The New York Times, New Yorker and Times. He is famously known for his collaboration with LG Electronics.

My Art Museum in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul runs the artist’s first solo exhibition in Seoul “Ilya Milstein: Cabinet of Memory” until March 3. The title “Cabinet of Memories” utilizes the metaphor of a cabinet filled with small objects that evoke a variety of memories and joy. The exhibition includes pictures featuring several family members and friends in everyday scenes.

"Rumination" by Ilya Milstein is on display at the exhibition “Ilya Milstein: Cabinet of Memory” in Seoul. (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)

The highlight of the exhibition is the special Chaekgori section, which draws on the Korean traditional still life painting genre in which books, flowers, fruits and daily objects are displayed. The section was conceived by the artist, displaying the artist’s original drawings that have never been exhibited to the public and a variety of objects he likes. The harmonious arrangement of East and West cultures is extraordinary.

“My style is inspired by a long list of artists and artistic movements -- probably central to them are mid-century Franco Belgian comics, high Renaissance Netherlandish miniature painting and Japanese woodblock prints,” Ilya Milstein once said.