Not long ago I visited Tutto Bene, a restaurant famed for its ultra-super-delicious Tiramisu for the first time. I must say their Tiramisu left an impactful impression on me — It was so good that I am looking forward to another visit soon. Located in the lavish community of the Chungdam area, Tutto Bene serves fine, fusion Italian cuisine in a quaint ambience. Having said that, they have an impressive wine list, possibly one of the best in Seoul, making them a popular pick among expats in South Korea.
Tutto Bene is permanently closed. Chef Lee Jaehun has started a new restaurant 있을 재 (在) at Sinsa-dong. The new restaurant continues to inject the Korean element into western-style creative cuisine.
The interior of the restaurant is very quaint but slightly
cramped cosy I would say. The vintage interior helps in transiting the atmosphere into a romantic one, suitable for an evening date. The long, narrow corridor. the lace door panels, the antique bookshelf, the ivory canvas lampshade, Indochine armchairs, everything look straight out of a foreign land, emitting a mysterious yet romantic charm.
The chef, Lee Jae Hoon received his training and accumulated experiences in Piedmont and Tuscany before coming back to South Korea. Tutto Bene has another name in traditional characters — “萬事快調” , that means “Everything is fine” – blending unique house music, vintage wine and good fusion Italian cuisine together, I don’t think anything can seriously go wrong here.
We settled down with Black Pork Tagliatelle and Cream Mushroom Risotto with Beef, and it was time to select the wine for the night. They have quite a comprehensive collection of wine, from old to the new world. The cute sommelier suggested Tridente Tempranillo of 2010, a Spanish wine from Bodegas Triton Winery.
Tridente Tempranillo of 2010. The wine comes in a darker shade. As expected, it was brimming with sweet scents of black berries and dark chocolate (two of my favourite combination when it comes to red wine), with some tinkling spice detected at the back. Thick and dense in texture, this rich drink would make a wonderful pair with red meat. I am not an expert in wine appreciation, but this particular one just captured everything I like for my wine so… a thumbs up!
First dish of the night: Black Pork Tagliatelle. The pasta was cooked to the perfect al dente while the pork was in right tenderness. Tomato was the ingredient that gave that refreshing kick. Topping the tomato-pork gravy was a generous amount of cheese flakes, showered so beautifully on top of the dish, elevate it into a bold dish. A nice start, Delizioso!
Cream Mushroom Risotto with Beef Tenderloin. Cream and mushroom are always the perfect flavour combo. I love how thoroughly the risotto rice are infused in the woodsy mushroom flavour. Tenderloin on top was seared to the perfect crisp, light and juicy. Attention was paid to detail for preparing the dish!
The second bottle for the night was a 2003 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley’s Howell Mountain. The Basic note was my favourite combi again: a heavy black-fruity base with a light touch of mocha. I don’t know if it was only me or did anyone else detected a slight lavender note lingering at the background? Anyway, it was soooooo good that I wanted to store a few bottles home.
Since there were plenty of wine remained, we decided to order another dish to compliment the beautiful wine. And so the third dish was stir fried flat tripes, or some might call it “mountain chain”, basically refers to the rumen (a part of cow’s stomach) which is soft in texture. I forgot to take a picture of the dish so I got the picture above from a Tistory blogger who ordered the same dish. It tasted like a Beef Kway Teow Noodle from zhichar store, I mean, real good zhichar store. Perhaps it was the nice, smokey flavour of wok-hei (breath of the wok that usually make the dish good) that made the dish taste similar to our local dish. I totally did not expect that but well, I liked it.
Last but not least, dessert for the night: the Tutto Bene Tiramisu. Let me give you some background about their Tiramisu here. It was rated as top five Tiramisu in South Korea on Poing app (a popular South Korean food & lifestyle smartphone application) and scored 4 out of 5 points, the highest among all 5 other Tiramisussss. The serving is generous. I think it is a good portion shared by two. Using mascarpone cheese in their tiramisu, the texture was sensually tantalizing, with the taste of cocoa, coffee and the intoxicating flavour of brandy. Their tiramisu was the best I ever had in Korea thus far, not only noteworthy, but impressive. I am very sorry, but I simply couldn’t find suitable adjectives to tell you how it taste. Maybe you should go down and give it a try and come out an adjective of your own ;p
Writer’s Note: Mains are great, but certain dishes are towards mediocre. Tiramisu was absolutely delectable. The atmosphere was romantic and the service was attentive. Professional sommelier available to help with selecting your kind of wine, which was great. One side note is that I find wine price in Korea quite ridiculous, but that wasn’t the problem with the restaurant anyway. It is a wise location for important date night, or even girls’ night out.
Tutto Bene 뚜또베네 (Closed Permanently)
118-9, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
서울시 강남구 청담동 118-9
Lunch Hours: 12pm-3pm
Dinner Hours: 6pm-11pm (Dinner only on Monday)
Although the nearest subway station is Apgujung Rodeo Station (압구정로데오역), the restaurant is still quite a distance from the station. I suggest you to take a taxi down to the restaurant. But if you insist on walking from the nearest station, please exit from Exit No.2, walk all the way down where you’ll pass by Galleria Department Store, SM entertainment, Ferragamo. Before you finally reach Michael Kors, turn into the side lane beside Michael Kors, and you’ll reach Tutto Bene in no time.
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