And The Gorilla Said…

Brunch was not created by some high aristocratic group of people, wanting to wine and dine and lackadaisically enjoy their morning. It was not created to allow restaurants to increase their prices and serve alcohol at breakfast. Not even a group of well-to-do men dressed in pinstripe suites with shined shoes living the expatriot life in the hills of Tuscany created the idea of brunch.

Rather, the idea was urged and pushed onto the public back in 1895 by a man by the name of Guy Beringer in an article entitled “Brunch: a plea”. He wasn’t looking for the fancy atmosphere or the posh life-style. He was just looking for a few extra hours to sleep off the hangover from the night before. One of his most convincing arguments, in my book was “to be fashionable nowadays, we must brunch.”

And today, fashionable we are. We know that today brunch is synonymous with Sundays and lazy mornings. It is the meal where people stave off hunger in the early morning just to splurge at a mid-morning-mid-day meal. It is the meal where drinking before noon is okay. It is the meal that could start at 11am or 2pm. It is the meal that says: I’ve got all the time in the world, no worries. It is upper-east side New York City. It is Southern Alabama porches. It is California Beaches. It is London with tea. It is Italy with olive oil. It is Seoul on Dosan Park. It is a Gorilla in the morning.

Seoul has its fair share of cuisines, as you’ve surely seen by now. Indian, Chinese, American, Middle Eastern, Bulgarian, Ethiopian, Italian, Greek, Spanish Tapas, the list goes on. But one type of cuisine I didn’t expect to find here was Brunch. For some reason, I didn’t think that custom would break through. I was wrong.

Located just a few steps away from Dosan Park – a quaint little eco-breath-of-fresh-air in the middle of Apgujeong (home of high end brands and plastic surgery) – is a restaurant named Gorilla in the Kitchen. Gorilla is owned by Bae Yoong-Joon, a famous Korean Hallyu star, and the European-Influenced menu focuses on health. Their placemats, amongst the Korean quips, claim that their restaurant uses “No Cream. No Butter. No Deep Fried. No Worries.”

The interior was pure white, allowing for the people and food to brighten up what is otherwise a blank canvass. Throughout the week – as my mom, Emily, and I discovered about a month ago – they only serve Lunch and Dinner. But the weekend indulges the patrons in Brunch. Boom, no worries. What a perfect place for a lazy Brunch?

Meeting around noon, a friend and I set off to enjoy that magical meal where anything can happen. We both got the Brunch set – she got pancakes and I an omelet. In addition to our mains, we also received a basket of breads, three spreads (fig jam, blueberry jam, and olive oil and balsamic vinegar), a salad, and an Americano.

The pancake was soft, and crepe-like with subtle hints of sweetness to combat the slightly bitter craisins cooked into the plate-sized meal, all topped with sliced banana. The omelet was fluffy and stuffed full of diced vegetables sautéed to enjoyment. Off to the side, sautéed greens with salty Canadian style bacon, a baked tomato stuffed with a rice porridge, and maple glazed new potatoes all played outstanding supporting roles in the Sunday Brunch festival.

After our splurge at Gorilla, we did what any well-respected 20somethings would do, wandered around a park and posed for pictures like we were in magazines.

A Brunch, at its finest. Good atmosphere. Good company. Good Food. No plans for the rest of the day.

For more information about the formation of brunches, how they moved from Britain to America, and what’s changed on the brunch menu throughout the years, check out another post I wrote a few years ago at a blog I used to contribute to: Eat Me Drink Me. 

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