Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Resto with a View - Cafe IOU

I call some restaurants 'SAP's. SAP standing for 'Such A Pity'. Unfortunately, Cafe IOU falls into that category. In fact, it can be filed under SABP - Such A Bloody Pity.
I mean, look at that view! Look at that fabulous view! And that was taken through glass with my point-and-shoot so you can be sure that the real thing is far more breathtaking. The sunset glow on the River Han, lights slowing blinking in the city night, trails of carlights lining the riveredge highway, the shadows of the hills and mountains in the background; it's just beautiful.
It wasn't only in that room of ours, either. The restaurant itself is situated on top of a hill with floor to ceiling full glass windows, so wherever you may be seated the view is there.

The restaurant is very much the ideal place to view the Seoul International Fireworks Festival which is held right across the river; that side being completely mobbed during the festival. (FYI, the festival is held every year but is being cancelled this year due to the swine flu epidemic.)

My wine group gathered for our monthly tasting (er, in August) and the table setting was fine.

So what's the SAP part? Well, unfortunately, the food.

Cafe IOU serves fusion cuisine.
I'm not that fond of fusion. I've come to believe that most fusion food is actually confusion food, neither this nor that, and not in a good way. Of course, there are restaurants that do serve excellent fusion dishes but I've discovered that most of those restaurants are firmly identified as Korean, French, Italian, Chinese and such with fusion dishes compromising just a small portion of their menus.
When a restaurant emphasizes fusion cuisine forefront, well, that spells trouble. Or, in my case, a high possibility of being SAP.

Anyhow. The dishes we ordered looked good to the eye; the presentation wasn't that bad. The flavors however, were quite lacking. I wanted to dunk everything in either soy or gochujang or mayonnaise or whatever condiment that would fit.

Maybe the view raised my expectations. Maybe the cozy atmosphere clouded my taste buds. Maybe the chef wasn't in top notch condition that evening. Maybe the food was just simply bland.
To make matters worse, the kitchen closed without any last order warning and our group was left still hungry. (As you can see, the portions aren't that large either.)
Because of the view, a couple of cute cozy rooms (they have a "proposal room" with a skylight), a beautiful terrace and lawn, it should be an ideal place for a romantic date. But only if you're either on a diet and plan on eating salads, or if you're going on a special events night where they set up a buffet table. I haven't tried the buffet but I'm assuming it can't be as bad as the à la carte menu.
WARNING: The last time I visited their website my computer got infected with the Trojan virus, so if your vaccine program isn't up to date I advise you not to click.
P.S. They say there's a new chef at the restaurant since the last time our group visited. I will post a new review should I visit again.

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