A rare breed: You’ve heard of wagyu, but how about hanwoo? To put it into perspective, wagyu is to Japan what hanwoo is to South Korea. Little known outside of its home country because it’s rarely exported, hanwoo is a breed of cattle indigenous to Korea that is prized for its fat-marbled flesh (with prices to match). However, top-grade hanwoo is laced with less unctuous white fat and ultimately yields meat with a balanced fat-to-flavour ratio.
What’s on the menu? A staggering succession of dishes – typically between 15-18 depending on what’s best that day – that highlight the myriad ways one can prepare hanwoo. A meal could commence with a series of prime, fat-marbled cuts grilled over charcoal, before moving into Korean beef pho and then a bowl of beef ramen. Whimsical plays on the de rigueur katsu sando, and even a take on a Philly cheesesteak round out the extensive meal.
Best seat in the house: Born & Bred is located in a four-storey building that encompasses a butcher shop and casual café (first floor), an à la carte dining hall where meat can be ordered by weight and cut (second floor), and four private dining rooms (third floor). But the real show goes down in the basement-level speakeasy. It’s here that one embarks on the seasonal, multi-course hanwoo adventure comprised of Korea’s highest-grade beef, often under the guidance of owner Jung Sang-won.
What about wine? While Born & Bred offers a wine list heavier on red expressions, it’s not uncommon for guests who book the basement speakeasy to bring their own once-in-a-lifetime bottles.
Fun fact: Proprietor and Born & Bred visionary Jung Sang-won first launched the concept in 2015 as a one-table private restaurant in Seoul’s Majang Meat Market. Born & Bred quickly became a highly coveted, difficult-to-book reservation for both locals and international food enthusiasts, so in 2019 he expanded to the restaurant’s current location.