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Elbon the Table

Seoul, South Korea

Celebrity chef gives modern European cuisine a 'crazy' Korean twist

Known as the 'crazy chef' for his daring and unusual flavour combinations, Hyun Seok Choi is Korea's answer to Heston Blumenthal.

The young chef has had no formal training, but instead learned his trade at Seoul's well-respected Italian restaurant La Cucina, before striking out on his own in 2010 with a more avant garde approach.

Part of a hip fashion, food and party concept store in downtown Seoul, Elbon the Table fuses Western and Korean cuisines into innovative dishes, such as xiaolongbao (steamed buns) stuffed with foie gras, and eel and kimchi risotto. Chef Choi also knows when to rein in his adventurous nature with simple classics such as strip loin with five kinds of salt and oven-baked sea bass with olives, capers, anchovy and dried tomato.

Housed in a cool grey, box-like building, the sleek dining room befits the owner's celebrity status with a stripped back industrial-chic interior and long bar and open kitchen where Seoul's cool crowd like to be seen. A fun roof-top garden can be hired out for parties and cookery demos hosted by Choi.

As well as making regular TV appearances, the chef has also gone on to open other branches of Elbon the Table – another in Seoul and one in Goyang.

On the pass

  • Hyun Seok Choi

Style of food

  • European-Korean fusion

Standout dish

  • Foie gras with kochu-chang (spicy bean paste) ice cream