At the Doughroom in Seoul’s Seorae Village, pasta is a must.
Head chef Yoon Dae-hyun and team make eight varieties of pasta from scratch, proofing pasta dough for four to 24 hours before crafting coils of gossamer thin capellini and curved shells of cavatelli.
“Pasta is our main event,” said Yoon, 29, before explaining that each variety of pasta is used in its own special dish to bolster awareness of pasta’s diversity.
For example, one can order “ravioli, tomato” or “orechiette, spinach” off the restaurant’s casual clipboard menu, gleaning an idea of what one will get from further explanations detailed on the menu or by peering into a showcase where all the pasta is on display.
|The Doughroom by Soigne opened in late November in Seoul’s Seorae Village (Photo credit: Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)|
The artisanal pasta concept seems to be right in sync with the times.
Less than one month into business and the Doughroom is already a hip destination for foodies. Even during weekday lunch hours the restaurant is a full house, with walk-ins vying for the few remaining unreserved tables.
The Doughroom was already getting plenty of diners only a few days after it opened in late November, according to Yoon.
“I’m wondering how word spread so fast,” he said. “Now you can’t reserve the day of on weekends, you need to reserve at least three days in advance.”
Word of mouth seems to have spread like wildfire partly because of Doughroom co-owner and executive chef Lee Jun’s reputation.
Chef Lee started amassing a loyal following while helming a series of popular pop-ups including Jun the Pasta. Lee then went on to launch Soigne, a fine dining affair, in Seorae Village in 2013.
After two years of establishing his reputation in high-end dining at Soigne, Lee circled back again to pasta by expanding with a second restaurant — the Doughroom.
“If there was no Jun the Pasta, there would have been no Soigne,” said Yoon. “So we went back to our roots.”
Coming back to pasta was not only about revisiting the past, but about taking from that experience and moving forward, developing their own personal approach to pasta.
“We can showcase more,” said Yoon, who also stressed that the Doughroom does not specialize in traditional Italian dishes.
More means plates of thick strands of pappardelle, weighted down by a rich and piquant lamb ragu, buckwheat cannelloni filled with cabbage and mushrooms and ridged, flute-shaped garganelli in a Bolognese sauce.
There is also squid ink capellini, fine and delicate, like its other name, angel hair.
|The Doughroom’s “capellini, ink” features handmade squid ink-infused angel hair pasta with shrimp in a rich sauce of emulsified butter, roasted garlic puree and shrimp-infused oil. (Photo credit: Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)|
Black threads of barely briny pasta are liberally drenched in a rich sauce of emulsified butter, roasted garlic puree and shrimp-infused oil.
It is not hard to see why this is a crowd favorite, as pointed out by the helpful staff.
Even though there already eight types of pasta available, Yoon and team are already busy adding another handmade pasta to their repertoire — tajarin, the thin, eggy pasta that hails from Italy’s Piedmont region.
“We will try to start serving it in December,” Yoon said.
Plans are to eventually sell pasta to-go as well, so that regulars can dine in and take some for the road.
Doughroom by Soigne
2F, 797-20, Bangbae-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul
Open daily noon to 3 p.m., 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., closed Sundays and Mondays
Appetizers cost 13,000 won to 22,000 won, sides 3,500 won to 25,000 won, pasta 18,000 won to 26,000 won, secondi 33,000 won to 55,000 won, desserts 9,000 won