We knew Manoj Sharma for his fabulous Indian dishes served at Jugaad, but now, we discover the chef in a brand-new genre: Korean cuisine. It is with his wife Sangmi Lee – who comes from Korea – that the chef opened Seoul Mama in 2018 in Paris 15th arrondissement. Now, the couple opens a new Seoul Mama in Paris, but this time, a stone’s throw from the jardin du Luxembourg.
In a quiet and minimalist atmosphere, this Korean bistro with large patio doors, bathed in daylight, is a genuine invitation to flavors. Here, no Korean barbecue or banchan, but Korean cuisine paying tribute to its origin, while emphasizing the French know-how through perfectly-sourced meats and local vegetables.
Seoul Mama shines a light on quality meats – Black Angus beef, Iberic pork (€24) – skillfully paired with Korean flavors and preparations, here some ssamjang sauce (typical Korean condiment based on spicy soy paste), there some gochujang (fermented chili pepper paste from Korea) vinaigrette. There a way to prepare meats that reminds us of Jugaad: perfectly grilled on the outside, they are incredibly smooth on the inside. Without forgetting this nice prime rib of beef (€23) cooked at low temperature, like a stew: the perfect connection between France and Korea.
And if you are told about Korean food you immediately think of bibimbap, then you will not be failed. This Korean classic is on the menu of Seoul Mama. Called dupbap, it is available with beef (€19), pork, chicken, or vegan-style with tofu and avocado; like the famous Korean curry. Based on rice, plenty of colorful vegetables, egg yolk, sauce and very hearty pieces of meat, Seoul Mama dupbap is one of the best we had in a long time. Hearty while light, flavorful and colorful, we would gladly have some more right now!
As for starters, Seoul Mama has decided to shine a light on Korean street-food, too often limited to tteokbokki, as delicious as this spicy rice cakes are, and bung’eoppang, the famous cakes stuffed with sweet adzuki bean paste and shapes like fishes. Manoj Sharma and Sangmi Lee wanted to served exclusive street-food dishes that are very naughty.
For instance, the incredible kimchi balls (€10.5), fried rice, kimchi and mozzarella balls to dip in spicy wasabi mayonnaise; Korean dumplings; smoked eggplant; the staple Korean Fried Chicken, as well as egg gochujang (€9.5) a new version of French classic deviled egg, with smoked bacon and a good dose of gochujang; proof again of Manoj Sharma and Sangmi Lee’s will to connect both gastronomies on the plates.
In addition to this very delightful menu, Seoul Mama Luxembourg invites to toast with an incredible list of cocktails using the most famous Korean alcohols, soju and makgeolli first to include them in exclusive recipes. For instance, have a soju mule (soju, lemon juice, cucumber, ginger ale; €12), or some shiso nunchi (gin, yuzu syrup, tonic, red shiso leaf, lime juice; €13). So good.
Definitively the perfect Korean address that lacked in the 5th arrondissement!
This test has been carried out as part of a business invitation. If your experience is different from ours, please let us know in the comments.
Dates and Opening Time
Starts 2 February 2022
Seoul Mama Luxembourg
245 Rue Saint-Jacques Bis
75005 Paris 5