Leann’s Tea House: Of Killer Soju Cocktails and Homecooked Korean Staples

LEANN’S TEA HOUSE — Stumbled upon this new Korean restaurant along Mother Ignacia, perhaps a peculiar name for a place that serves home-cooked staples familiar to a Korean household. A family of food loving entrepreneur’s first venture to the restaurant business, packing recipes from their Korean in-laws that is then transformed to this short menu of classic dishes that’s set to impress — with fresh, quality ingredients they don’t scrimp on the good stuff and I was pleasantly surprised with the stuff we tried.

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Perhaps one of the most raved dish from the stuff that we tried was these Tonkatsu Kimbap – rice roll covered with a crispy layer of breaded pork cutlet. The stuffing of rice, nori, egg, crabsticks, ham, etc… keeps the thin layer of pork on the outer bits moist and succulent. The katsu outer bits give it a nice tinge of crunch before you bite into this roll that gives you a mouthful of great flavors, served with a classic katsu sauce this is a sure hit specially for the kids since it looks and tastes good and it’s certainly fun to eat. A definite must-try.

After munching on their awesome rice rolls, we decided to order some of their soju (rice wine) based cocktails while we wait for the other dishes that we got.

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Their soju-based cocktails are really good! Although the restaurant’s look and feel caters more to a family-style, casual dining setting they do make some killer cocktails that pairs really, really well with their food. We tried Yakult Soju that’s mixed with sprite and it came with this lightly colored drink that has this bubbly, frothy top and a velvety rich finish you can’t even taste the alcohol mixed in. Mine’s called the Mimosa, a rather citrus-y concoction of mango, lemon, and calamansi. It pairs well with most of the stuff we tried specially the dishes that had a nice bit of spice.

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We also tried their Bulgogi Kimbap, basically it’s the same rice roll minus the crunchy katsu outer layer and this time filled with sweet thinly sliced grilled beef strips. It’s still good specially if you like bulgogi and all its sweet, meaty goodness. Although I really wished we tried this bulgogi version first, because after trying the katsu variant, we were just all raves about it and this pretty much failed in comparison.

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Like any other Korean restaurants, they serve a set of banchan with their dishes, these are refillable sides that you can enjoy with the food that you order. On the picture are a plate of their spicy salad, kimchi, potato salad, and some sauteed sprouts and veggies. The banchan selection was quite good. I personally like the salad tossed in this red spicy sauce that gives you this nice bit of spice just enough to whet your appetite and leave you wanting for more. The potato salad and the kimchi are quite nice too.

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They do have an Unli- Samgyeopsal / Woosamgyup promo if you’re really craving for meat and want to eat your fill of pork and beef belly then that would be a great deal for you. As much as I want to avail of the unli pork and beef belly aka happiness that dinner, we ordered a bunch of dishes so going for that meat-all-you-can treat just wasn’t a good idea. I did get an ala carte order of the Samgyeopsal / thinly sliced pork belly for us to try. Served with lettuce and a variety of dips and sauces, its one of the rare instances that I prefer lettuce cups to go with my crisp, grilled up pork belly that a cup of fluffy white rice. 😀

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SAMGYEOPSAL – thinly sliced pork belly, lettuce, dips and sauces

Like I said one of the very, very few instances that I’d rather eat my grilled, crisped up pork belly slices with lettuce cups rather than a piping hot bowl of white rice is if it’s in a Korean restaurant and we’re talking about samgyeopsal. For those that aren’t familiar with the dish, imagine bacon but this time its thinly sliced pork belly that’s not cured nor smoked its grilled at your table side til the edges brown and crisp up and you eat it with lettuce pieces making your own wrap with pieces of grilled onions and garlic and you dip it with this spicy bean / paste like dip that gives it much flavor and a hint of spice that goes well with everything.

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L.A. GALBI – barbecued beef short ribs

I always believed that with cuts of beef, short ribs = flavor. That’s exactly why I love their L.A. Galbi! Pieces of perfectly grilled beef short ribs that are marinated to yield this slight hint of sweetness to it and then you hit it it with that spicy sauce. Goes really well with rice, or the lettuce wrap if you want to keep things on the healthier side. These short ribs are really good, packed with really good flavor and the meat was truly tender and succulent. I think you’ll end up savoring each piece down to the last bit specially the bits and pieces close to the bone where the trimming of fat and flavorful meat is at.

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BEEF BULGOGI – grilled beef sliced into thin strips mixed with vegetables

We also tried their beef bulgogi, another more rice, more fun kind of dish of grilled thinly sliced beef pieces mixed with veggies and this nice sweet sauce, although their version is definitely more soup-y that the other ones I tried, I would’ve preffered the sauce to be a bit thicker so it would adhere bettter to the meat coating it with its sweet and savory awesomeness. Of course I still enjoyed the thinly sliced strips of grilled beef and itssweet flavor and then the veggies going through each bite giving a nice tinge of crunch and contrast in texture. Got some of the sauce and poured it over my warm cup of white rice and then topped it off with a lot of the meat pieces and made a nice rice bowl of some sorts out of it. It’s quite good although I would’ve preferred the sauce to be a bit less soup-y so it would adhere to the meat better.

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SEAFOOD DOENJANG JJIGAE – mixed seafood in soybean soup

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Since most of the dishes we tried have a meat base, we tried their seafood based soup for a change. Good thing it didn’t disappoint, a very flavorful soup base of soybean and the essence of all the bits and pieces of seafood that’s mixed in with the soup – a combination of mainly crustaceans like shrimps, crab, muscles, and some slices of tofu and other veggies makes for this very flavorful broth that’s so very flavorful, warm, and comforting. If you love seafood, then you shouldn’t pass on their Seafood Doenjang Jjigae.

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GALBI JJIM – sweet soy soup base, short ribs, dates, shiitake mushrooms, leeks

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Like I said short ribs yield so much flavor that its very useful in soups and stews, their Galbi Jjim is not yet on the menu but it was this beautfiul concoction of well cooked short ribs, a sweet sauce base of soysauce, sugar, and sesame oil and a number of other ingredients that makes for this sweet and dark colored broth that goes well with the meat pieces, tender potato pieces serves as starch fillers that makes this dish even more enjoyable and filling. One thing I did notice is the slight inconsistency with the meat pieces some of the short ribs were very tender but some were not so much, specially for the bits close to the trimming of fat but since it was a new dish I think it was quite forgivable since the flavor on this one is truly fantastic. For other off-the-menu soup dishes try their chicken with ginseng dish, its flavor profile is closer to our well loved staple, tinola but I think the flavor on this one is more subtle and refreshing. It’s perfect for the rainy days.

I was pleasantly surprised with Leann’s Tea House food, they don’t scrimp on the ingredients and the pricing of the food wasn’t bad at all, still a lot cheaper than the more popular Korean restaurants in malls. If you want to get your Korean food fix in a family style, casual dining setting then you should check out this place. Would certainly go back to get my feel of the Tonkatsu Kimbap, L.A. Galbi and I’ll definitely go for the Unli-Samgyeopsal / Woosamgyup promo that they have, and of course some more of their killer soju-based cocktails.

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Leann’s Tea House

105r Mother Ignacia Avenue
Quezon City
(02) 411-8902
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A small treat for the readers of the blog; craving for meat? Want to eat your fill of their Unli-Samgyeopsal / Woosamgyup (Pork and Beef Belly) we’re giving away vouchers for this promo for two people, join and get a chance to win these vouchers just follow the instructions at the rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UPDATE: Congratulations to Ms. Ria Ramirez and Ms. Princess Cifra sent you guys an email on how to claim your prize (GCs for Leann’s Teahouse Unli-Samgyeopsal / Woosamgyup).

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