‘You have to visit Mint when you go to Jeju!’, my friend told me. I was reluctant to go there at first. It’s not because I didn’t trust my friend’s recommendation but because it was quite far from Jeju City, which I used as a base for exploring Jeju Island for 3 days.
After 2 days of packed sightseeing with a bus tour, I decided that I should slow down the pace to enjoy this laid back island properly. To get to the restaurant, I had to travel to the eastern side of the island. Taking a taxi, although faster, would cost me a bomb. Instead, I used a public bus to travel to this restaurant by myself. First, I took a taxi from the hotel to the inter-city bus terminal to get a bus ticket to the famous Seongsan Ichulbong (aka Sunrise Peak). The bus ride took me about 1.5 hr. After that I hailed a cab from the street and it was a mere 10-min drive to reach Phoenix Resort, where the restaurant is. From the resort lobby, you can either choose to walk to the restaurant (20 min) or just take another short bus ride (5 min, every 20 min) to the restaurant. Because I wanted to walk back after the meal, I opted to take a free shuttle bus instead.
Mint is located on the second floor of the beautiful Glass House. The building was designed by the world-renowned architect ‘Tadao Ando’. On the ground floor of the building, there’s Zippo Museum, which is more like a souvenir shop to me than a proper museum.
I made a reservation by phone one day in advance. I got a table next to the glass window. It has a nice view of the grassy terrain below. I chose a 4-course set lunch (42,000 won) and a glass of red wine.
I also chose all the chef’s recommendation dishes for each course. The first dish was salmon cheese roll. From the photo, you can see that the salmon was not rolled properly. Taste wise, I felt the cheese overpowered the slightly salty salmon, It was indeed not a memorable dish.
The second dish was sweet pumpkin soup. As the name suggests, the soup was a little sweet. It had a homely taste to it and I enjoyed it a lot.
The main course was 150g of premium tenderloin steak. The meat was premium beef from Australia. It was cooked well. The meat was juicy and tender although the size was a bit too small for my liking. Overall, it was a good steak.
The wine serving was generous. However, the waitress didn’t know much about the wine. When I asked her for more details, she could not explain to me what kind of grape or from what country the wine was from. Maybe, her English was just not good enough.
The dessert was a strawberry shortcake. The sponge cake was light and the cream was fresh. However, I’ve had many better shortcakes especially from the Japanese bakeries before. This one was just ok – nothing outstanding.
After the lunch, I had a short walk around the restaurant. The scenery was spectacular. For fans of great architecture, you should also visit Yumin Art Nouveau Gallery, which was just nearby too. The building was also designed by Tadao Ando. The entry ticket came with free audio guide. The art nouveau glass collection inside the museum may not be extensive but the design of the building was truly worth the ticket price.
In summary, a meal at Mint was a unique dining experience. The food quality was good although no dishes were outstanding on their own. Note that it is actually not a fine dining restaurant as it is advertised. The food alone would not be worth traveling so far from Jeju City but the architecture and the scenery make up for it! If you visit Jeju and have a car or stay around the east side of the island, I strongly recommend that you add Mint into your list of must-visit places. Also, make a reservation in advance to ensure that you’ll get a table with great view.
Do let me know if you have any comments or questions below. I hope you have a great week ahead with lots of yummy food.
*The Mbassadors paid for their own meal (ouch!) unless otherwise stated.
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