Cycle 14 – Item 162
16 (Fri) June 2023
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
Try Every Restaurant in Scandi Mall (7) (see TERSM)
Vinitus is a Spanish restaurant, more of a pub. Offers a handful of tapas and a few other dishes. The name of the place is a portmanteau of “VIctoria NIke on TUSsock,” whatever that means.
Given my affinity for Spanish cuisine, I was most looking forward to trying this place.
For starters, I was disappointed by the limited selection of food. Only 4 tapas, which didn’t include gambas al ajillo – the omission is strange, given the overwhelming popularity of the dish these days, the only Spanish dish that is known to the masses. I could complete TEIV (Try Every Item at Vinitus) in 3 visits.
Second, not surprisingly, I was saddened by the high prices. A bowl of olives cost 12,000 won (worth maybe 4,000 won). Tapas start at 15,000 won for the patatas bravas – merely fried potatoes topped with a fried egg (worth maybe 8,000 won). The pintxo (misspelled “pincho”) is 15,000 won for 3 pieces – a quick internet search confirms that pintxos in Spain still range from 1 to 3 euros, same as when I’d encountered them 9 years ago (see 5.197 Pintxos). There’s nothing on the menu (in terms of ingredients) that would demand such high prices, except the bogus premium placed on foreign dishes by opportunistic restaurant owners (see for example 14.047 Dimsum Hahaha).
This is why an Italian restaurant charges 20,000 won for a plate of pasta vongole (see for example 14.095 Vongole Ul Myeon) but a Korean restaurant charges only 8,000 won for a bowl of clam noodles (surprisingly, GMTD has no documented cases for bajirak kal guksu in a restaurant setting) (but see 2.203 Bajirak Kal Guksu), even though the cost of ingredients would be the same.
Prices aside, the food was mediocre at best. The construction and plating of the dishes were amateur – see: dried parsley flakes – as if the “chef” had learned everything on YouTube. The flavors were way off, as if the “chef” had never once tasted actual Spanish food. The chipirones – described on the menu as being sourced from Spain, though I’m highly doubtful in light of all the other bullshit – was decent but hardly worth 18,000 won (maybe 12,000 won). After one bite of the potatoes, I knew that we would soon be out of there.
I will never return, at least not of my own accord.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)