Drinking Korean tea from a shot glass? I say, “Bottoms up!”
This is just one of the many reasons why Korean restaurant, Leann’s Tea House, is worth your visit. A few blocks away from Quezon Avenue MRT Station, easily accessible by riding a truck or by foot, Leann’s Tea House serves the kind of comfort food that will tickle your taste buds and get you coming back for more. The restaurant is owned and run by a family of food connoisseurs, and is named after one of their daughters.
The three-floor restaurant opened their doors to the public last April 5, 2014, with the goal to serve Korean food and tea to the metro foodie at an affordable price, without skimping on the quality. A quick scan of the menu shows that they offer a wide variety of dishes, ranging from grilled meat, kimbaps or rice rolls, korean ramen to jjigae or soup.
For someone from the southern metro area like me who doesn’t usually frequent the vicinity, the question is, “Is the experience worth it?” Read on and find out.
Any Korean restaurant would make sure to serve banchan, or small servings of side dishes, to whet the appetite. At Leann’s Tea House, they serve their customers four side dishes: the usual Kimchi, Lettuce Salad, Potato Salad, and Bean Sprouts. The best part is, the banchan serving is unlimited. The Potato Salad stood out among the four side dishes, looking like a round omelet topped with three raisins. I enjoyed the Potato Salad more than the other side dishes because, apart from the flavor it packs in every spoonful, it’s not something I usually see served before a meal in other similarly-themed restaurants.
The Seafood Pancake was a tasty appetizer. With several kinds of seafood thrown into the mix, plus an ample dose of vegetables to complete the healthy dish, one would find the Seafood Pancake a preferable dish to start their meal with. A dip into the sweet condiment that is served along with it provides the kind of flavor that your taste buds would chase after until entrees are served.
For the heavy spicy eater, the Spicy Squid would make an excellent choice to get you sweating. Thick, bite-sized squid cuts with mixed into what is essentially a salad swimming in spicy sauce will make you not think twice about eating and finishing your greens. Don’t be fooled by the intensity of the red sauce, as the dish is only moderately spicy. The fresh and superior quality of the squid served, along with the thought and flavor that went into this fiery red dish, makes this a certified crowd favorite among the foodies in our group.
Japchae, as popularized by many Korean restaurants, features glass noodles with mixed vegetables and savory strips of beef. I especially liked that the dish tasted very fresh and reflects the quality of ingredients that they have included into the dish. If you’re not feeling adventurous with your order and want to grab a bite of a dish you’d know what to expect, make sure to include Japchae. You’ll never go wrong with it.
One of the highlights of having lunch or dinner at Leann’s Tea House is grilling your own Samgyeopsal (pork belly) and Woosamgyup (beef belly). I have zero knowledge when it comes to cooking, and not burning anything on the stove has always been a great challenge for me, but I cooked portions of the meat and shared it with the rest of the group. Hah. Easy.
Kidding aside, taking charge of the Korean grill makes the experience more authentic for the diners, as they get to cook their own food, dip it into their condiment (of varying degrees of spiciness) of choice, and choose the manner of eating the meat. Leann’s Tea House’s ongoing promo will get you grilling meat in no time. For only Php 349, get Unli Samgyeopsal, and Php 399 for an unlimited serving of both Samgyeopsal and Woogyeopsal.
There were so many other memorable dishes, such as the Kimchi Bokkeumbap or Kimchi Fried Rice, a subtly spiced generous serving of fried rice oozing with the appetizing Kimchi taste. With a huge serving of beed, zucchini, radish, beansprouts and shiitake mushrooms on top of steaming hot rice served in the usual hot stone pot, their Bibimbap looks big enough to be shared by two people. And for rolls? The Tonkatsu Kimbap, deep fried rice roll wrapped in breaded pork, is a great way to forget your diet commitments and go all out on the rice.
Leann’s Tea House’s Seafood Soybean Soup is a healthy, not to mention savory, choice for soup. At Php 300, it’s good value for money since the serving is big enough to be shared by two people, and maybe stretch it even to three, especially with the heavy portions of vegetables and various kinds of seafood.
Apart from the line-up of Korean comfort food that Leann’s Tea House is slowly gaining popularity for, their fruit teas and dessert teas are also noteworthy and should not be missed on your next visit. Koreans have very good tea, and Leann’s aim to make great-tasting tea available to locals. Most of the Korean Teas are fruit-based that the restaurant owners feel would appeal to the Filipino taste. For their dessert teas (none of which are as sweet as desserts, so no reason to feel guilty!), choose from Honey Jujube Tea, Honey Citron Tea, and Honey Ginger Tea. For the Frozen tea variants (seen in the first photo), there’s Black Tea, Red Ginseng Tea, Green Tea, and Omija or Fruit Punch Tea, to love. I especially favored the Green Tea variant because of the milky consistency, making it taste like sweetened green tea.
For desserts, they have Melona Ice Cream to indulge your sweet tooth with. They even serve complimentary ice cream in Vanilla and French Vanilla flavors!
What I especially liked about Leann’s Tea House is that it’s located on a nice spot accessible to many, yet feels far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The service was excellent, and the serving size and inclusions of most dishes provide proof of value for money. Apart from that, they can accommodate a big number of people. The third level of the restaurant acts as a function room for private events that can house about fifty guests. Lastly, the Korean dining experience was made richer with the introduction of Korean teas, a tea variety that the general foodie crowd has yet to catch on to.-HANA
PS: I’m giving away a Php 900 GC to one lucky winner! Watch out for the deets on my next blog post!