Filipinos love anything Korean and their cooking is definitely not an exemption. Most establishments we know serving Korean dishes though are a bit intimidating and pricey, but that was then.
Welcoming a Korean national to the family, acquainted the Chuas to the latter’s culture and tradition that inevitably involved its cuisine. And this fascination on one of our Asian neighbors was even heightened by their group visit there a few years back. This was when Jiselle and her sister thought of putting up a Korean diner for Filipinos with one main objective in mind- to provide an authentic yet affordable Korean dining experience that suits the Filipino palate.
Leann’s seems like a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the stretch of Mother Ignacia Street, Quezon City. It’s actually not that hard to locate since it’s just along the main road but parking space can be a bit of a challenge so I don’t suggest bringing your car unless you’re willing to park by the side street. The façade looks very homey and cozy. It’s like visiting one of your friends’ house to enjoy his or her mom’s delectable cooking one fine day. I was even surprised to know that it is the Chuas’ ancestral house transformed into restaurant. The ground floor is for the receiving of the guests with two small tables that rea only being used if the upper floors are packed. This is also where the kitchen is so be ready to be greeted by the enticing smell of their food by the door. The newly renovated interior is mostly umber with carefully chosen accent pieces that you’ll normally see in a Korean household. The couches are very comfortable and they have just installed new stoves in every table for your Korean BBQ craving!
Now, this Korean BBQ craze I heard from my friends compelled me to check out Leann’s Samgyeopsal and Woosamgyeop. For only PHP349, you can enjoy unlimited Pork Belly meat to go with your fresh, crispy lettuce and ssamjang, a thick ad subtly spicy paste that adds flavor to the dish. Add another hundred bucks and you’ll get the unlimited Beef Belly meat. I was told that part of Korean tradition in eating Samgyeopsal, or any other meal for that matter, is to have Soju with it. I was hesitant at first since my plan was to have Korean BBQ with rice and not to get drunk with rice wine. On second thought, I’m not always in the mood for something Korean and it’s already an authentic Korean dining experience I was being offered with so I thought it wouldn’t be so bad to give it a try.
Taking a shot of Soju before a meal sets your mood and conditions your palate and stomach. It’s like literally warming up before a hard, unlimited meat fight! To add up to the drinking drama, you must take it in a shot glass. In a typical Korean dining table, you’re not supposed to pour yourself a drink. An older member of the family will hand you the shot glass and he will pour the drink for you. Since I was alone, I had no choice but to do it myself and enjoy my solo Soju party. I have heard stories, both good and bad, about Soju sessions of friends and I enjoyed mine.
I grilled my first batch of pork belly meat. I like it well done especially when I’m eating it with crisp veggies so it usually gives me enough time to enjoy my Soju and prepare the lettuce and ssamjang. Best thing about Leann’s ssamjang is that it’s not too spicy just like how native Koreans would have it. Their ssamjang is adjusted to fit the taste of most Filipinos. It’s still spicy yes but, trust me, even your younger brother can handle it. Overall, the meal was worth it for PHP349! My only regret was that I didn’t tag someone along with me to share the unlimited meat. I imagine it’s best consumed over a good laugh with your friends or catching up stories with your family after a long work week.
In case you’re wondering who Leann is, she Jiselle’s niece. The restaurant was named after her the same year it was built and she was born. ☺
Phone: +63.2 411.8902
E-mail: leannsteahouse at gmail.com
Hours: Tue – Sun: 11:00AM – 2:00PM / 6:00PM – 10:00PM
Address: 105-R Mother Ignacia Corner Sct. Madrinan Street, South Triangle, Tomas Morato, Quezon City 1100
Pop culture connoisseur, minimalist, and a picky eater, he brainstorms with himself on Sunday nights obsessing about his existential dilemmas then regrets all of it the following day. He is finally done ghost writing for other people and now decided to have a byline of his own.