Sunday, March 22, 2015

Korean Comfort Food at Leann's Tea House

It's always a thrill to discover a new dining spot away from the crowded malls, far away from the usual commercial districts.  Here's one such place...

Tucked away in one of the many residential neighborhoods of Quezon City is Leann's Tea House, one of the area's hidden gems serving comforting home-style Korean cuisine. The flavors are pure and honest, without the usual frills of a major food chain, and with reasonable prices too.

The story of Leann's Tea House revolves around two sisters, Jiselle Chua and Jacklyn Chua-Park, who is married to a Korean. Named after Jacklyn's first child, Leann's Tea House offers warm and comforting home-style Korean cuisine, combining a rustic authenticity with an affordable pricing structure for a winning combo.

Since it opened in April last year, Leann's Tea House has gained quite a loyal following for its Korean dishes and reasonable prices. At Leann's Tea House, you can find a wide array of Korean dishes, from grilled meats to kimbaps or rice rolls, to noodles and jjigae or soups. Every meal starts with the traditional Korean Banchan, a variety of vegetable appetizers including the fiery kimchi, bean sprouts, and spinach, ranging from sweet and nutty to mildly spicy. Each little plate is meant to open up your palate before the mains, and Leann's Tea House serves what's in season or fresh at the market.

Have a soothing glass of Frozen Omija Tea (L), a refreshing blend of sweet, sour, salty and bitter at the same time, or perhaps one of many signature Soju Cocktails (R) before the meal, just to get you in the groove. Like they say, it's cocktail hour somewhere in the world.

Leann's Tea House offers a variety of rice rolls, including the unique, creative and crunchy Tonkatsu Kimbap (P 250), with the rice roll wrapped in breaded pork and deep-fried, served with sweet and thick dipping sauce. Inside the rice roll, one can find pickled and fresh vegetables, including Spam, for a complex blend of flavors.

The hearty and comforting Galbi Jjim (P 450 Medium, good for 2-3/P 720 Large, good for 4-5), a sweet and savory beef stew sweetened with plums and fresh vegetables, slowly cooked for hours until the short ribs are fork tender, is another signature dish that's great for sharing. The thick broth bursts with rich flavors in every sip, with a blend of spices and seasonings to complement the beef and vegetables.

Simply pour some broth directly on your bowl of steamed white rice, add some vegetables, and a hefty chunk of tender beef. And repeat. This dish is a meal on its own, perfect for a rainy or sunny day with its rich flavors.

The grilled meats remain one of the more popular dishes at Leann's Tea House, grilled right on your table. The signature L.A. Galbi (P 490), tender barbecued beef short ribs served with the spicy and fermented bean paste or gochujang, and sesame oil with salt. The name of the beef dish is inspired by the way it's cut, sliced across the bone, or "lateral", hence the name "LA." The pure flavors of the beef, simply seasoned, comes through in each bite. Grab a slice, dip it into the oil and salt, lay it on a fresh lettuce leaf then add a dollop of gochujang, a piece of garlic and onion, then roll it all up. It's the best of Korean flavors on a lettuce roll, blending flavor and texture.

Looking for a flavorful kick? Leann's Tea House offers rice dish with that uniquely Korean flavor, the Kimchi Bokkumbap (P 180), a boldly flavored rice dish with kimchi topped with an egg. The sharpness of the kimchi spices are perfectly balanced by the egg, pairing well with the grilled meats.

Then, it's time to grill some more meat, with thinly sliced pork and beef belly. The signature Unlimited Samgyeopsal & Woosamgyup (P 399 per person), offers both full flavors and superior value. First up, the pork belly. And it just takes a few minutes on the grill on each side, and the pork is ready.

Next, the thinly sliced beef belly gets the same treatment at the tabletop grill. You can grill it to your desired doneness, and that's what makes tabletop grilling so cool. It's your meat, just the way you want it. But try not too overcook the meat, or it will get tough. Just a few minutes on each side for that tender and buttery texture...perfect.

The delicate flavors of the tender pork deliver a subtle sweetness, and you can pump up the flavors by adding some sharp gochujang. The thin layers of fat add a buttery richness, and the grilled onion, garlic and spicy gochujang tempers the richness of the pork for balance.

The beef has a more robust flavor, and a dip in the sesame oil with salt is all you need. Roll it up in some fresh lettuce, or pair it with your Kimchi Bokkumbap, and you have a classic Korean meal.

Each order of the Unlimited Samgyeopsal & Woosamgyup include this comforting egg dish poached in chicken stock. Soft and creamy, the dish complements the upfront flavors of the grilled beef and pork belly.

Constructing your own fresh lettuce roll with the grilled meat adds to the dining experience, blending the different ingredients to suit your taste. Leann's Tea House also offers an authentic onion and chives side dish that just goes well with the grilled meat and the spicy gochujang. And if you're ready for another round, go ahead. It's unlimited. And a pretty good deal.

Cap your Korean feast with a soothing cup of Honey Citron Tea, a refreshingly sweet tea with sharp citrus notes. One sip and the lingering flavors of the rich spices are simply washed down.

A wide range of comforting Korean flavors plus superior value for money, this is definitely one of the best deals this side of the metro. And it gets better. You can win one (1) Unlimited Samgyeopsal & Woosamgyup Meal for one person worth P 399 by simply clicking below...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Leann's Tea House is located at 105-R, New World Townhomes, Mother Ignacia Street, Quezon City or call 411-8902 for inquiries.

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  1. This place is in my must-try list for a few weeks now but still have not been there. Thanks for the additional info! =)

    1. Hi Lovelee, great food and great value, thanks for stopping by!

  2. I would love to dine there... I have not eaten much Korean food before and it all looks delicious. :)

    1. Hi Ramona, great to hear from you! Korean cuisine is definitely unique, and a must-try! Thanks Ramona!

  3. I am getting hungry just looking at this!

    1. Hi Candy, thanks, great to hear from you!

  4. I have been to Seoul Korea and this is how they make it there. Leann's is as authentic as you can get. I am glad to have discovered the place.


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