Food Guides + Tips

Gatpo Kumakase (갓포 쿠마카세) – Affordable Omakase Dinner in Seoul

The only gratitude I could express to the wintry gale, which was howling tirelessly on the first night of the year, was for ousting me towards the Kumakase storefront – one of the very few diners in the Mokdong area that opened as most were taking a break on January 1st. 

Admittedly, I almost gave up the idea of entering the place. But thankfully, I didn’t. 

Since I had acknowledged what the house was called – the name included almost the entire phase of ‘Omakase’ in it, so, I did get a picture of what we’d get served for the night. Then there was a brief moment of panic because this kind of fare could cost an office worker in a not-chaebol firm like me a fortune. But when we quickly checked out on their outdoor menu stand and saw that their fancy course costed 60,000KW per person, which was fairly cheap for an omakase dinner, we decided to give it a try. Besides, it was too freezing, and wearying to move an inch further outside while my stomach was still empty.

It didn’t take long until we were pampered by a series of plates and bowls. And here are the dishes we got catered with that day.

The first lightest was a plate of smoothly poached egg topped with condensed mushroom soup, sprinkled with bread crumbs. I felt a little bizarre to see that I was appetized by something that looked pretty much like Bue Loi Kai Wan, a Thai dessert that also contains a whole poached egg, only without the colorful rice balls floating around. It took me a while before I gouged out a morsel and put it in my mouth. It was delicious! The savoriness of the soupy texture that seeped through the creamy soft boiled egg yolk made me cry out loud with amazement. 

The second zensai (appetizer) was a tiny fruity platter filled with pieces of pickled plum, cherry tomato and fig, cooked ginkgo nuts, and a thin roll of cream cheese and some sort of meat – maybe a string of ham? I had the least idea on how and in what order I should eat these vibrant items – so, after singly consuming the ginkgo fruits, I gobbled the rest whole. And there was an explosion of flavors inside my mouth. My taste buds were toyed by the succulence, sweetness, and soury pops of the brined fruit elements. And the crunchiness and salty bits of the roll would only amplify my sense of taste. The dish was brilliant!        

The third plate was served in a lovely display. Assorted shellfish sashimi placed in a large oyster case was set on a pile of crushed ice. The seafood seemed to be marinated with seasoning sauce, then ornate with a teaspoon of salmon roe and aromatic remnants. My first thought about this creation was: they shouldn’t have wasted the ice because the food would disappear short in time anyways, lol. And that was exactly what happened after the dish was placed before me. Relishment continued.

The fourth wave of the course was a mini kaisendon (seafood rice bowl), which was sided with a stack of roasted seaweed. We were advised that the kaisendon would taste more delicious when wrapped with a sheet of crispy gim-gui. And unarguably, it did! The amalgamation of seaweed’s saltiness and natural sweetness of very fresh seafood was delightful!

The fifth in line was called ‘moriawase’ which is a mixed, sliced raw fish on a flat plate. The pieces were playfully organized, and tagged with names setting forth what fish were used for the day sashimi. Personally, I am less keen when it comes to Korea’s hoe (raw fish). Its extra sticky, chewy attributes always remind me of the moment I almost choked up from swallowing fast after giving up munching. And many cuts in the raw fish dish of Kumakase’s omakase course were similarly chewy but, somehow, less sticky. The only whit that lulled my resurfaced anxiety was the sole vibrant piece of akami (red meat) in the back of the plate. It was soft, melt-in-your-mouth and sweet. That’s my perfect kind of sashimi.        

As I eventually finished up all the sashimi, the sixth dish in the series was hovering above our table. It was a plate of mouth-watering chunks of black Jeju pork. I was amazed by the size of the food and was very relieved that it was meant for sharing. The pork was very well simmered judging from its beautiful brown color, and soft texture. It was placed on a scoop of mashed potatoes and topped with a handful of sliced onion chives and white leeks. The flavorful gravy was also added. It was utterly delicious after the first few bites. However, it became more cloying as I kept eating. Probably because it was served right after a fair plate of sashimi, and I felt that my mouth needed a little break from crumbly meat, and a portion of carbohydrate now would have been soother. 

After six servings, my carb consuming wish was finally fulfilled. An abalone soba was brought as the seventh dish of the course. Dapped on the surface of the plate beside the buckwheat noodles was a form of morbid puree, which tasted way more delicious than it looked. Mingling the noodles and a slice of cooked abalone with the saucy character gave out umami flavor in every bite I took. It was such a treat to the tongue!

The eighth serving was ‘Tempura of the day’ – the name implies that you may or may not get to try what was battered and deep fried, provided as yesterday’s menu. On the day of my visit, the chef opted for lotus root stuffed with shrimp and cod roe filling. And it was mellow! 

The ninth dish and the second to last, was the heaviest. After a long, generous line of food, we were finally introduced to the star of the evening – siksa sotbap (식사솥밥) or Korean style pot rice, which usually comes with diverse toppings. That day, the ingredients were Jeju mackerel, red caviar, and chopped scallions. Originally, I had zero clue that sotbap needs to get mixed up before digging in. That’s what happened to sotbap here. Shortly, after the lid of the pot was lifted, the server would immediately swoop in and do the work for you. The dish was healthy and delicious! 

The dessert course was the perfect end to this ever-evolving and unexpected culinary journey of mine. It was a slice of tasty and delicate sweet red bean agar topped with candied chestnut. I love jelly, even if it was made out of red bean; so, it was a wonderful way to end the meal!  

Although dining at Gatpo Kumakase was originally a result after having encountered many mishaps on New Year night, I was more than glad I ended up doing it. The 60,000 won was well spent for a beautiful omakase dinner. If you would like to celebrate your special occasions with a progression of small dishes in Seoul, swing by Omokgyo Station (of Seoul Subway line 5). It’s only a two-minute walk from exit 2.

Essential Info about Gatpo Kumakase

Operating Hours: 16:00~23:00 Every day (closed on 2nd and 4th Monday of the month)
Address: 서울 양천구 목동동로 228-12 쿠마카세1층
Naver Map: [link]

Did this entry help you? Or Did you enjoy my photos? Help support my small blog by giving a little cup of joe. I am always grateful when readers reach out wanting to support 🙂

p.s. This post is independently created. However, when you book or purchase something through the retail links, I may earn an affiliate commission to help keep Ploy’s Little Atlas running. Thank you very much for your support!

p.p.s All images used (unless specified) are owned by the author of the blog and permission is required for a repost. Please, reach out via social media channels to ask beforehand if you’d like to use them.