Word of mouth works better than any other type of marketing and even more when it comes to a Korean restaurant within an Asturian Restaurant. Metagastronomy? Not exactly. The Korean restaurant Gayagum has its headquarters located in what was once the Asturian restaurant La Quintana on Bordadores Street. The restaurant features an exhibition of the paintings of the owner and some of his crafts. A few months ago it became the new meeting place for families and groups of Korean friends. They all come to pay tribute to the home cooking of Eun Ua and Yong Hyung Kang, who came to Madrid from Seoul 14 years ago. In their garden, which is very close to El Escorial, they grow a variety of Korean vegetables some of which are impossible to find in Spain, such as sesame leaves, which are then used to develop the kimchis traditionally served on the table before eating.
The ritual begins with Santiago, the Spanish waiter, who moves like an octopus around the restaurant waiting tables, serving bar, fixing pipes, explaining the ins and outs. Minutes later you see the small table littered with saucers including marinated and fermented-cabbage kimchi, grilled tofu, steamed peanuts, bean sprouts, spinach, turnip pickles and anchovies brought from Korea. The feast continues with one of the set menus that could well feed an army or a selection of dishes a la carte. All are served on the table at once, without delay and in a hurry. The appetite is wetted with some delicate and not-greasy Dumplings; Bibimbap rice, soy, vegetables and fried egg accompanied by miso soup and a sauce based on chili poussin, Bulgogi-marinated beef, glass noodles, rice cakes and vegetables cooked at the table to make them into a Ssäm with some fresh lettuce leaves doused with a chilli soy sauce.
Gradually the capital and Asian cuisine are becoming well acquainted to keep up with Madrid’s cultural melting pot. Cuisine of the world, come and educate us!
Average price: 20-30 euros
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 11:00 to 23:00 h.
Text: Paula Móvil
Photos: Marcos Ortiz
Translation: Brett Piron