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I've had Buddhist cuisine a few times but never like this. In the past it felt like it was weeds and mushrooms, lots of green and gray, like eating the grass clipping bag after mowing the lawn. Baru takes it somewhere, dare I say, sophisticated. And it's delicious! I'm addicted to the Ju-Jeon-Boori, molecule thin slices of fruits and vegetables that have been dried in a way to make them just like chips. I could eat a whole bag of those. The set menu comes out with dishes that are too beautiful to eat, surprising in textures and whimsical. This was a vegetarian meal that made me feel satiated and opened my mind. Especially the Omija-Tangsu, with sweet-and-sour crispy coated mushrooms done Korean-Chinese style. The set menu goes for 53,000 won per person. Bring a camera.
NOTE: It's also spelled "Balwoo," but that's idiotic. That's not how it's pronounced.
Cuisine: Buddhist temple cuisine
Suggested Items: Set menu, Ju-Jeon-Boori, Omija-Tangsu
Other Amenities: English menu
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More pictures here
I ate here for the first time this past Monday evening (Sept 27). I had the 12 course menu. The food was definitely quite imaginative and for the most part quite flavorful & presented beautifully. As noted above, the dried thin slices of fruits and vegetables were amazing. I would have loved to have a bag of those oranges to take with me.
The service was a bit uneven. When I arrived, there appeared to be only one person on the wait staff that spoke English. While she was serving my food (for the first 5 courses), she spent time to explain each item that was served, and answered my questions. Unfortunately, as the restaurant filled up, she got diverted or reassigned to other tables (particularly a large group of 10 that arrived shortly after me), and the other people serving my food literally just placed it in front of me, and walked away without saying a word. I likely wouldn't have minded this, had I not noticed that this large 10 person group was given a card detailing what they were being served, while I received nothing. It wasn't a big deal, but it did detract a bit from the experience, and for what they charge (nearly US$40), I'd expect better service.
$40 is quite expensive for a poor service.
Went back for the 2nd time tonight. Service was much better than the last time. They actually gave me a sheet of paper describing each course. The food was uniformly excellent once again.