by Ashley Heil
While generally a positive person and not too critical on food, sometimes, I do come across disappointing restaurants. After reading some mixed reviews about Pancake Original Story (being that it's not as good as it was since it changed ownership), but hearing that the pancakes are amazing, I wanted to check it out for myself. After trying, the pancakes were really good and some of the best I've had in Seoul, but the service experienced here was awful enough for me to never want to go back. Read more to find out why.
A couple of Saturday's ago, my boyfriend and my two Korean friends had a real hankering for some good brunch. So after getting a late start to our morning, we made our way over to Hannam. Our friends were running late to the subway so we decided to wait for them, and didn't get to leaving the subway until around 2:15. The walk from Hannam station happened to be a little further then what we thought, and we didn't arrive to Pancake Original Story until 2:30. Super excited to finally have my breakfast, I didn't see the sign outside that said they were closing. I had read before that they take a random break from 3-5pm, but I thought surely, it's only 2:30, there's still another 30 minutes until the break. However, as soon as we walked in, they told us "sorry, we're closed". I said "What? It's only 2:30! There is still another 30 minutes until break time". My Korean friends even tried to talk to them, and we found out that even though the break isn't until 3, they stop seating people around 2:30. They refused to seat us and told us to come back at 5. One waitress in particular was especially rude. I stormed off because I was so mad after all that I couldn't eat the brunch I had been craving. I just think that if restaurants want to stop serving people at 2:30, they should say they're closed from 2:30-5, and not 3-5. Or even maybe 2:50 or 2;55. But 30 minutes before is unacceptable. They even had people still being served and waiting to order in there. Hmph. Then, we realized we couldn't even come back the next day because they are not open on Sundays. A Sunday brunch place that is not open on Sundays. Hmm. Anyway, we gladly took our service to another restaurant that was happy to serve us.
The following week, I still was craving some damn brunch. I thought, hey, I'll give this place one more try. I've worked in the restaurant business before, I guess I can understand them not wanting to sit anyone. So we went back, this time much earlier, around 12, so we could avoid the break time. I walked in and they told us there was a wait, so they got my phone number so they could call me when a table was ready. The restaurant is small with only around 6 tables inside, and a few outside. So, my boyfriend and I went to go sit at smoothie king to get an appetizer smoothie because we were so hungry. After waiting about 30 minutes for a phone call, I decided to go check and see how much longer of a wait it would be. I waited by the sign at the entrance for someone to acknowledge me, and the same rude waitress from last week saw me, served someone else, and didn't say anything to me at all. I called to her to get her attention, but then another waitress came out to tell me our table was ready. So I went back to smoothie king to get my boyfriend, and we went to the restaurant and were seated. Inside, while cutely decorated, the tables and space is very cramped and I hardly had room to put my backpack somewhere. We both immediately ordered the original pancakes, and then the double banana pancakes, as well as a side of bacon (though just a side of bacon wasn't listed on the menu). The pancakes came out pretty fast. However, when we were being served our food, I was in the middle of a conversation with my boyfriend about something else. After being served, the same rude waitress just stared at me as if seeing if I needed something (although I had already said 감사합니다), and it was just a really awkward moment. We started to eat, and I have to say, the pancakes were delicious, maybe on par with the pancakes I like to order at Butterfingers. The price is also decent, only 8300 for the regular pancakes, and they are pretty filling. They have 3 other combo plates as well, each priced at 16,000 won. While the pancakes were good, our service there was just very poor. The menu is a little small too, with the focus just being on their pancakes. If you want a wider variety and much better service, I highly recommend Butterfingers. While the food was good at Pancake Original Story and the prices are decent, it just didn't do it for me. But hey, give it a shot and maybe you'll have a different experience. And I'd like to know, has anyone been there that experienced good service or had a great time? If you did please feel free to comment!
Hannam station, exit 1(Gyeonggui-Jungang line): Walk straight from exit 1 until you get to the main road. Turn right. Keep walking until you see the bus stop sign "hannam station (한남역), and then continue to walk straight. Keep walking and you'll see a parking lot sign on your right. Then, you'll see a sign for SoonChunhyang university hospital. Then you'll see the big intersection. Cross the road to the left, and then cross the road again. Walk up the small slope and the restaurant is on your left.
Hanganjin station (probably the easier way to go): Go out exit 2 or 3. Walk to the big road that is going downhill (hannamgogachado 한남고가차도). Walk along the road down the hill for about 5 minutes. When you reach the big intersection, cross it to the left. Go up the small hill and its right there on your left.
We're just a couple addicted to great food. We love Anthony Bourdain!