Ever since my first experience with baby octopus (쭈꾸미) at Papa’s Recipe, I’ve always been eager to go to other places serving this delectable little animal. Ojju is the 2nd restaurant that I’ve been to primarily serving baby octopus, so I was quite excited to see what differences there would be. The selling point of this restaurant is the fondue that accompanies the baby octopus dish. I went to the location in Gangnam station, but they have restaurants all over the city. You can find it coming out of exit 11, but I haven’t been able to confirm the exact location through Naver street view. I will update asap!
The atmosphere has an underground basement feel, and that’s not just because the restaurant is located in an actual basement. The ceiling has a facade that doesn’t quite cover the original ceiling, but the ambient lights and seating are modern and clean. Of course not all locations will look like this.
The menu is quite simple. You order your main dish on the left and can order additional items to it. They also offer cocktails as well.
Baby Octopus and Chicken (쭈꼬꼬) – 10,000 won a serving
The food comes to you uncooked and you need to wait a couple of minutes for it to be edible. The dish we ordered comes with baby octopus, chicken, onions, and some rice cakes (떡). As usual, it looks kind of foreign in its raw state.
Once it’s cooked, you can take whatever bits you fancy and dip it in the fondue. The octopus was a little bit limp and not so chewy compared to Papa’s Recipe, but it was still delicious. The chicken was tender, but the rice cakes felt a tad dried out. The sauce wasn’t too spicy in the beginning, but it eventually develops quite a kick. Even for Korean standards, it was quite spicy. Luckily, the fondue has a rather strong flavor which helps counteract the spiciness. Other than the spicy kick, the flavor of the sauce was a bit empty and didn’t have the same multidimensional flavors of Papa’s Recipe. It was certainly a lot spicier though and I still liked it.
After finishing off most of the ingredients, you can opt to order some stir fry rice (볶음밥), or stir fry rice with flying fish eggs (날치알 볶음밥). Personally, I would’ve liked to order the plain rice (공기밥) while I still had the octopus and chicken as it would cut off more of the spiciness, but this method had its merits as well. We opted for the regular stir fry rice.
The rice mix is added to the dish with the remaining sauce and fondue. Adding the fondue added a nice dimension of flavor and texture to the mix. It almost tasted like a mild spicy risotto because of the cream. I wish we didn’t use so much beforehand. It would’ve been nice if they topped us off with some more fondue! This was by far my favorite part of the meal. My tip is to order the rice when you still have some meat left to make the rice feel more “complete”.
Cream Makgeolli (크림막걸리) – 4000 won for 500cc
I’m not really keen on alcohol, but I have to say this was amazing. After my first experience with cream alcohol, I wasn’t so eager to try this, but that changed after one sip. The cocktail had some light ice crystal texture and the cream was melded very well with the makgeolli and covered its innate bitterness. It tasted somewhat like a creamy smoothy.
I would highly recommend Ojju for those looking for some delicious stir fry rice and a little bit of fun with fondue. The cream makgeolli is a huge plus for those who like cocktails. The restaurant provides a very nice dining experience with food that is well above average at a decent price. Those with a low tolerance for spiciness may be ill-advised although you can ask for them to make it less spicy as well.