“I’m almost tempted to buy another dessert, for to-go.” A woman was staring longingly at the small bakery case as her friend laughed and patted her back. They continued to rave about the food as they exited the restaurant. “Thanks, everything was delicious!”
Reopened post-renovations in March, Vegetus now occupies a lofty, quiet spot at the top of Haebangchon, just off the main hill. The sweet aroma of spices draws you in with a familiar warmth. With clean white walls, high ceilings, wooden tables, green foliage tumbling out of pots, and a well-stocked wine rack sitting in the corner, it has a sort of homey feel as you walk in. Vegan burgers, “tuna” wraps, and burrito bowls are just three of the five items on the small but cozy menu. And in contrast to many vegan establishments that condemn alcohol on their premises, Vegetus offers an entire menu devoted to drinks. “I love wine,” Dajung Jung, Vegetus’ health and environmentally conscious chef/CEO says with a sly grin. “I’m also going to buy some organic, biodynamic wine to sell here soon.” With such diverse offerings, meals stemming from international flavors, and healthy, local ingredients, it’s no wonder why the place has gained so much recognition in such short time; there’s something for everyone here.
“I love healthy food, and nice presentation.” When Jung brings out the burger-their bestseller-it’s almost plated in an artful way. A smoky lentil-and-rice based patty is piled high with fresh veggies and sits between a soft, sweet bun smeared with cilantro sauce.
A small heap of salad, a few potato wedges, and a little cup of vegan mayo accompany the main dish. The flavors are familiar. Comforting. This would be the kind of meal you crave after a bad breakup. Or “ooh” and “ahh” over at Sunday brunch with your friends. Yet somehow at the same time, it’s fresh, healthy and doesn’t leave you feeling sluggish. “My idea was to just provide healthy food.” Jung said that she is not vegan, but realized that vegan food was one of the easiest, environmentally-friendly, and most delicious ways to eat healthy. So when she decided to open a restaurant, she wanted to create dishes that would prove that healthy food was not bland or boring. Inspired by her European travels and her love for spices, cilantro, and wine, her menu boasts flavorful, healthy, 100% vegan comfort food. “My slogan is being vegan is not difficult.”
LOCATION Sinheong-ro 59, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
PRICE KRW 8,000-13,000
HOURS Tuesdays 5-9pm, Wed-Sun noon-9pm (Mondays off)
MENU 100% vegan; Healthy, Strong spices, burgers,