Hide and Seek, as its name implies, is not easy to find.
Located in a half basement of a renovated house in Nonhyeon-dong, Seoul, this new bakery-deli has only been open for a few months, steadily building a growing and promising repertoire of baked goods, sandwiches and salads.
As the offshoot to Darling Kitchen, a restaurant located on the first and second floors of the same building, Hide and Seek is an organic expansion of Darling Kitchen’s existing baking operations.
“We started with Darling Kitchen,” said Hide and Seek contents director Shin Myoung-soo, 38. “We were making the bread there and customers wanted to take that bread home.”
Hide and Seek CEO Kwon Tae-june decided to convert the half basement into a full-fledged bakery-deli that would supply the bread for Darling Kitchen. In turn, Darling Kitchen would supply the sandwiches, soups and salads for Hide and Seek.
“We like to respect the space itself,” Kwon, 34, explaining how he and his team tried to preserve the integrity of a place where their nephews and nieces used to play hide-and-seek.
Despite its half underground set-up, Hide and Seek is a sunny, bright shop, with sunlight streaming in from its storefront, vibrant blue tiles, verdant plants and marigold, white and wood accents.
The baked goods are solid, with many notable options.
Hide and Seek boasts a diverse range of baked goods, including madeleines, scones and rolls. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald).
The madeleines are moist and citrusy. The country bread is chewy, nutty and sports a thick, crackly crust and the white roll, a cylindrical bread, tastes like a light, airy variation of a pullman loaf.
There are also uber-fragrant Earl Grey scones, which taste like a cross between a teacake and a scone.
Fairly large in size, these scones boast glossy, sweet, crisp crusts and fluffy, not too buttery, aromatic interiors. The scones, as Kwon explained, definitely possess a brioche-like texture that makes them simultaneously rich and light.
There are also sandwiches like Hide and Seek’s curry chicken sandwich.
Hide and Seek’s curry chicken sandwich features curried chicken, sour cream and crisp lettuce swaddled in a variation of pain de campagne. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Swaddled in a variation of pain de campagne, the curried chicken, sour cream and crisp lettuce work well with the bread, which boasts a crackly crust and a well aerated chew.
Then there are the soups and salads, including Hide and Seek’s somewhat misleadingly named Cobb salad.
There is no bacon, chicken or cheese in this salad. Instead, one will find avocado, corn, bell peppers and cucumber seasoned with housemade pesto and lemon dressing and topped with rucola and a soft-boiled egg.
“It’s our interpretation,” said Kwon.
The resulting “interpretation” is a luscious combination of creamy, rich and fresh flavors and textures.
It would take several visits to try out the diverse range of baked goods at Hide and Seek, and Kwon revealed that he and his team are already working on new sandwiches to add to the menu as well more sweet breads.
Hide and Seek
247-9 Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, closed Sundays
Hide and Seek, a bakery-deli, opened in Seoul’s Nonhyeon-dong in November. (Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald)
Baked goods cost around 2,900 won to 13,000 won, salads cost around 12,000 won to 13,000 won, sandwiches cost around 8,000 won to 15,000 won
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org)