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Caliente Dos: Things are Heating Up!

Not far from downtown Daegu, tucked away in the Daebong neighborhood, the new Caliente Gastro Pub makes a lot of ambitious promises. Caliente is a familiar name for many, as it has been synonymous with Tex-Mex style food for quite some time now in the Samdeok Fire Station area of downtown. Caliente Gastro Pub is a departure from the original concept, but it doesn’t shy away from its roots.

Daebong-dong itself is an up-and-coming neighborhood, right behind the towering Central Plaza apartment buildings. A lot of restaurants and bars have started popping up all along the Daebong main road, as it often happens when a place or a street becomes popular. This area has the usual fare of Korean restaurants and bars, so can Caliente Gastro Pub set itself apart from the rest?

 Firstly, let’s talk about what Caliente Gastro Pub is not. It is not a rehash of the first Caliente. It doesn’t serve Tex-Mex food, it doesn’t have a DJ playing loud music, and the bartenders don’t do cocktail shows. For all of that, the Caliente in the downtown area is more than happy to entertain. Caliente Gastro Pub does have a pool table, a couple of dart boards, and a TV playing music videos. However, the music is softer than at the downtown location and it has a resident mixologist who will be more than happy to whip up any kind of drink or cocktail.

 

Caliente Gastro Pub wouldn’t brandish that name if it didn’t offer some carefully crafted dishes. The menu, which will be revised and expanded seasonally, has a definite Mediterranean and European tilt to it, and this is a good thing. The dishes I tried fell along those lines. The first one, the Melon Prosciutto Salad, which includes the two title ingredients plus cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, is a refreshing starting dish. It satisfyingly blends the sweetness of the melon with the salty, nutty flavor of the prosciutto ham.

 

 This was followed by the Broqueta, a skewered-meat (chicken, beef, and shrimp) dish with grilled vegetables and corn on the cob. The Broqueta is prepared using quite a generous amount of fire at the bar’s grill, which gives it an additional oomph of fun. The next dish, the croquette, is traditionally regarded as having originated in France but it is truly an international food, with each country adding its own twist to it. The one offered at Caliente Gastro Pub comes filled with chicken and vegetables, with an aioli pickle dipping sauce. The final dish is emblematic of the Spanish peninsula, the Spanish Tortilla. This thick egg omelette comes filled with potatoes, onions, and chorizo ham. Caliente Gastro Pub is proud of the quality and uniqueness of the food it serves.

 

Of course, a gastro pub would not be complete without beer. For the beer enthusiast, there are some excellent beers on tap, which are generally not available at other bars or pubs. For the not-so-picky drinker, the classics are there as well.

 

The atmosphere of this new gastro pub is relaxed, and it is great for meeting friends and have conversations over great beer and even better food. It will have some exciting events soon, including one where customers will get a free beer. Caliente Gastro Pub is open daily from 5pm to 3am.

 

     Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier: Naturally cloudy and shining silky gold in the glass under a really strong head of foam. At the first mouthful this Weissbier classic has a mild aroma of banana. Finer palates detect a trace of mango and pineapple and the balance between sweet and bitter. Beer connoisseurs appreciate the fine note of yeast and the mild but sparkling mix of aromas. It is a typical beer garden beer, which brings people together all over the world.

     Indica IPA: Indica is a hoppy, full-bodied ale. It has a higher than average alcohol content balanced by radical bittering from Columbus hops, then dry hopped with generous amounts of Willamette and Centennial hop flowers.

     Weihenstephan: A flavourful beer enjoyed with fine poured, white foam. With a mild hoppy note and its pleasant fresh spicy taste, it goes very well with salads, poultry, stews or with a hearty snack.

Written and photographed by Ivan Broida / http://ivanenkorea.com/

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