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Pann (판) - A Piece of Something New and Old

Written by Katy Babiarz / Photos by Ick Jun Ha

Are you in Daegu for just a short trip and want to stay in a beautiful traditional Korean style guest house in the downtown area? Or, are you living in Daegu and want a place to eat that brings together the modern with the traditional? Pann (판) is the answer to your questions. Pann is located behind the Chongro Fire Station (종로소방서) and next to the Daegu Chongro Elementary School (대구종로초등학교); which is only about a 10 min walk from the CGV Lotte Young Plaza. If you are looking at the fire station, glance over to your left and you’ll see this cute little alley. Peer down that alley and there you will see Pann’s three traditional Korean/Japanese buildings.

When first walking into Pann, we were greeted by Mia (Sohn Mi Sook - 손미숙), the owner. She had lived in San Francisco for seven years, so her English was great. Her idea for Pann was to create a guest house at first. However, when she saw the high ceilings of the large 1920’s Japanese garage, her plans change. She envisioned live Jazz music being played due to the amazing natural acoustics. So, she renovated the garage into an elegant and relaxing restaurant just a few months ago. The atmosphere is one of relaxing Jazz music, dim lights, and a beautiful scenery of the traditional Korean style guest house. The top floor is a cozy and intimate level of tables for four people. Also, there are two rooms for a more intimate and personal dining experience: one is for about four to eight people, and the other is for about a much larger group. The first floor offers a more family style dining experience. She plans on having Jazz musicians come on Saturday nights starting this month.

Wondering about the food? Well, Kim, Jang Soo (김장수) is a self-taught chef who has studied hard using cook books and has perfected his cooking techniques over the past 10 years. His food is prepared in the Italian style, but with a few Korean twists. Jan Soo and Mia want to strongly emphasize that all their food is organic and contains no MSG. Many of their herbs are actually grown in the garden on the premises, which means that the menu changes seasonally. Because of this organic menu, they serve a freshly squeezed grape juice that was so delicious; just grapes and water, not even close to your store bought grape juice. Pann’s organic and seasonal menu includes appetizers, main dishes, pasta, and pizza. The most popular appetizer is the Steamed Clams (8,000\) and the Prosciutto Baguette (18,000\). As for the pasta dishes, they have Anchovy Oil Pasta (12,000\), Tomato Mushroom Pasta (13,000\), and Crab Cream Pasta (15,000\). The main dishes are a bit more eclectic; Shepard’s Pie (17,000\), Italian Style Pork (24,000\), and Steamed Pork (27,000\). They also have a simple variety of pizzas: Margherita Pizza (12,000\), Mushroom Pizza (13,000\), and Prosciutto Pizza (15,000\).

We got to enjoy three items from the menu: Shepard’s Pie (쉐퍼드 파이), Italian Style Pork (돼지 오소부코), and Pollack Roe Pasta (명란 오일 파스타). The Shepard’s Pie was tasty, but not exactly like mom used to make, since it is modified for Koreans’ taste. The potatoes were cooked just right and the meat was more of a meat sauce for pasta, but nonetheless, it was still delicious. The Italian Style Pork is a two day process to make. They marinate it for one day in wine and other seasonings, and then slowly cook it to its tender perfection. We were all shocked at how large the portion was for this dish! It’s a whole pig’s leg on one plate, with a side of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes to soak up the juices from the tender pulled pork pieces. The third meal might not be that popular among foreigners, however, it is an up-and-coming rising star in the Korean pasta world. The spaghetti pasta is made with zucchini, eggplant, rucola, dried red peppers, and the roe (pollock fish eggs). So, if you like fish, then you’ll like this one! The closing to this meal was the best part of the meal: a white wine and honey slush with a sprig of fresh mint on top.

Just a quick note about the noteworthy guest house; it is separated into two styles - one being the traditional Korean style and the other being a dormitory style. The Korean style guest house will cost you 60,000\ per night for two people on the weekdays, and 80,000\ on the weekends. Each room is based on a double occupancy, but you can add another person for an extra 10,000\. The dormitory is split into two large rooms; one for men and one for women. Each bed will cost you 25,000\ per night. Included in the price for both styles is a breakfast, which consists of breads, juice, and coffee.

So to sum it all up for you, if you’re looking for a romantic place nestled in the back streets of downtown, Pann is a great place to try out. With its vintage French chairs, Japanese influences, and Korean hospitality, Mia and Jang Soo will provide a great dining experience for you and your guest. Keep a watch out for the changing menu, BBQ parties in the courtyard, and Jazz musicians from Seoul in the months to come! Or, stop by and spend the night in their Korean traditional guest house for a break away from modern life.