Écumé [ekyme] or 에뀌메 means foamed in French, it also means skimmed and plundered and has an unfortunate connection to scum, but don't let that put you off this small restaurant located less than a minute from the Hamilton Hotel.
This chic little diner has taken over where Kate's Kitchen left off and serves the usual pasta and steak selections you might expect from this kind of place. They offer a reasonable lunch set menu ranging from 15,000 to 17,000 won which gives you a choice of pastas, risotto, steak or chicken breast along with a self-described "small salad" and coffee or green tea. I decided to go for the "black pepper-crushed strip loin steak, red wine shitake mushroom sauce" for 17,000 won plus tax and crossed my fingers...
First to come was the bread basket, crusty chewy little slices that were quite delicious, but unfortunately came with a rather oddly flavoured herb butter that tasted like it had seen better days.
Next to come was the "small salad", I opted for no dressing (sour plum is available) and was pleasantly surprised by this varied combination of greens with raisins, dried apricots and chopped peanuts. An interesting and slightly sweet addition to lunch.
After a brief hiatus out came the strip loin steak, presented well, but hampered by some rather unexciting accessories. The broccoli was rather hard and the small hash brown sort of thing hiding under the meat tasted slightly of failure. The cherry tomato was perfectly adequate, but the steak, mushrooms and red wine sauce were far better. A little too salty for my liking, but still enjoyable.
The meat was a tad grisly and strangely enough was undercooked. I ordered medium-rare, but the steak that arrived was rare in my book; I didn't have a problem with it, but for those who like their meat cooked precisely to their preferences may have issues...
Overall not a bad lunch, plus the service was fast and friendly. You can find Écumé [ekyme] just two side streets away from the Hamilton Hotel, just come out of Itaewon Station exit 1, walk past KFC and the Nike shop, then turn right just after the Samsonite shop. The restaurant is a few metres away just behind Le Saint-Ex. Give them a call on 02 3477 7378.