McLeod

Written by Justin Ramsay
Photographed by Justin Ramsay and Jin Song Pyo

There’s nothing better than a hearty brunch on a Sunday morning or afternoon. Actually, brunch is great on any day of the week. Cooking and cleaning on a Sunday, or any other day really, are less great and often lead people to go looking for their brunch fix elsewhere.  There are a number of Korean restaurants in Gwangju that open early and offer breakfast, unfortunately not the type that many people from abroad are used to. A typical Korean breakfast is not that different from any other Korean meal and usually consists of rice, soup, and various side dishes. These breakfasts are great and very filling, but sometimes you just want a nice big plate of pancakes, French toast, bacon, and eggs. If your mouth is watering just from reading that list of brunch items, then you may want to give McLeod a try.There’s nothing better than a hearty brunch on a Sunday morning or afternoon. Actually, brunch is great on any day of the week. Cooking and cleaning on a Sunday, or any other day really, are less great and often lead people to go looking for their brunch fix elsewhere.  There are a number of Korean restaurants in Gwangju that open early and offer breakfast, unfortunately not the type that many people from abroad are used to. A typical Korean breakfast is not that different from any other Korean meal and usually consists of rice, soup, and various side dishes. These breakfasts are great and very filling, but sometimes you just want a nice big plate of pancakes, French toast, bacon, and eggs. If your mouth is watering just from reading that list of brunch items, then you may want to give McLeod a try.

McLeod is a small, Western-style brunch eatery in the trendy, popular neighborhood of Dongmyeong-dong, very close to the Asia Culture Complex. The simple storefront showcases white walls and a small neon sign. Inside there are a couple of large, yellow island tables and five or six additional seats at the kitchen counter. It has a very home-like feel and one is reminded of a nice, weekend breakfast with the family. The restaurant is quite small and has a very small staff to match, with only one person in charge of taking orders, cooking the food, and delivering it to the tables (sometimes two staff will be present on busy days). The size and nature of the restaurant mean that it is not really suitable for large groups, and those who want a lightning-fast meal should rather head to McDonald’s.


The restaurant owner is very upfront about this, though, and includes a very well-worded disclaimer on the menu, which reads:
“McLeod is a small, local brunch-and-dinner spot run by one brave man. He does it all. From cooking and cleaning to serving all the delectables. On busy days, there could be a long wait for your order, but it will be well worth it. Please take a seat anywhere you like, and I will get to you as quickly as humanly possible. There is a self-service bar under the counter with water, sauces, and syrup.”

Once we had finished perusing the simple menu, the chef came to our table to take our orders. On the recommendations of several friends, we ordered the Eggs Benedict, a side of pancakes, and the brunch plate with French toast (there is a choice between pancakes, French toast, and waffles) and sunny-side-up eggs. The restaurant was quite busy so we were expecting quite a long wait. We did have a bit of a wait, but it went much faster than expected, probably due to the pleasant atmosphere, good background music, and divine smell wafting over from the grill. The Eggs Benedict was the first dish to arrive, and we were pleased to find that the food we were presented with looked almost exactly like the picture on the menu. The dish looked scrumptious, and I’m pleased to report that it tasted even better. The eggs were poached to perfection with soft, runny yolks without the whites being undercooked. The hollandaise sauce was amazing, which is extremely important in an Eggs Benedict. The English muffins that they were served on were good, too, and the generous helping of peppers and greens between the muffin and the egg completed the dish perfectly.


Our pancakes arrived just as we were finishing up our first dish. We cleaned our plates, and then dug in to the tasty-looking pancakes. The pancakes were dusted with fine sugar, topped with two dollops of butter, and smelled great. The pancakes were a happy medium texture, not too doughy nor excessively fluffy, and tasted slightly of cinnamon. We were thoroughly enjoying our pancakes when the brunch plate arrived. Again, the food we were presented with looked every bit as good as it had on the menu, with a much tastier smell.

The sausage and bacon were both well-cooked with a delightful crispy texture and neither was too oily. The onion salad added a nice splash of color to the plate, and both eggs were a perfect sunny-side up. The French toast was very thick, about the thickness of the honey bread that is served in most Korean coffee shops, so I was expecting it to be a bit too dry in the center. I was delighted to find that this was not the case, and it was the perfect texture, with flavor all the way through. The French toast was dusted with just the right amount of sugar, and it tasted amazing both with and without syrup. The final item on the brunch plate was rosemary potato wedges. I’ve often been disappointed at how dry and flavorless the potatoes served on brunch plates like this end up tasting, but McLeod did not disappoint. The restaurant’s potatoes had exactly the right amount of seasoning and the texture was excellent. On top of the delicious all-day brunch on offer, there was also quite a large selection of foreign beers from Lost Coast Brewery as well as some domestic options, along with a range of cocktails and juices.

Of all the items that we tried, there wasn’t a bad thing to say about any of them. If you fancy a nice brunch and don’t mind waiting a bit longer for the extra quality, then I highly recommend a trip to McLeod.

MCLEOD 맥그로드

Address: 광주 동구 동명로 18                154-230 Dongmyeong-dong, Dong-gu, Gwangju

Telephone: 010-8680-0031

Opening Hours: Mondays: Closed

Tuesdays – Fridays: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.

Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Sundays: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Price Range: 6,000 – 15,000 won per plate

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