I think this may be one of those posts that my friends have been waiting for. I have to admit that I was kind of holding back a little because I wanted to savour this pizzeria to my self. Ok, maybe with a few others. Although I did recommend this spot to other folks in media, food bloggers and close friends. It came to a point where if I don't share this place with my readers, it would just be unfair. Really.
I stumbled upon this pizzeria in Hannam-dong last fall, recommended by another chef. The moment I sat down I fell in love with the quaint interior, and my expections slowly arose. As I thumbed through the menu, my hunger got stronger. Then, when I noticed that there were no English mistakes on the menu, I was sold! Hahaha. For those who live in Seoul, you will so understand. My first visit, I fell in love with their calzone and their prosciutto/rucola pizza. Their pizza reminds me of my favorite Neopolitan pizzeria in Chicago-Spacca Napoli. The thin, slightly burnt crispy crust with the utmost fresh ingredients. This is it guys. Seriously. You may just want to 'stop all pizza research' here!
Soon after, I made multiple visits with close friends. Yeah, didn't realize that they too, became addicted to D'buzza, and a chain reaction followed. Not only is the food spot on, the service...well, let's just say you feel like you're meeting up with old friends each time you drop a visit. 'Colin', a sweet Canadian/Korean front of the house staff will sneak you snickers on the side after dinner. OK, this really did happened! Hahaha. Then Chef Edward Lee or 'Pizzaiolo' as he prefers to be called, greets you with a warm smile each and every time. Ladies, I know what you're thinking...ok I'll stop.
I had a chance to chat with Pizzaiolo/owner Edward Lee recently, and I would just like to say that I'm inspired. His passion for food is contagious, and I want to get on board.
Zuppa di Cozze (mussel soup with white wine)
So who is this Edward Lee?
He's a 27 year old Korean native (이일주) who trekked to Canada in Junior High to 'study abroad' as many Korean's do...but his path had a slight altercation in high school when he back packed throughout Europe. He fell in love. He fell in love with food, cooking, and everything that had to do with it. So he made this crazy decision to just stay put in Italy, learn the ropes, put his time in, and followed his culinary passion. He had this little nudge in his heart to follow this passion, which developed into something more than he bargained for.
What the heck did he do in Italy?
He attended school there for a few years during high school in Torino. He then interned at 'Isole' Michelin star restaurant, while eating pizza because he was saving pennies to treat himself to fine dining restaurants. Ah, weren't we all there??? "Pizza was what I could afford as a student, but I had so much fun eating pizza...it was something that was just comfortable to eat."
Upon his return to Seoul...
"It's funny that even though I traveled throughout Italy and dined at many amazing restaurants, the one thing that I remember are the times when I ate pizza. The most ordinary food. But it's more than just eating pizza, it's the warmth, love and comfort that's attached to eating it."
Edward returned to Seoul in 2008 due to family reasons, and attended Cordon Bleu here while working at a bakery. With a few others, he started the 'Trybe Group', which consists of three main parts: space, trading & food. Pizzeria D'buzza is the first project under the food branch. So far, they have been doing quite well, return customers are increasing, and folks like me who are addicted to their food keep asking for more!
Edward's concept of D'buzza originated from his favorite pizzeria located in the northern part of Italy, that rests on mountains. Hannam-dong was the perfect place that could mirror that concept. In addition, it was equally important to Edward that Hannam-dong is so diverse-a great amalgmation of lower and upper class residents, with a large foreign community. His vision was to open a place where anyone can enjoy good food. A local spot where everyone can feel comfortable dining at. The food? He wanted to bring Italian culture straight to Seoul. Literally. No frills, no miscommunication, no mishandling with the ingredients, no substitutions. As is. You know what? he did a pretty darn good job.
When asked how Edward likes to spend his days off: "Days off? Uh yeah not yet. We just opened and until things get settled down, I'm commited to D'buzza day in and day out. However, I would like to visit Italy again on my next holiday." To Edward, he does not consider what he does to be work. He's doing what he loves. Simply put.
480-500 degree temp, each pizza is baked for no more than 60-90 seconds!
Alla Greca: zucchini, eggplant, tomato sauce
Caprese salad to the left; Buzza Bitz (fried risotto balls) to the right.
What Sarah likes about D'buzza:
- They don't provide pickles (unless you're absolutely dying for some).
- The wood fire oven that's imported from Italy. Fresh fire wood burn constantly, and it's replenished throughout the day. This I want!
- Their oh so freakin awesome Sangria with fresh raspberries...addictive.
- The whole staff practically speaks English!!! Such a blessing for us:)
- Pizza faves: Buzza classic, All Greca (zucchini and eggplant), Prosciutto & Rucola, Buzza bitz appetizer
- Their staff: a bunch of guys just having fun. Oh, and they make great pizza.
Hilarious how on the cover of their take out box, instead of a 'hot warning' sign, it states 'because the pizza is really good, eat with happiness'! Ok, it actually sounds better in Korean. Such details. Clever.
Yongsan-gu, Hannam-dong 740-1, Seoul/서운특별시 용산구 한남동 740-1
Hangangjin station line #6, exit 1. Walk a few blocks, it's to your right on the 3rd floor, black buidling (please note, this is their 2nd location)
***If you want a table, reservations are highly highly recommended:)
Shootin' the breeze with the boys...
Pizzaiolo Edward to the left, Colin all the way to the right.