When Noxa Lounge, a mainstay at the entrance of Gyeongridan-gil, closed down after years of service, that brought me immense sadness because it was one of my favourite lounges to hang out at for a good cocktail. It was a place where many expats and Koreans gathered for drinks and meals, their outdoor patio was perfect for people-watching, and it was where people could comfortably socialise together. But then I heard that they were going to re-open as Noxa Oriental, and that perked me up. I finally had the chance to go there a couple of weeks ago, and it was a quite an experience.
When I stepped inside, its beautifully decorated interiors amazed me. There are Thai-style umbrellas hung from the ceilings, wooden lanterns that appear to be made out of metal when they’re not, the little Korean golden embellishments on the wooden panels lining the bar, delicate candle holders on all the tables, plants lining the walls of their patio, and so much more. I am not that big on interior designs, but I was impressed with what Noxa Oriental did. Heck, even their toilets were clean and nicely decorated!
The ambience of the place relaxed me immediately. The service provided by the staff made me feel welcomed. The music — an eclectic mix of jazz, pop, and oldies — fit the place nicely. Granted, it didn’t fit the oriental theme, but rather the music fit the ambience of the place. It really felt like I was returning home when I stepped in here — a very classy and elegant home.
The food menu fits the oriental theme. The dishes range from Thai to Vietnamese to Korean. Quite an interesting fusion mix with their food. I tried their lime sweet and sour chicken (17,000 won) on my first visit. They deep-fried chunks of chicken with a beer-batter coating, giving it a nice airy, crunchy texture. The lime sweet and sour sauce they made went well with the chicken. I personally love the lime flavour. For my next visit, I tried their pad Thai with prawns (15,000 won). The pad Thai wasn’t spicy, but they offer spicy condiments on the side for those who prefer heat. The pad Thai came with peanut toppings and the sauce they used was good. It also came with regular-sized shrimps and the dried baby-shrimp. Of the two, I think I’ll get their lime sweet and sour chicken next time.
Along with the food, Noxa Oriental sells drinks. They sell wine, beer, soju, spirits, shots, cocktails, soju cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages. Their signature cocktails are pretty good and unique! They have Shanghai Tang (mojito with passion-fruit), Oriental Express (mojito with lemongrass and ginger ale), East Meets West (gin and cinnamon flavoured martini), and Samba Basil (strawberry and basil caipirinha). I tried the Shanghai Tang (12,000 won), a wonderfully fruity and sweet concoction that matched my tastebuds. The Oriental Express (12,000 won) was quite a refreshing drink, not as sweet as the Shanghai Tang, so perfect for those who prefer drinks that are less sweet. I would definitely come back for their Shanghai Tang!
In conclusion, Noxa Oriental is a great upgrade from the old Noxa Lounge. The place is way more spacious. They even have a “patio” in the back. On warmer days, they can open up the rooftop and provide an al fresco dining or drinking experience, and there is a door they can use to close the patio off for private functions. With a variety of drinks and food items, their posh interior decorations, and their welcoming staff, Noxa Oriental is a great place to hang out in the evenings, and it’s a fantastic addition to the Gyeongridan area.
7, Noksapyeong-Daero 52-Gil, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul, Korea
서울특별시 용산구 녹사평대로52길 7
Come out of Noksapyeong Station exit 2, and walk straight until you reach the underpass. Go down and take the left exit, and then cross the upcoming street. Then make a left and walk straight until you see the IBK on your right. There’s a side street right by it, and Noxa Oriental is down that street on the left.
7,000 ~ 25,000+ won budget per person