A new craft brewery has opened up this year in Pyongyang.
The Taesong Restaurant is located Southeast of the Polish embassy by about 500 meters and features a number of firsts in the Pyongyang dining scene.
1. Liter-sized beers. Oh sure, they have normal 500cc sized beers, also, but why wouldn't you get a whole liter?
2. Giant, international style Chwar/Kebab dishes. The main specialty on the menu is large skewers, with a variety of kinds of meats as options. They come with a Xinjiang-style spice blend on the side. There are other restaurants with skewers in Pyongyang, but not with the range or emphasis they have at Daesong.
3. Scrolling, LED name badges for the waitresses. That's right, much like at a bus stop or the window of a hardware store, a scrolling LED name badge conveys the name and role of your server. Why? Because...
4. Extremely low lighting. This place is perhaps the first Pyongyang restaurant to be lit like a Western bar. Lighting is often an afterthought at Pyongyang restaurants, but here there is an unmistakable ambiance created by the low lighting scheme. Perhaps this is to compensate for the open plan. Only three tables are "fenced off" - most restaurants in Pyongyang have dividers to create a sense of privacy. The rest, like a Western or Chinese bar, are out in the open.
It is interesting to see a restauranteur really try to compete on concept and type of food, rather than quality, which is usually the case in Pyongyang and ends up with many restaurants sporting largely the same menu. However, the location of the place is a strange one. It is a bit out of the way and the four Koreans we were with had never heard of it, even though it had been around for at least 7 or 8 months.
Perhaps more interesting, it isn't the only new "high-end" restaurant in town. Hard-currency restaurant options for middle to upper class diners continue to expand in 2016.