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Toolbox 2nd – Amazing burgers in Shinae

A few years ago now, a great little restaurant opened it’s doors in Ggotbawi, way out in Dong-gu between the HHI and Mipo shipyards. They were rumoured to have awesome hamburgers, but I was never able to catch that place open. I was delighted to hear they’d opened a second location in Seongnamdong (Shinae/Old Downtown) recently, as it’s much closer to home for me.

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Located right next to the JJ’s Bar alleyway, Toolbox 2 offers a selection of 9 different hamburgers, turkey or chicken burgers, and club sandwiches, along with regular wedge fries and chili fries. The interior of the restaurant is decorated in a minimal industrial-style with black walls, bare ceilings and big sliding doors. The tables are bare wood, with a metal bucket of cutlery and a stack of napkins, with red and black padded “leather” chairs. The menus (Korean outside, English inside) are written on big chalkboards. The restaurant feels airy, despite being dark, and with the burgers cooked in an open kitchen right in the room, it smells amazing. The music is understated – while we were there it was rap, not K-pop, but you could easily have a conversation without shouting, and it didn’t intrude on the experience.

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The place wasn’t busy when my dining companion and I arrived, so we were served our food within 10 minutes of ordering (which was great, as we were both pretty hungry). The staff were friendly, and spoke English.

I ordered the BB Burger – topped with cheese, grilled onions, grilled tomato (a lovely change from the usual raw slice), an egg and bacon  (I’d skipped breakfast, so it seemed like a great way to eat two meals at once!), and my friend had the Aussie with the lot – a massive “mega” patty stacked with double cheese, an egg, bacon, tomato, grilled onion, and BBQ sauce. I’m still amazed he could fit it in his mouth, as it was several inches tall. We also split an order of chili fries, though the burgers do come with a small serving of wedge fries, which was plenty for my appetite.

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The BB Burger

Aussie with the lot

Aussie with the lot – this is a seriously large burger.

The chili on the fries was meaty and mildly spicy – just a kick that quickly wore off, so don’t be scared away if you’re not a fan of spice. It’s also served with sour cream slathered under the chili. The burgers were large, juicy and next to impossible to eat cleanly, which is just the way I like ’em. If you don’t have sauce on your hands and face when you’re finished eating a burger, then it’s not a proper burger experience.

Chili fries

Chili fries

We ran into another friend while we were there, who kindly allowed me to photograph his Hot Clubhouse sandwich:

Hot Clubhouse Sandwich

Hot Clubhouse Sandwich

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this spot if you’re looking for a good quality, freshly cooked burger, in a relaxed atmosphere. They also serve beer, several kinds of soda pop and apple juice, and the server will bring a bottle of water to your table when you’re seated (place your order at the counter).

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For our Korean audience

For our Korean audience

Open Tues-Sun 11-10:30, closed Mondays. From the Shinae Clock Tower (Shigae-tap), with your back to the river/walking street,  walk against the traffic flow for one block, then turn right. At the next intersection, turn left. Just past the alley to JJ’s, Toolbox is on the right-hand side of the street. It’s pinned on the Interactive Map, under the Dining, Jung-gu and Seongnamdong categories.

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