Orora Burger and Salad opened in Sinsa-dong, Seoul, in September. (Photo credit: Orora Burger and Salad)
It started with burgers, but warm salads could very well be a stand-out addition to the menu at Orora -- a burger and salad restaurant that opened in September.
“Initially, I ran a burger joint but when I moved to the Apgujeong Rodeo area, I added salads,” Orora Burger and Salad owner-chef Cho Kyung-wook, 29, said in an email interview.
“I went and checked out the salad spots that were doing well in the market, but in my opinion there was too little protein and the salads also felt cold,” Cho said. “I felt that I should make salads that are filling and hearty.”
Cho loads up his warm salads with plenty of protein, lentils, chickpeas, charred broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries and also a “seasonal puree” on the side.
“Right now during autumn and early winter, we make our puree with beets, kabocha squash, carrots,” said Cho.
Eight regular and warm salads are available at Orora Burger and Salad. (Photo credit: Orora Burger and Salad)
The difference between Orora’s regular salads and their warm salads is that while mixed greens form the primary base of his regular salads, his warm salads feature cooked pulses, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower as the primary base.
The Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower are delicious in their own right, sporting an umami flavor.
Cho says he deliberately charred them, a technique he picked up while working at a prominent restaurant in Sweden, for flavor. “After seasoning the Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli with salt, pepper and olive oil, I deliberately char them,” said Cho.
Then there is the protein.
For the chicken salad, Cho says he starts with around 140 grams of chicken breast, marinates it with thyme, rosemary and extra-virgin olive oil, cooks it sous-vide and then grills it at the end.
The resulting chicken is incredibly tender, juicy and fragrant.
Cube beef steak salad (Photo credit: Orora Burger and Salad)
For the steak salad, Cho uses hanger steak, starting with around 130 grams that he cooks sous-vide and then grills before serving in thick, succulent slices.
“Hanger steak has less fat and therefore is good for those on a diet. And because it is a cut closer to the center, it is soft like filet mignon,” said Cho. “We serve our steak medium well done but if one wants their steak well done, it is possible.”
Cho also focused on the salad dressings, coming up with a total of five from which customers can pick.
“We make all our sauces ourselves,” said Cho.
Orora’s yuja thyme dressing pairs beautifully with the chicken warm salad, adding a sweet citrusy tang to the meat. The cauliflower and broccoli end up soaking up the dressing, becoming incredibly aromatic and tasty in the process.
The green goddess dressing -- which is made with yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, dill, Italian parsley and basil -- adds a creamy and herby flavor while Orora’s champagne elderflower vinaigrette adds a sweet, delicate, floral aroma.
Just one bite of Cho’s tender chicken, a whiff of his aromatic dressings or a chomp on a charred crucifer should be proof enough that Cho knows how to cook. But one can also look at the wall of Orora for more evidence, where one will find a certificate of his food business management degree from the Culinary Institute of America.
Grilled chicken breast warm salad served with a side of seasonal puree (Photo credit: Orora Burger and Salad)
“In 2014, I was admitted to the Culinary Insitute of America and obtained a culinary arts associate degree in 2015 and a food business bachelor degree in 2017,” said Cho.
Afterward, when his wife went to study in Sweden, he followed and worked at a prominent restaurant in Sweden for a year and a half from 2018 to 2020.
Fast forward to this March, when Cho launched Aurora Real Burger in Sinsa-dong, Seoul.
“I originally wanted to do salad but the space was small so we only served burgers,” said Cho.
Then this September, Cho moved to a larger location in the Apgujeong Rodeo area and changed the name to Orora Burger and Salad, adding both regular and warm salads to his lineup of burgers.
At this new location, Cho said he and his wife focused on a creating a space with a Scandinavian interior.
At the restaurant, which boasts a minimal, ivory interior, there is an automated system where one can enter an order and then pick up at the counter to eat in or for takeout.
Delivery is also available for Sinsa-dong, Apgujeong-dong, Cheongdam-dong, Nonhyeon-dong and Samseong-dong in southern Seoul.