Homey Japanese food at 28 Teheranro

28 Teheranro, a new Japanese restaurant-pub that opened in October in Seoul's Daechi-dong, specializes in wholesome and homey meals that are fortifying yet light.

"I want to make food that others and I want to eat," said co-owner and chef Kim Gun-hee.

28 Teheranro represents Kim's second act. After running a small Japanese restaurant in Seoul's Gyeongnidan-gil for over three years, Kim teamed up with her brother to open a sophomore effort near Samseong-dong's Coex.

"We work well together," Kim, 31, said.

The partnership yields a nice range of rice-centric set meals like the nasu-don, an aromatic stir-fry of eggplant and minced pork over the eatery's multigrain rice.

The rice, a deep purple in hue from glutinous black rice and mixed with various grains, sends a nod to Kim's childhood.

"I ate multigrain rice when I was young," Kim recalled.

The multigrain rice is topped with crispy, meaty chunks of eggplant and bits of pork that have been lightly seasoned with a miso sauce.

Small side dishes, including a light salad of baby greens, dried cranberries and nuts drizzled with a sesame seed dressing and a healthy dessert of orange, persimmon, cherry tomato and pomegranate seeds, round out the meal.

28 Teheranro also serves up a winter-friendly fish cake soup set, Kim revealed, which she recommends enjoying by taking the boiled egg that comes with the soup and crushing the yolk part so that it blends into the hot broth and by dipping the fish cakes into an accompanying mustard and tsuyu sauce.

In addition to around six set meals that range from a warm soba set to a beef rice bowl set, there are also various drinks, including two craft beers on draft and a sweet and fragrant grapefruit tea.

The repertoire seems to have already attracted a loyal lunch crowd craving eats that are satisfying in taste, portions and wholesomeness.

28 Teheranro specializes in more than lunch-friendly set meals. Also acting as a gastropub, the restaurant serves up a la carte eats like shrimp tempura to pair with the draft beer.

Plans are to also add cake to the expanding repertoire.