17 September 2019
The Guardian writer Jon Henley samples the fabulous Korean cuisine at Hurwundeki. Photo: Guardian
The Guardian writer Jon Henley samples the fabulous Korean cuisine at Hurwundeki. Photo: Guardian

Eating out? Have a haircut as well — in the same place

What a splendid way to spend a lazy afternoon — have a haircut, then a late lunch in the same place. That’s Hurwundeki, a Korean restaurant-cum-hairdresser that’s fast gaining an enviable reputation as one of the hippest places in East London. (The name means “hair” in the dialect of South Korea’s Jeju island.) 

Don’t worry about loose hair strands getting into your plate of kimchi. You won’t have your meal while your hair is being done; there’s a wall separating the dining area from the hair salon. The place is clean and efficient, aside from offering one of the most affordable menus in the area.

It’s probably one of its kind in the whole of Britain, says the Guardian newspaper. But the concept is not unique. Bookstores, hobby shops and even some fashion outlets offer all sorts of food and beverages to customers. Business-wise, it makes sense since people will have more than one reason to come to a place. The urge to eat or drink comes, especially while customers are waiting for their turn at a hair salon or browsing through best-sellers at a bookstore. It also means owners can make better use of their commercial space and have more sources of incomes.

Shopping is a tiring activity, which is why IKEA, for example, has a fast-food area serving traditional Swedish food at the end of its labyrinthine halls of furniture, appliances and home accessories.

For Ki Chul-lee, the 46-year-old owner of Hurwundeki, haircuts and food don’t seem an odd combination. “I love both, I care about both, I’m good at both,” he tells the Guardian.

There is a deeper affinity between the two, Ki says. “Both demand a true understanding of your raw materials and a mastery of technique: they’re about transforming ingredients, through a highly skilled process. They’re both also about aesthetics; presentation matters.”

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Hurwundeki owner Ki Chul-lee finds a deep affinity between cooking and hairdressing. Photo: Guardian