K-Drama Premiere: “Dinner Mate” Serves A Flavorsome Relationship Story Seasoned With A Pinch Of Hilarity
Dinner Mate trails on appeasing a lonely heart by having a hearty meal with a likable companion.
Having a wholesome meal is a key to happiness. To do so, it is important to have a great company. Dinner Mate brings two lonesome people together, who have no affiliations whatsoever but enjoy eating together.
Premiere Week Rating:
Dinner Mate is top-billed by seasoned actors Song Seung Heon and Seo Ji Hye. Song Seung Heon takes on the role of a psychiatrist, Kim Hae Kyung, who specializes in food psychology. While, Seo Ji Hye plays Woo Do Hee, a PD for a channel called 2N Box.
The drama also stars Lee Ji Hoon and Son Na Eun.
Premiere Week Recap
The opening of the premiere episode begins with a scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and has got “Moon River” playing at the background. In the monologue, Woo Do Hee (Seo Ji Hye) narrates how that scene is her favorite because Audrey Hepburn is relishing her food uninterrupted.
At that moment, Woo Do Hee gets interrupted by her boyfriend, Lee Young Dong (Kim Jung Hyun). She explains that as much as we enjoy eating food, we also need love and make adjustments.
In the next scene, the boyfriend adds too much pepper to the steak. It does not suit Woo Do Hee’s taste but she pretends to enjoy it anyway.
The catastrophic ending of a relationship
On the eve of her boyfriend’s birthday, Woo Do Hee decides to fly from Seoul to his location in Jeju island and surprise him. Apparently, she is under the notion that she might be getting a marriage proposal since he had sent her a picture of a ring.
As she sets to go to her boyfriend, Woo Do Hee gets blessed with an insurmountable amount of luck. Her flight ticket gets elevated to business class and her rent car is upgraded to sedan. While on the flight, she also gets a flight attendant (Seo Eun Soo cameo) to record a congratulatory message for her.
However, it was only a fleeting moment of happiness for Do Hee. When she reaches her boyfriend’s cafe, she sees another woman in his arms, who also happens to be the same air hostess from her flight. Things escalate fast and every customer at cafe could hear the fight.
In response to Do Hee’s demand for explanation, Lee Dong Young said that he gradually started losing interest on her. Worst of it all was that he could not enjoy having meal together with her anymore. Rather, it became more of an obligation.
An unlikely meeting
Witnessing Woo Do Hee’s breakup was Kim Hae Kyung (Song Seung Heon), who was counseling a patient. In a turn of events, his patient, Park Geun Hee (Kim Hyun Sook) pleads him to save the heartbroken women. She also announces to everyone at the cafe that the psychiatrist will help the woman who had just gotten dumped by her boyfriend.
This leads to Kim Hae Kyung following Woo Do Hee, who had driven away from that place. Do Hee goes to the sea to get some air. Due to a strong breeze, her steps staggered while she was standing by the rocks at the edge of the sea.
However, Kim Hae Kyung misunderstood the situation and thinks that the grief-stricken woman is trying to end her life. Therefore, he rush as quickly as he could to stop her. But, he ends up losing his balance after Do Hee dodges him and falls into sea.
Do Hee saves Hae Kyung from drowning but he gets hurt on his head and had to be admitted at the hospital.
First meal together and not so bright promises
Though, Hae Kyung’s initial plans were to immediately catch a flight to Seoul after getting discharged from the hospital, he changes his mind and asks Do Hee to have a meal with him. The duo eat together at a small outdoor food stall but they enjoy their dinner.
After that, the next morning as they are waiting for a taxi, Do Hee suggests Hae Kyung that once they go back to Seoul, she would like to treat him for a meal as a gratitude for his help. Hae Kyung gives her a tricky reply by saying that he will meet her after Tae Jin Ah’s song hits No. 1 at the music charts. If that happens, then he will meet her at a fish market at 8 PM.
The reason why Hae Kyung gave such an ambiguous reply was because he did not want to come off as rude but he does not want have dinner with the lady either. As for Do Hee, she is perplexed at such a strange reply.
In this way, the two stranger part ways without knowing nothing about each other.
Squabble with a stranger online
After returning to work at 2N Box, Woo Do Hee gets a new mission to bring Kim Hae Kyung on board for an interview. The challenge is that Hae Kyung likes to keep a low-profile and no one knows what he looks like.
Hae Kyung is firm on not appearing on any of the TV shows and after seeing a content prepared by Do Hee, his impressions on 2N Box gets worse.
Meanwhile, Do Hee tries to reach Hae Kyung using various means of communication only to get a silent treatment. Losing her temper, she tries to elicit a response from the psychiatrist by using some aggressive words.
This aggravates Hae Kyung, and he too, replies her back with a series of insults. As a result, an online email battle is initiated where the two try to beat the other with their words.
Fate may have some funny plans
The virtual messaging war gets out of hand as the two new enemies decide to settle it face-to-face. But, they miss each other as Do Hee goes to Hae Kyung’s clinic while Hae Kyung arrives at the office of 2N Box.
At the same time, Tae Jin Ah’s latest song hits No. 1 at the charts. Apparently, there is a hacker group, who profusely hates K-Pop, so they hacked the Korean music charts. As a result, all the K-Pop songs were blocked from charting, which led to the trot song getting the top spot.
Now, with only a few hours left, Do Hee contemplates on whether she should really go as she is worried that she might be humiliated. In that moment, her car has a minor collision with another vehicle.
Coincidentally, the passenger of the other car was Tae Jin Ah, who was on a rush to a music show. He apologizes to Do Hee and as he leaves, Do Hee notices the insignia of a fish in his coat.
With all the hints received from the universe, Do Hee ends up going to the fish market. As she looks around, she notices that the stranger from Jeju island had kept his promise too.
Premiere Week Afterthoughts
With a creative presentation of the characters and the story, Dinner Mate marks a strong impression in its premiere week. Inspite of its simple storyline, the chemistry between the actors and the humorous scenarios makes the drama an engaging watch.
The first week episodes focuses mainly on the introduction of the two main characters and their encounter. But it lays the foundation on how the structure of the entire narrative is going to be. From the current flow of events, the viewers can anticipate a balance of laughter as well as healing moments.
I really love the fact that both the main leads have a little bit of craziness in them. This makes them quite an entertaining pair. So far, in the story, they do not know each other’s identities yet. Therefore, I am extremely curious on what events will befall, when they learn about the online person they had a feud with.
There were also some great cameos in the episodes of the first week. Seeing the reunion of my Crash Landing on You ship, had me elated with joy. Even though, they do not get a happy ending here either, it was nice to see them together on-screen again.
And if Kim Jung Hyun charmed audiences in the first part, then we got a cheerful cameo from the Players cast in the second half of the premiere week.
Also, I am intrigued about what is about to come and what are the back-stories of both the leads. Because, asides from their love life, it seems like both Woo Do Hee and Kim Hae Kyung did not have a happy life with their families as well.
Dinner Mate airs every Monday and Tuesday via MBC.
Image Credit: MBC