After debuting with the little seen drama Scripting Your Destiny earlier this year, TVing, South Korea’s hot new streaming service, is back with its second original drama, The Witch’s Diner , an eight-episode supernatural series based on the novel Come to the Witch’s Restaurant . An ethereal Song Ji-hyo, with reddish hair, a hypnotic pair of contact lenses and some velvety dresses, plays Jo Hee-ra, the titular witch, beckoning lost souls into her decadently decked out eatery and promising them a solution to their woes with but a bite of her rich and delectable dishes. Yet as she tells her customers, nothing in life comes for free, and in lieu of a bill, the price she exacts from them is terrible. In the show’s prologue, Hee-ra is preparing a plate of foie gras for just such a customer, whose most ardent desire is to win the lottery, so that he may become a father and husband who can provide for his family. Ignoring several red flags the man greedily wolfs down the foie gras, and the next time he clutches a lottery ticket as the lucky numbers get called, his dream comes true. But then his nightmare begins, as he starts to lose his sight. For this meal, the price turned out to be his eyes. Despite this cold opening, the show’s title and Song’s prominence in its advertising, during the first two episodes of The Witch’s Diner the real focus is on the down-on-her-luck Jung Jin (Nam Ji-hyun), who, after a series of mishaps, will ultimately find herself as Hee-ra’s somewhat unwitting business partner. Jin is a hard-working 20-something and we meet her as she makes her way to the office, her monologue filling the soundtrack. She muses about the small and seemingly trivial choices that add up to our lives, how some choices wind up changing our lives completely, and that ultimately all decisions come with a price. 6 new Korean dramas to look out for in July 2021 She is employed at a film marketing company, where she endures laughably unfair treatment from a bloviating boss who soon throws her under the bus when his wife mistakenly believes that she is his lover. After losing her job, Jin looks to her long-term boyfriend for comfort, but as she shares her horrible experience with him at a cafe, he peremptorily calls time on their relationship and walks off. Her mother, on the other hand, does feel for her, and she suggests they go into business together when an opportunity to take over a popular restaurant comes her way. Business is good until their chef mysteriously disappears and is found several days later working at a new location for the previous owner down the street. Left with a huge debt and no way to pay, Jin’s mother decamps to the countryside, presumably to look after her ailing husband. Jin is left holding the bag. And who should walk in one day but Hee-ra, with an unusual proposition. She will take over the space for her Witch’s Diner, paying Jin rent and granting her one of her dangerous wishes. Hee-ra cooks a bloody steak and a dazed Jin wishes for something to happen to the prior proprietor who swindled her and her mother. She gets more than she bargained for the next morning when ambulance sirens blare through the neighbourhood, but the deal is done and it is time for business to kick off. Meanwhile, teenager and promising track runner Lee Gil-yong (played by the 28-year-old Chae Jong-hyeop) has transferred to a local school and has been warned not to get into any trouble by his coach. But that’s a hard thing to do when his friend in the class is being savagely harassed by a rich bully and his cronies. Before long, Gil-yong walks through the doors of The Witch’s Diner as its first client and makes his wish, not shared with the audience for now, before landing a job as a helper in the establishment. The Witch’s Diner has moved pretty quickly so far and given us a clear view of how all these characters found themselves to be in the restaurant, but what the show hasn’t really done as yet is to give us a clear picture of who these characters truly are. As a supernatural character harvesting people’s souls, Hee-ra can coast by on visual razzle dazzle and smoky allure for the moment, but more complicated moral layers are likely to be uncovered going forward. Gil-yong, though a little hard to believe as a teenager, is the handsome and poor student with a heart of gold – a familiar, but generally effective character template – but the unfairly victimised Jin comes off as a bit of limp rag, only perking up as an obnoxious drunk during her many binges, which are somewhat overacted by Nam. Colourful and easy to follow, the opening of The Witch’s Diner is an appetising if light hors d’oeuvre. But let’s hope a more satisfying dish will follow, with some bread to mop up the bits that don’t quite fit to go along with it. The Witch’s Diner is streaming on myTV Super.