January 25, 2017

HANSUL Korean Dining Bar @ Tanjong Pagar Road ~ Enjoy Mini Hwaro Charcoal Grill, Budae Jjigae & Makgoelli Till 6am!

What? Another new Korean joint along the Korean restaurants-dominated stretch of Tanjong Pagar Road? Isn't the area quite saturated already?

Well, apparently there's always space for at least one more, and it looks like the recently-opened Hansul Korean Dining Bar is pretty confident about what it has to offer in order to set itself apart from the competition.

"Hansul", which means "bottoms up" in Korean, carries an extensive range of Soju, Makgeolli, Cheongju and Korean Cocktails, some of which are highly exclusive.

There is also the mini "Hwaro" or table charcoal grill which is said to be taking Korea by storm now. Jinja?!

First met owner Haden Hee a few years back when he opened Kimchi Korean Restaurant at Suntec City.

You might find him familiar from some of the local TV dramas he has appeared in. More than just a handsome face with acting chops, Haden is well-equipped with a background in F&B consultancy and has proven himself to be very business-savvy.

Just look at how his business has expanded rapidly with 6 locally conceived brands (Hansul, Kimchi, Guksu, Hanguk Kitchen, The Art Space Specialty Coffee and H Group Holdings) within a few short years.

Hansul is conceptualized as a bar where people can gather late into the night (or should I say... early in the morning at 6am?) over a huge variety of food and drinks at affordable prices.

Every table is not only served with complimentary banchan, but also piping hot daily soup as well. Just ideal to whet up the appetite!

Besides the more typical Budae Jjigae - Army Stew ($25), Kimchi Fried Rice with Cheese ($8.90) and Haemul Pajeon - Korean Traditional Seafood & Leek Pancake (9.90), the menu also holds many interesting items such as Truffle Someon Fries ($6), Steamed Korean Mandu ($8.90) in assorted flavors, Mini Bap Dog - Stuffed Fried Rice with Sausage ($2 per piece), Kimchi Cheese Omelet ($9.90), Wasabi Korean Wings ($9.90) and Honey Butter Chicken Bumbuk ($24).

Wait! Did I just mention the heavenly pairing of HONEY and BUTTER? Yes! Yes!

The pieces of deep-fried boneless chicken and potato wedges showered with snow honey butter flakes over a layer of warm, stretchy Mozzarella cheese appeared to hold much promise.

While the contrasting textures was pleasing to bite, we thought the strong cheese flavor overwhelmed the delicate sweet-savoriness of the honey butter. A better balance would perhaps make the dish more winsome.

Hansul's Signature Boneless Chicken Wing ($6.90 per piece) coated with Korean spicy sauce came highly recommended and it's really a must-order! If you're wondering why the wings looked so plump, it's because of the soft, tasty glutinous rice stuffed within.

I'm glad Haden decided to keep this yummy wings on the menu though it's a laborious and time-consuming item to prepare.

Of course we must give the signature Hwaro ($2 to $8, 2 skewers per item, minimum 5 item order) a try too!

Other than the engaging part of barbecuing our food atop the mini stone pot set with charcoal, I was delighted to see some unusual skewers choices. Anyone's up for Beef Intestine ($5), Pork Skin ($4), Long-Legged Octopus ($8) or Spicy Boneless Chicken Feet ($6)? Haha, bring it on!

If your palate is more reserved, there is always the crowd-pleasing Chicken Leg ($4), Beef Short Rib wrapped with Enoki Mushroom ($6), Spam ($3), Prawn ($4) and Tomato ($2).

Our favorites were unanimously the Pork Belly wrapped with Cheese Rice Cake ($4) and Mackerel ($6). The charcoal grilling imparted an aromatic, smokey scent which made the well-seasoned meat even more alluring.

Hansul's rendition of Budae Jjigae ($25) or Korean army stew was a little surprising in presentation.

Instead of having all the ingredients simmering in a pot, the spam, sausage, ham, kimchi dumpling, baked beans, rice cakes, cheese, noodles and vegetable were served separately from the spicy broth.

Diners can enjoy the stew accordingly to their preference by adding in the items slowly (ala the Chinese hotpot way) or throw everything in. We did it the latter way lol!

Gimmicky note aside, there is no real difference from the conventional budae jjigae. One of my friends found it a tad salty, but I thought it's just nice to complement the alcohol.

Perfect with that sweet and fruity Peach Makgoelli ($19)! Let's jjan!

Compared to the more traditional Korean establishments that we usually frequent, Hansul has stood out to be a refreshing choice.

Their food offerings are fun and contemporary, yet still maintain a certain element of authenticity in it. I like!

Only thing which I don't like is their choice of Swing Jazz music over K-pop. The idea is to play something different from the rest but it left the whole Korean dining experience feeling somewhat incomplete for me.

Hansul Korean Dining Bar
Address: 21 Tanjong Pagar Road, #01-05, Singapore 088444
Contact: +65 6906 7088
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hansulbar/
Opening Hours: Daily 5pm-6am

Prices are (1) Stated in Singapore dollars (2) Subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST (3) Correct at point of published date.

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