Thursday, December 4, 2014

Han Ba Tang [Korean]

I am a huge fan of Korean food so much so that Ben always says that I must be a Korean in my previous life, so I was thrilled when I was invited to one of the newest addition to the Yonge and Sheppard area, Han Ba Tang (@Han_Ba_Tang) media tasting.

The place is quite easy to miss since they only have their Korean sign since they wanted to preserve the storefront green tile sign that ceased production back in the 40's.

As soon as we walk in the place, I felt in love with the décor that looks like everything have been found at an Antique Market... love the vintage-ness. They described their décor as "industrial vintage" with the expose brick walls, worn floor tiles, reclaimed wood.... there's just quite a few pieces that I would love to own (^_<)

Han Ba Tang translate to "one full round"
Soju cup shaped light sign, what a great attention to the details which if I wasn't told wouldn't have notice although I took a few picture of it already ♥

So warm and inviting!

With the concept of old-meets-new goes to the décor and the menu as well, the menu consist of Korean fusion tapas dishes. Small dishes meant to share over drinks, the owner admit that the portion was too small when they started as she realized that there are a lot of "young starving young men" in the area. The menu have also been changed a couple time already based on customer feedbacks.

We started off with the cocktails and most of them containing their housemade infused soju:

Live to 1000
~ Ginseng soju, honey, Hennessey
This was both mine and Ben's favorite, very different. A healthy cocktail?! LOL!
Ocean Popsicle
~ Blue Curacaro, Raspberry Sour, Southern Comfort
Strawberry Inception
~ Soju, Yogurt, Strawberry
This remind me of the yorgurt soju mix we usually have but a much fancier version in strawberry flavor.

Sona Colada
~ Pineapple Soju, Rum, Coconut Liqueur, Pineapple Juice
This was probably the least favorite of the bunch, maybe the ratio was wrong? Didn't taje the soju.

Sweet Potato Chips
~Sweet Potato fries with Wasabi Mayo
Love the thick cut sweet potato with a tempura like batter served with an incredible wasabi mayo. I totally doubled dip and wish there was more of that mayo.

Chilli Shrimp
~ Lightly battered shrimp dipped in sweet chilli sauce

Kalbi Tacos & Spicy Pork Tacos
~ Grilled kalbi or spicy pork on a bed of shredded cabbage with red onions and a light house aioli
Love the spicy pork a lot better since it was more saucy while the kalbi was a tad bland with the taco.... they need to work on a warm and moist taco shell and maybe something extra like pickled or even just plain old kimchi for that extra oomph.

And time for some of their house infused Soju... let's just said that I never really like soju as shots until now.

They had 6 flavors to choose from and we got to try the Apple Cinnamon, Citrus, Cucumber and Ginseng...  my favorite was the cucumber, now I'm totally tempted to try to make mine at home

Kimchi Fries with Bulgogi
~ Extra Crispy Fries topped with kimchi aioli, gravy, sizzling bulgogi & green onions
Fries was super crispy and didn't get soggy with all the toppings but wish there was more sauce and maybe cheese on it since halfway through we were left with plain fries.

~steamed lobster with  a house sauce and yuzu drizzle
Love the slightly spicy house sauce but the yuzu drizzle didn't go with it, so it has to be either or. This is a yet to launch menu item and seeing some of the recent pictures, it looks like they made some changes.

Black Squid Ink Pasta
~ Squid Ink pasta, mussels with a house made goghujang cream sauce topped with Korean beefcake
 Love the Korean Beefcake with the sweet sauce and the pasta with the slight spicy Korean chili paste in the sauce was surprisingly yummy but these should be 2 separate dish since it doesn't go with each other at all.

Spicy Chicken w/ Fondue
~ Grilled Chicken in a sizzling plate with a mix of rice cakes, onions & carrots w/ a side of creamy cheese fondue
Wish the sizzling plate was sizzling but I can never refuse spicy chicken top with cheese.

Spoon Pizza
~ mashed sweet potato "crust" w/ vegetables, tomato sauce topped with cheese and bacon/kimchi

Spicy Seafood Soup
~ a spicy seafood soup with shrimp, mussels & crab with Korean ramyum
Being the Korean food fanatic that I am, not surprise that I like this the best. This was the only traditional Korean dish of the night, the owner omit the ramen here since she knew we'll be stuffed by then. This soup was served hot, spicy and so sweet from all the seafood goodness.

~ Fried Dried Persimmon w/ Cinnamon Whipped Cream
There's usually no dessert in Korean restaurant, so they wanted to make something different and I thought it was quite successful.

The owner Chae talking about her decade long experience in traditional Korean cuisine and what she wants to achieve

Verdict :
By the amount of pictures of the space, I assume you know by now that I love the space.
Great concept but definitely a lot of room for improvement.
The cocktails are great and the infused Soju even better, will have gone back just because of that.

Han Ba Tang on Urbanspoon

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