Korean fusion is all the hype these days and Han Ba Tang is one place that does it well. Han Ba Tang, meaning “one full round” in Korean, seems like a small and inconspicuous restaurant from the outside, but is full of character on the inside. The restaurant decor is unique and has a relaxed feel, where you can sit and enjoy drinks and snacks for hours.
We were introduced to Chae, the owner of the restaurant who was super sweet and welcoming. Chae had a vision to open a restaurant that showcases authentic Korean food with beautiful presentation, especially to those who haven’t tried Korean food. Her passion to perfect each dish is admirable – she has refined the menu 7 times since they opened a year ago!
First on the menu was tuna tartar – tuna sashimi on a sweet potato chip topped with fried seaweed. As I always say, you can never go wrong with tuna tartar. This was a solid appetizer but needed more seasoning or a contrasting flavour to elevate it. 3/5.
The lobster tacos were nice and crunchy and the avocado added to make a great combination of flavour and textures. 4/5. The other three tacos (unagi, spicy pork, kalbi) were average tasting but were paired thoughtfully with different toppings such as sauteed onions, cucumbers, and shaved radish. 3.5/5.
This was one of the highlights of the night and must be eaten hot! The spicy habanero aioli was perfect for these crispy king prawns. The king prawns were crunchy and juicy, and the crispy taro chips were great to snack on but did not add much to the prawns other than presentation. 4.5/5.
Next we had the black calamari roasted in seaweed sauce, with Thai chilli, cucumber and dried shrimp. The milky and unique sauce had a slight kick and coated the calamari to give it a subtle savoury flavour, and the calamari was perfectly cooked. 4/5.
Now for some drinks! Han Ba Tang features a number of infused sojus, including cucumber, pineapple, ginseng, chilli pepper, citrus and strawberry, as well as oak-aged soju. Our favourite was a toss-up between cucumber and pineapple. You can’t go wrong with both, right?
This. This was so good. My favourite of the night, the meat from this beef kalbijjim literally fell off the bone and melted in my mouth. It’s no wonder because it’s been braised for 24 hours! They also serve it with Korean mustard which brings out more of the flavour in the meat. 4.5/5!
Han Ba Tang’s kimchi poutine had plenty of bulgogi and the fries were crispy. The aioli gravy was delicious and did not make the fries too soggy. The dish didn’t have enough kimchi though. 4/5.
From October 10th to November 10th, Han Ba Tang is offering a special Halloween menu including this Korean meatball dish, “Devil’s Eyes”. The meatballs were moist and had a slight kick, but did not taste too special otherwise. 3/5. The owner, Chae, allows her chefs to develop their own dream dishes and use them in the Halloween menu, with the potential of them making it on the regular menu.
These “easy curry” chicken wings look quite normal but are absolutely delicious! They are served as half wings for easy consumption, coated in curry powder. This dry spice was really flavourful and the wings were very juicy, not to mention the best part – the convenience in not having to deal with the bones. 4/5.
The bacon spoon pizza is actually a very popular dish in Korea. It tastes just like a pizza but with a sweet potato “crust” at the bottom, and you eat out of it with a spoon. Fun to eat but it tastes like something I can easily replicate at home. 3/5.
To end off our meal, we had a homemade chocolate cake with matcha ice cream, topped with red bean sauce and a date. The dish itself looks beautiful and the concept is great, however the taste of each component didn’t really come together. The cake was moist and the red bean sauce was sweet, while the date was a little sour and made the dessert taste a bit off. 3/5.
It was a pleasure learning more about Han Ba Tang and we really appreciated the passion that goes into every dish. Their food offerings, albeit solid, are on the pricey side. If you are looking for a relaxed spot for drinks and snacks, be sure to check them out!