There is no sign of stopping for the Korean food wave in Singapore – Korean BBQ, fried chicken, dessert shops are sprouting all over the island.
Undeniably, there is a sense of repetition and duplication. How to differentiate this Korean restaurant from the next? Therefore, I thought Joo Bar at Tan Queen Lan Street (near Bugis) was a breath of fresh air. ‘Joo’ means ‘alcohol’ in Korean.
Once I walked through that door, even before eating any food, I got the sense that Joo Bar was very promising.
The interior was adorned in black, white and copper, complemented by dark Korean pinewood furniture specially imported from Korea. Hand-painted illustrations of Korean drinking etiquette lined the wall.
Oh, and a tall Korean man who looked like he was imported from a Korean boyband took orders.
Can I add, music selection was superb.
Key highlights were its house brew makgeolli and quality Korean fare by Head Chef Kim Chang Heon with delights such as Slow Roasted Mangalitsa Belly ($32), Joo Bossam ($28), Kimchi Chicken Potpie ($12) and Seafood Gochujang Risotto ($24).
The Seafood Gochujang Risotto ($24) was a near faultless marriage of Korean red pepper paste sauce, with Italian Risotto, cooked with juicy shrimps, black mussel, clam, squid in a thick creamy sauce.
Its colour was in a gorgeous dark hued orangey-red, taste well-balanced between the two. Who would imagine?
I had the Joo Wings ($16) too, covered in a spicy and sweet soy glaze. Well, still not the best I had (considering Choo Choo is not very far away), but still crisp on the outer, juicy on the inside, worthy of ordering.
One thing I noted was the taste in general seemed Westernised, or muted down. Comparing this to more traditional Korean restaurants where pastes were more generously used and spiciness more distinct, the food felt subdued but taste not comprised.
Joo Bar. Stylish, Masisseoyo.
5, Tan Quee Lan Street, Singapore 188094
Tel: +65 8138 1628
Opening Hours: 5:30pm – 12am Daily