Korea Beyond Kimchi
Restaurant: Hahns Kitchen
Reviewer: Aalok Wadhwa | 23rd July 2018 | Reviewer Rating (Out of 5) 3.88

The review was done after paying for the meal.

Most of us unknowingly have had their first taste of Korean food through what can be called the Punjabi version of kimchi, which is essentially chopped cabbage tossed with tomato sauce and accompanies our chicken tikka.

Kimchi, called “kimchi salad” here is already cropping up as an appetizer in many non-Korean restaurants, though in an unfermented form. What is surprising is how late Korean food has been to capture the Indian palate, given that essentially Korean food with a base of rice mixed with strongly flavoured food is similar to Indian food. Add to it the grilling of meats and strongly vegetarian starters, and Indians who try Korean food more often than not end up going back again and again.

Banking of Indian diners’ love for exotic spicy food, Lite Bite foods, the company behind Punjab Grill, Fresco and Asia7 has partnered with a Korean chef Patrick Hahn to start an authentic Korean restaurant with Indian prices, Hahn’s Kitchen. Hahn, who has lived in India as a child, understands both Indian and Korean cuisines, and has stayed away from localizing the menu to suit Indian tastes, which seems to be working with Gurgaon’s desi foodies as well as expats.

We land up here to treat ourselves to a spicy meal. The restaurant has table seating as well as the more traditional Korean one, and we seat ourselves in the Korean sunken seating in one of their private dining areas.

Before getting into what we ate, a bit of a primer on the food – Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, vegetables, and meats. Traditional Korean meals have a number of side dishes that accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice. Kimchi is served at nearly every meal. Main course is rice accompanied by Bulgogi (“fired” meat), Bibimbap (rice with mixed veggiess topped with a fried egg) and stews among others. There are no desserts, and normally the meal ends with fruits, if at all.

Back to our food experience. We start with some delicious side dishes, typically mostly fermented leafy vegetables. The first main dish to arrive is Deopbap Bulgogi (Rs 695). Deopbap literally means “covered rice” and is a bowl of rice topped in this dish with bulgogi. Bulgogi deopbap is one of the most popular dishes in Korea, and I can understand why. This dish is both comforting and exciting. The broth accompanying it is a bit too subtle for me.

Gochujang Samgyupsal (Rs 1045) or spicy grilled pork belly with gochujang sauce is an elaborate dish, accompanied with salad leaves to wrap it in, a moreish soup, and of course rice. This dish is delicious. The belly is cooked to perfection, crisp on the outside and soft inside.

Haemultang (Assorted Seafood Hotpot; Rs 795) is equally delicious with the deliciousness of the sea cooked in an addictively spicy stew. It is very difficult to stop eating this stew. Highly recommended.

In the end we are served a refreshing lemon-grass flavoured Ice tea along with some mango bites.

Spicy, savory, sweet, sour, salty, bitter– Korean food is always rich with complex flavors. Along with meats, every meal also includes plenty of vegetables, most importantly kimchi with robustly flavored, fermented vegetables. Besides providing phytonutrients and fiber, kimchi also supplies lactobacillus and other “good” bacteria that some experts think can help boost immune defenses. But as important is the fact that Korean food is delicious. So if you have not tried it, you must do so now!

Ratings (Out of 5)

Food: 4.0 | Ambience: 4.0 | Service: 3.5 | Value: 4.0 | Overall: 4.0

Meal for two: Rs 1800 | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Wheel chair friendly: Yes

Address: T1-101, Plaza Level Tower 1, One Horizon Center, DLF Phase 5,                         Golf Course Road, Gurgaon -122002. Tel: 0124 257 5600


About the Author
Aalok Wadhwa Aalok Wadhwa
Restaurant Information
Hahns Kitchen Hahns Kitchen
One Horizon Centre, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon
Telephone: 0124 2575600 view on a map
Opening Hours: 12 Noon to 11:00 PM
Cuisine: Korean
Average Price: Rs. 1500 - 1800