Han Ba Tang

Han Ba Tang opened up earlier this summer, and is one of the latest additions to the Yonge and Sheppard area. The name translates to meaning "one full round" in Korean and is like a Korean-styled izakaya (or pojangmacha). I was invited to their bloggers' media tasting to preview some of their menu items. The three of us were happily greeted by the owner and a few of the organizers and staff before being shown to our table. 

The restaurant may be unsuspecting from the outside as there is no signage. However, there is a large bright sign inside the restaurant and it kind of illuminates from the outside. The reason for the no signage is that the owner, Chae, wanted to preserve a rare Vitrolite tiling which was uncovered during the removal of the previous establishment's sign in the construction period. There's an industrial feel to the place with its unfinished wood floors, chalkboard menu, communal tables, and wooden decor which lends a welcoming atmosphere to the space. Rather than being a traditional Korean restaurant; Han Ba Tang strides to bring Korean-Asian fusion influences to their everyday menu while still providing affordable prices.


The cocktails are brightly written on the blackboard located at the front bar; each are priced between $8 to $12.


Kandy Crush ($8) - strawberry soju, triple sec, raspberry sour (left) and Ocean Popsicle ($9) - blue curacao, raspeberry sour and southern comfort (middle).
 We started the night off with the chilli shrimp ($8) - lightly battered shrimp dipped in sweet chilli sauce, which arrived in four small dishes with 3-4 pieces each. It was dipped in a chilli sauce that tasted both sweet and spicy at the same time. I'd say that it had a very similar texture of sweet and sour pork as the shrimps weren't super crispy.


The lobster - steamed lobster with a house salad, is one of their new items that is on their winter menu. For an appetizer dish, there was a generous amount of lobster meat that peels right off the shell.


I am a huge fan of Korean kalbi, so I was thrilled to see kalbi tacos and spicy pork tacos - grilled kalbi or spicy pork on a bed of shredded cabbage with red onions and a light house aioli, on the menu.


My favorite dish of the night had to be their kimchi fries ($8) with bulgogi (+ $3) - extra crispy fries topped with kimchi, aioli gravy, sizzling bulgogi and green onions. The small portion is $10 while the larger portion is $15. If you'd like to add bulgogi to your kimchi fries then it's an additional $3. The one that we got was the small and it was more than enough for the three of us to share. I loved how the fries managed to retain its crispiness even though it was topped with hot gravy and bulgogi. Additionally, there was a generous amount of fries and bulgogi, and in my opinion, worth the price. 



A fusion dish that we got to tried was the black squid ink pasta - squid ink pasta, mussels, with a house made gochujang cream sauce topped with Korean beef cake. The briny flavor of the ink pasta pairs rather well with the mussels, and the gochujang cream sauce added the Korean flavor to the dish


The spicy chicken with fondue ($9 + $3 for fondue) - grilled chicken in a sizzling plate with a mix of rice cakes, onions, and carrots with a side of creamy cheese fondue, was not the most innovative dishes of the night. However, it was still good as the chicken went really well with the hot cheese when mixed together.


Personally, I have never heard or tried spoon pizza ($8) - mashed sweet potato crust with vegetables, tomato sauce topped with cheese and bacon or kimchi, before and I am glad that I did. Instead of a hard crust; mashed sweet potato is used as an alternative and works as the base for the pizza. You'd need a spoon to scoop up the sweet potato crust that is layered with cheese and vegetables. It was an interesting dish!


The spicy seafood soup ($10 for small) - a spicy seafood soup with shrimp mussels and crab with Korean ramyun, kind of reminds me of a fusion styled bouillabaisse (one of my favorite classic French soup). The soup base was rich in flavor, and the spiciness added a lot of kick. The portion contained a fair amount of seafood, and it's a perfect soup dish for this cold weather. The chef forgo the Korean ramyun (as it would be super filling) for the tasting, so I am not sure how it'd taste with the soup.


Lastly, we were served a decorative slice of dried persimmon cake with whipped cream for dessert. 


In addition to having various cocktails on their drink menu; they also offer in-house made infused soju. The jars of soju are beautifully displayed at the front, and the flavors rotate weekly. You can order a Soju Flight ($15) which comes with four shots, and you can choose the four flavors. 

 

Soju Flight - cinnamon apple, pineapple, and strawberry soju.

The upper Yonge area is one of the quintessential haven for traditional Korean food. However, Han Ba Tang is a welcome addition to the area as they offer a more modern take on Korean food, and is sure to please the younger crowds looking for late night eats and drinks. Thank you to both Acorn Communication and Han Ba Tang for the wonderful media tasting.

Address: 4862 Yonge St Toronto, ON, M2N 5N2
Website: http://instagram.com/hanbatang
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hanbatangON
Instagram: http://instagram.com/hanbatang

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

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