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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Joo @ Tan Quee Lan Street

Joo Bar

Address: 5 Tan Quee Lan Street Singapore 188094
Opening Hours: 5.30pm to 12am Daily

It's finally mid week. I was overwhelmed with meetings after meetings.

I had a 5-hour meeting (almost died, yea) yesterday and thank god I ended last night with good food, great company over drinks!

We were at Tan Quee Lan Street, at this newly opened (Nov 2014), sleek, casual and inviting venue within a heritage three-storey shophouse.

Joo - Ingeniously created by Singaporean aficionados of Korean culture and food; Jamie and Kristin Lim who also own and operate EIGHT Korean BBQ (est. 2013) and Sticky (est 2008), an Australian rock candy store at The Central, Clarke Quay.

Joo is born from a desire to offer top notch modern Korean bites and creative drinks in a space that exudes a laid-back vibe with a tasteful dose of edginess.

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Edgy, yet homely

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Within the heritage exterior is a swish interior that beckons with rich hues of black and copper, complemented by dark Korean pinewood furniture specially imported from Korea. Whitewashed walls provide contrast and also draw attention to the hexagonal copper ceiling lights that were painstakingly handmade by the owners.

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On the second floor, a wall with hand-painted tongue-in-cheek illustrations of Korean drinking etiquette educates and amuses at the same time.

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The second and third levels also boast welcoming outdoor spaces that face an air well bathed with natural light and a wall lined with pretty foliage.

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In addition, these levels have been designed to convert easily into three private rooms each.

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Proudly conceptualised by Head Chef Kim Chang Heon - the second Korean graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and well-versed in both Korean and western styles of cooking - the menu at Joo promises unique options and presentation styles, as well as suggested alcohol pairings. Chef puts emphasis on homemade ingredients and customers can be assured of authentic flavours.

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Complimentary appetisers for every table.

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Joo Bossam S$28 - the meat is boiled with doenjang (fermented bean paste) and served with yucha-vinegar-pickled cabbage and spicy radish salad. Really love the combination of this dish. I took a slice of cabbage, place the meat and topped it with the radish. PERFECT.

Slow Roasted Mangalitsa Belly S$32

Warm Kimchi With Tofu & Spam S$14

And thanks to the sista Bee Bee who voluntarily offered to be the hand model ❤️��

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Slow Roasted Mangalitsa Belly S$32

Approximately 200g of meat is brined with salt, pepper, soju and makgeolli before it is steam-roasted for 2 hours and 45 minutes, then served with a scrumptious side of shredded chives seasoned with chilli flakes and soy sauce.

Only the best Hungarian Mangalitsa pork is used for Joo's porcine selection, and this is exclusive to Joo Bar only����

Although said to be the best part, I still prefer Joo Bossam's pork as compared to this.

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Warm Kimichi With Tofu & Spam S$14

Nothing more to be said, kimchi is very yummy even on its own! And who doesn't like Spam??

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Baby Eel Paper S$12

Addictive deep-fned snack served with a sprinkling of chilli salt and lime zest.

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Tofu Chips With Guacamole And Kimichi Salsa S$12

A house made platter of hexagon' chips served with an enticing avocado and cucumber-based duo of dips.

Definitely one of the food that goes well with alcohol and we just can't stop munching on these!

Tiny hexagonal-shaped icons on the menu indicate suggested alcohol pairings with these bites.

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Kimichi Chicken Potpie S$12

Cracking the golden pastry dome unearths a rosy kimchi gravy studded with chicken tenderloin pieces as well as celery, carrot, mushrooms, onion and corn

Very hearty & comforting. Eat while its hot!

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Seafood Gochujang Risotto S$24

Entices with lashings of fresh shrimp, mussels, clams and squid sauteed with hot pepper paste, then added to Korean rice that is prepared the traditional way - by gradually adding stock, and finishing with cream as well as parmesan cheese.

Korean style paella, we thought. As it has parmesan cheese, I am not really a fan of parmesan.

There are other comforting dishes such as ARMY STEW S$22, MANGALITSA KIMCHI STEW S$18, and SEAFOOD SOFT TOFU STEW S$22.

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My favorite dish of last night is definitely this Hand-Chopped Korean Minced Rib Steak S$20

Tender US prime meat is lightly marinated with garlic, soy, honey and yucha, hand-shaped, then flame-grilled. So succulent and well marinated! I can have the whole piece to myself!

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Grape Soju Mojito S$14 made with fresh grapes!
Comes in small jug S$24 & large jug S$40

Lime Soju Mojito S$12 made with fresh lime juice.
Comes in small jug S$22 & large jug S$36

'Joo' is alcohol in Korean - and Joo, the bar and restaurant takes it seriously, with a funky drinks menu complemented by quality food.

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Makgeoli is a highlight.

An unusual concept likely to the delight of Korean rice wine fans, Joo is the first in Singapore to proudly brew its signature drink - the makgeoli- as well as serve it on tap. This cloudy, light-bodied and mild-tasting drink is 6-8% ABV and best served cold. Priced at $7 for a 150ml bottle, $15 for a carafe (serves 2, 500ml) and $28 for a large bottle (serves 4, 800ml), the House brew organic makgeoli is perfect for a convivial night out and is an excellent match with food as well.

What is makgeolli? Makgeolli is the oldest alcoholic beverage native to Korean. The first mention of the drink was in the founding story of Goguryeo Kingdom during the reign of King Dongmyeong (B.C.37 - B.C. 19). Unlike other traditional clear liquors like soju, makgeolli is not distilled after fermentation, resulting in its beautiful milky off-white colour and unique opaque appearance. Apart from its low alcohol content, makgeolli also contains amino acids, lactobacilli and vitamins B1, B2 and C. The Koreans believe that the combination of these nutrients helps to aid digestion, lower cholesterol and even slow down one's ageing process.

WHAT???? I didn't know it has so many benefits! We should drink everyday and most importantly its not expensive!

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Makgeoli Sampler S$35 for 5 - original, yucha, strawberry, peach & lychee

For makgeolli newbies like myself, an ideal choice would be the sampler set above, that showcases a home brew and four in-house creations.

Selections will vary but options could include makgeolli infused with ingredients. The sampler will give guests a sense of different flavour profiles that makgeolli offers. I personally love the yucha & lychee. Sweet & light.

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WILL NOT BE SERVED IN THESE JARS, these are the BIG-SIZE shots for us to sample, they look so cute that they deserve a picture.

At Joo, the owners are steadfast about making only preservative-free makgeolli with organic rice and purified water The fermentation and filtering process takes two to three weeks, rendering a milky white, subtly sweet and delicately fizzy beverage. Famously imbibed by farmers, it has since gained popularity among young drinkers who enjoy it in hip makgeolli bars.

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Sojurita S$28

Chuck in the beer now!

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Looks really pretty but a few ml of alcohol had been wasted on the tray and it took me forever to finish sipping it. Its for 2 pax but I think it can serve 4 pax!

A range of soju (distilled Korean rice wine) is also available (starts at S$20 per bottle).

A fun alternative is the YUCHA MAKGEOLI SLUSH S$22 small jug / S$36 large jug or FLAVOURED MAKGEOLI SLUSH OF THE DAY, with options such as Mango! ��

Non-alcoholic options are available as well, they are cold pressed juices S$8, as well as barley S$5, green S$5 and yucha S$6 teas are available, along with soft drinks.

Thank you Joo Bar for the awesome service and having us!

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