With authentic Korean cuisine on offer, coupled with the ambience of a modern restaurant, Hahn’s Kitchen is your go-to place for comforting hot broths and small plates, writes Sujitha Sundaram.
The One Horizon Centre, on Golf Course Road in Gurgaon, is touted as the next Cyber Hub. Popular dining options including Delhi Club House, Imly, and Cafe Tonino, have been on the radar of food critics, and the latest to join them is Korean restaurant Hahn’s Kitchen.
Patrick Hahn started the restaurant this March with his wife, who manages it when he’s not around on weekdays. He conceived the idea last year and in less than five months, Hahn’s Kitchen was ready to open—thanks to his head chef from the five-star Lotte Hotel in Seoul and an excellent partnership with Lite Bite Foods. Hahn, who has lived in India as a child, understands both Indian and Korean cuisines, and hasn’t localised the menu to suit Indian palate. A risky, but successful move, for he is attracting them all: locals as well as expats.
The restaurant’s décor lays much emphasis on merging the two cultures. It’s a sophisticated take on a Korean restaurant, with an open bar and kitchen. Traditional Korean pots, brought from Korea, are lined in the main dining area and we noticed Korean scripts in all three private dining rooms that have floor seating.
We presented him with a problem that he is likely to face again by asking for vegetarian options. Korean food isn’t veggie-friendly, but his chef has researched substitutions and created dishes that have authentic Korean sauces in meat-free preparations.
A traditional Korean meal offers four or five side dishes along with two mains. Their signature dishes include tempura (vegetables or meat tossed in a light batter and deep fried), samgyupsal (barbequed pork belly), and bibimbap, a traditional rice dish with gochujang sauce. This is washed down with the Korean alcohol, soju.
Patrick explained that they serve complimentary dishes to all guests the mains. “Our guests really enjoy these, even without the rice. Koreans find it too salty unaccompanied,” he explained. The sides—marinated zucchini, lotus stem, and fried eggplant—were well-seasoned without being too overpowering and built our taste buds for the mains. For someone who had never tried lotus stems, it was a pleasant surprise with its crunchiness adding a different texture to the meal.
We sampled their vegetarian fare, bibimbap, meat made of beans with rice, and doenjang jjigae (a traditional soya bean and kelp broth served with tofu, mushrooms, and veggies). All three packed a punch with their distinct flavours—the accompanying gochujang sauce and the garlic-vinegary warm broth were memorable. The broth, presented in a native Korean black pot, had stewed vegetables is the perfect meal on a cold winter’s night, or a day spent in the chill of the AC. We slurped it with the bibimpap that lends its smokiness to the stew. The meal was concluded with a complimentary fruit platter that cleansed your palette of the heavy flavours.
Normally, vegetarian versions of dishes traditionally made with meats don’t measure up—they seem to be missing something. Here, it isn’t the case. Hahn’s Kitchen gives everyone a chance, so don’t hold yourself back if you’re not a meat-eater.
[box]VERDICT: Hahn’s Kitchen allows you to explore a new cuisine that not only hits close to home, but could possibly be the healthier alternative you’ve been looking for.[/box]