As the rest of Gurgaon comes undone by the liquor ban around highways, office mice at One Horizon have reason to be pleased – they’re simply coming Hahn-done at their new Korean restaurant. Here is khakis-and-tie food for a khakis-and-tie crowd, and (or do we mean but?) no soju yet.
We marvel at the trim waists of the staff who greet us when we enter Hahn’s Kitchen, and vow to greet everyone we meet henceforth with deep bows, since it’s clearly a great workout. The lovely Hyong Yung Cho, who runs the establishment in partnership with Lite Bite Foods, is around to help explain the menu and cuisine as we’re ushered to a tatami table in a private dining room (they must have gauged we were going to be loud and gluttonous). As at Green Park’s Gung Palace, more familiar to Delhi folks, each dining room seats between four and six people; we’re told they can also be opened out to seat 24 for a private party. With your Kore-group?
There are no courses at this meal, and everything we eat has one of two top notes – gochujang or red chilli, and doenjang, soy bean and brine. We start with traditional kimchi, a delicate assortment of sour, salty tastes in five colours: red kimchi, green marinated zucchini, brown lotus stem, black fried aubergine and white tofu.
There are no courses at this meal, and everything we eat has one of two top notes – gochujang or red chilli, and doenjang, soy bean and brine.
What The Food Is Like
Before the appetising is quite done, pork bulgogi (which Hyong Yung pronounces like “Bhrol-kaabi”) is upon us. We grab a lettuce leaf, spread some ssamjang, add thinly- sliced divinely-sweetish barbequed pork, top it with a bit of rice, and pop a portion. It’s so good, greed almost gets the better of good sense.
Luckily, before we can steal our dining companions’ portions (“for the review”), bibimbap, pronounced “Bheee-binpap”, appears and fulfils all the promise of Hahn’s pre-opening hype. A rice bowl piled high with pork slices, sautéed zucchini, mushroom, spinach, carrot and a fried egg, this is hearty and punchy, served up with a bowl of gochujang to mix. We added spoonfuls of jjigae – fermented soya bean soup laden with squid and mussels – for more umami and silkenness.
Hahn’s vegetarian offerings are also properly traditional, but not nearly as compelling. Kimchijoen – kimchi pancake that Koreans eat with rice wine in the rains – is cut and dipped in soy sauce, and big enough for four people to finish, but somewhat flat on the tongue.
Dessert is almost always fruit at Korean restaurants, and a sweet, chilled slice of melon complements both the meal and the weather outside. Stuffed with this heart-warming meal and a useful Korean tutorial, we’ll be pretty cock-of-the-walk when we return, just like South Korea’s biggest celebrity. (Khakis optional, right?)
Getting there: One Horizon Centre, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon; call 8800453453 A meal for three costs Rs. 3478 with no drinks (alcohol isn’t served yet).
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